A SMALL PERCENTAGE

By Wilson Barbers


Ignoring the giggles as she struggled to put her gym shoes back on, Lori Ann shoved her bodysuit into her satchel and left the ladies' shower without glancing at any of her classmates. Three weeks doing low-impact aerobics, and these skinny witches still acted like they'd never seen a woman her size doing exercises before. It was infuriating, but she knew better than to let any of them know they'd gotten her upset.

At 435 pounds, Lori Ann Lessun was the largest woman Megabod Health Club had ever seen. Pear-shaped, with a rear that shelved out and pushed the rolls of her back up, she'd always been obese. But that didn't mean she wasn't as serious as any of the effortlessly slender bimbos who comprised the rest of her aerobics class. Ever since she was old enough to realize that fat meant second-class citizenship, Lori had fought her size. Her new club membership, purchased at the start of the holiday season, was only the latest battle in her ongoing war against avoirdupois.

Pushing her way into the evening darkness, she made her way to her mini-van, stoking her anger. The more pissed off she felt, the less hungry she got, so in a way, these stuck-up bitches were doing her a favor. Without that anger roiling her stomach, she'd be famished from all her exertions.

She tossed her satchel onto the passenger seat, then hefted herself behind the wheel. It was then she noticed the flyer behind her windshield wiper. Bright orange, it shouted its message through the glass:

"DESPERATE TO LOSE WEIGHT?

"Have you tried every trick in the diet book? Every exercise known to man or woman? Every pill that the druggist has to offer? Unsuccessfully?

"Tired of yo-yoing?

"Then maybe you're ready for the ultimate weight change program. Effective weight loss with only a tiny percentage of longterm regain! You'll never yo-yo diet again.

"Phone today! For a totally New You!"

She was tempted to toss the thing, but something told her not to. As a lifelong dieter, she'd grown familiar with all manner of hype. But she'd never seen an ad before that acknowledged the possibility of even the slightest weight gain. The honesty was kind of refreshing.

Driving out of the lot, she didn't notice that her van had been the only vehicle blessed with this luminous leaflet.

Once she got home, Lori doffed her sweats for a less constricting muumuu, grabbed a bottle of club soda and some Hain's cheddar rice cakes, then called the number from the leaflet. The voice that answered was deep male and resonant, like an FM deejay's. "Ample Services," it said. "Could you please hold?" Before she could answer, taped music washed through the headphone: something about being in love with a fat girl. What the hell was this?

Before she could hang up, the voice returned. "Thanks for waiting," it said. "What can I do for you?"

"Heard about your new weight loss program," she explained. "I was just calling to get a few more details."

"Easily done," the voice said. "We'll send a rep over." With that, they clicked off line, and Lori was left holding a buzzing receiver.

"Fool," she sniped. "You forgot to ask for my name and address!" Placing the phone back on its hook, she grabbed a rice cake and proceeded to eat her low-cal dinner. Before she could finish, the doorbell rang.

Even through a distorting peephole, the man in the hallway looked pretty good. Mid-twenties, tall, crew-cut blond hair, a look of rugged boyishness. Lifting his carrying case, he held its label in front of the peephole and smiled. "Ample Services," she read aloud. "How'd they know where to find me?" Then it hit her: from the health club. That leaflet had been aimed straight at her.

You had admire such canny salesmanship. Besides, it wasn't every day a man so attractive showed up at her front door. Unlatching the deadbolt, she invited the Ample salesman into her apartment.

He was neatly dressed in grey Dockers and a blue polo shirt with the company logo over his shirt pocket. Showing off a set of blinding teeth, the Ample salesman started in like they were long-lost acquaintances, seeing each other for the first time in years.

"Lori!" he began, kneeling on the living room rug with his case in front of him. "Delightful to be invited up here! Know exactly why you called, and I know I can be of help.

"You're tired of being the size you are. Of knowing that the men all around you are incapable of seeing how beautiful you are. Just because you're a teensy bit bigger than the national norm. . ."

"Teensy," Lori snorted. "You see how huge I am! How can you even use the word?"

"All things are relative," the salesman said, rummaging through his case. "The average weight in this country continues to climb despite all efforts. At the same time a skinnier and skinnier ideal is promoted. Who's to say what is truly 'fat'?" Pulling a business card out of his shirt pocket, he handed it to Lori. "But I've been pretty rude. Not fully introducing myself."

The card read:

"Jason Lukra

"Ample Services

"We'll make a big difference in your life!"

"So you've got a weight loss program that works," she said skeptically.

"Most weight loss programs work for a time," the salesman told her, as he spread a row of pamphlets in the small space left on Lori's loveseat (the rest, of course, being taken up by Lori). "And they all fail in the long run. What we guarantee is a minuscule percentage of body fat gain."

"'Minuscule,'" Lori repeated.

"At Ample Services, we guarantee a one percent weight gain over the first year after your loss. Nothing more after that, as long as you follow a mainstream diet."

One percent - why, that was nothing! Say she got down to 200 pounds; that'd be a gain of only two pounds. She'd never done that well after a diet!

"So how much to you think you can get me to lose?" Lori asked.

"Don't think of it as loss," he corrected. "That's too negative. Think of it as attaining a new weight."

"And that 'new weight' will be?"

"Let's just say that you'll be pleasantly surprised."

Yeah, right, she thought. So just how much was this wonder weight change program gonna cost her?

"Not a thing," Jason told her. "At least for the first year. We're so confident that you'll be satisfied with the New You that we won't bill you for twelve months!" He then named a price that was one-half the cost of her current year's membership at Megabod.

She'd once spent five times that amount for a year of Weight Watchers: her decision was a foregone conclusion. But before she signed any contracts, she let young Mr. Lukra go through his whole spiel. Wasn't often she had someone so good looking in her apartment.

Ample Services' new "program" turned out to be a body wrap that she slept in: yards of foot wide bandage that she would use once, then discard next morning. She'd look like an obese mummy, but then she'd done stupider things before in the pursuit of weight loss. And if it didn't work, she was out nothing but some comfortable nights in bed.

Turned out she was wrong on that last, though. Soon as she hit her queen-sized bed swaddled in wrapping that vaguely smelled like a thigh cream she'd once unsuccessfully tried, she conked out. Her dreams were vivid and colorful, but when she woke, all memory of them vanished. All that lingered was the hint of a tune that she was sure she'd heard before.

Rolling out of bed, feeling slightly muzzy, she didn't remember her wrapping until she'd pulled out her first can of Diet Pepsi. Overnight, the bandages had disappeared. There wasn't a single strip on her body. Had she removed them in her sleep?

If so, she'd discarded them pretty efficiently because she couldn't find any of them.

Shrugging, she started to dress for work. Once she pulled her panties up, she got the surprise of her life.

They were loose! Where once the elastic of her 6X panties used to bite into her thighs, they now flapped freely. She actually had to use the belt on her nylon slacks to keep them from slipping down. Her blouse was a size too big. As was her bra.

Damn! Lukra's wrapping actually seemed to be working! She drove to the university in a daze. Seated behind her desk in Financial Affairs, it was an effort keeping her mind on the job. how much had she lost? How much would she lose? Maybe she should check herself on the scales at the club. Minutes before she could leave to do this, she looked up to Jason Lukra standing on the other side of the counter.

"Miz Lessun!" he beamed. "You look wonderful! Doing okay are we?"

"So far," she answered. "What can I do for you?"

"Thought I might ask you out to lunch," he told her. "If you haven't any other commitments, that is."

Other commitments? Jeez, this guy could sell anything! She could barely remember the last time she'd gone to lunch with anyone. Smiling, she shook her head and accepted his invitation.

They went to a Hunan buffet, where she ate her first full meal in months. Crab Rangoon. Pot stickers. Shrimp rolls. General Tso chicken. Hunan beef. She had a taste of each, with Jason's encouragement. "Your body won't ask for any more than it needs," he said. "Listen to it, and you'll be transformed into a woman beyond your wildest dreams."

"This part of the program?" she asked, and he nodded his head.

Sounded like new age hooey to Lori. But she was willing to put up with it when the man spouting it was so charming. By the end of the week, when she'd dropped over seventy pounds from her frame, she began to think she was underestimating Lukra. Each day he'd taken her to a luncheon buffet where she'd surpassed herself every time, yet she'd managed to lose close to a sixth of her old weight.

Her loss slowed down a bit after that first week, but she didn't mind. They started spending their evenings together, dining at some of the city's finest eateries, Lori wearing revamped outfits that hadn't fit her in ages. By the time fall semester ended at work and the office prepped to shut down for the rest of December, she was into the upper range of Lane Bryant. And puzzled co-workers had finally noticed her enough to ask, "Have you lost weight?"

Once out of the inquiring eyes of her peers, she started to more quickly lose weight again - as if her body were more comfortable accomplishing its amazing transformation in private. Christmas Eve, she was at 200 pounds, a weight she'd never reached before in a diet. Her figure was almost an hourglass. Her belly no longer pushed past her breasts, and while her hips remained the largest part of her, they didn't even scrape the armrests of an average-sized chair.

More amazing still, even with her sudden loss, Lori's skin was as firm as if she'd always been her present weight. Must be something in the wrapping to tighten it, she thought, as she examined herself in her newly purchased full-length mirror. At least three times a day she did a full inventory of herself, and if this was vanity, Lori wasn't going to apologize for it. Not after years of shame every time she passed her reflection.

Mentioning this to Jason that Xmas, he shook his head. "Lori," he said, "you'd be beautiful at twice your old weight. Sometimes I think that the worst thing we do is take away a woman's right to feel attractive if she's the least bit plump."

"And yet you work for a diet company," she answered. "Isn't that the least bit contradictory?"

"Ample Services is more than a diet company," he told her. "We do even bigger business, serving plus-sized clients with needs that mainstream business doesn't recognize. To be frank, that's the part of the business that I prefer."

"So you're saying that you'd still be attracted to me if I hadn't lost any weight," Lori said in disbelief.

With that, Jason grabbed her hands. "I'm a salesman," he said. "I'm used to telling people what they want to hear. But I'll be honest: if you hadn't called, wanting to be thin, I'd never have recommended it for you."

Later, when she'd try to pin the moment, Lori always returned to this instant as the time she fell in love with Jason Lukra. That moment when he said to her that he thought she was attractive both fat and thin, when he even had her wishing momentarily that she'd never lost a pound. She enjoyed the time she'd spent with him before (he had an in at every decent restaurant in the area), but this was like nothing she'd ever felt before.

He bought her a strapless evening gown for Christmas. "Something for you to wear at New Year's," the young salesman said, as she held up a black silk garment more suited to a runway model than her.

"I'd never fit into that," she demurred, trying to calculate just how thin she'd have to be to squeeze into it.

"By New Year's Eve, you'll be able to," he assured her.

Jason was right, of course.

December 31st, and Lori was all the way down to 120 pounds, a weight that she hadn't seen since she'd first hit puberty. Trim and buff, she looked like she'd been spending her life at the health club, though in reality she hadn't been to Megabod in weeks. A single roll of wrapping was left, and she was unsure if she would be applying it that night or not. Depended how the evening went with Jason.

Dressed and made up an hour before Jason's arrival, she stood and examined herself intently. The mirror showed a tall, leggy blond with short hair and the elegant look of a heroine from some chic sixties suspense movie. Her breasts were firm and just big enough to announce her womanliness; her torso flat and well toned. Her hips and legs looked like a dancer's. Jason's dress fit her perfectly, as if he had foreseen every contour on her new body.

The image was so plastically perfect, a life-sized magazine ad, that she was almost afraid to move - as if turning to answer Jason's knock would utterly destroy the picture perfect woman she'd become. Still, she stood unmoving for several beats before she went and let her boyfriend in the apartment. Soon as she saw him, she felt childish for even momentarily standing him up.

Dressed in a tux, five pound box of chocolates under his right arm, Jason whistled as she opened the door. "Looks like the dress fit, after all," he said, eyeing her from top to bottom. Lori blushed, then took the candy box from him. She opened it and made a sizable dent in the first tier without even noticing.

He took her to their favorite restaurant, and on their way in his car, she finished off the box. A nice aperitif.

The next three hours were spent dining and drinking each other in. By now, she no longer stopped to consider how extreme her daily food intake had become. She listened to her body's demands, and it hadn't steered her wrong yet!

They hit the clubs next, and on the dance floor of the city's hottest nightclub, Jason proposed. The perfect cap to a wonderful night. Of course, she said yes.

"Tomorrow," he said. "We'll get married first day of your new year." All around them, well-heeled couples were gyrating to a mambo version of "Auld Lang Syne."

"Today, you mean," she said, smiling prettily, then kissing him long and deeply. No way were they going to be able to get the paperwork done on New Year's, but she had no qualms about registering on the second.

Her new year. In a new body. With a loving husband. Who'd have thought she'd be experiencing this? There was, she knew, one small catch: that tiny gain over the next year. What was one percent of 120? Little over a pound. She could definitely live with that.

Waking in Jason's arms late that morning (no late-night mummification for her that night!), she was immediately struck by the certainty that she'd already regained that small percentage. Stumbling into her fiance's bathroom, she looked for Jason's digital scale under the sink. When she got on it, the scale read 121.

It could have been just a matter of two scales giving slightly different readings, but Lori knew better. Especially after considering how much she'd eaten last night. The pound was back, alright, even if it wasn't observable on her trim frame. Maybe it was time to stop listening to her stomach so much and cut back on the multi-course dining.

Easier resolved than done, she discovered. For by the time Jason rose to put together a healthy-sized brunch, Lori was famished. She scarfed down two plates' worth of cheese and green pepper omelette, six sausage patties, several pieces of foccaccio bread and three cups of Royal Kona coffee with cream and sugar. All afternoon, she spent lying on the couch with Jason, picking at Merkt cheese and crackers, drinking egg nog and working on an even bigger box of chocolates. They watched romantic comedies from the thirties together, and Lori was shocked to realize how much bigger than her many of the women were in those films.

The following day, she packed her possessions and moved into Jason's duplex. Her fat clothes, she boxed for Goodwill, and Jason promised to take care of them. That afternoon, they went for a blood test, then celebrated with a private seven-course meal that lasted most of the night.

Jason's place was roomy, filled with sturdy armless furniture and a vast collection of old records. He loved old rock and roll, blues and boogie woogie, blasting this archaic old music as he worked in the kitchen. Every once in a while, Lori would catch the lyrics of a song and realize that the singer was rhapsodizing about some fat woman.

When she returned to work, her co-workers were goggle-eyed over the new Lori. With Jason's help, she concocted a tale of radical liposuction, which was just a familiar enough concept to be convincing.

It was a struggle to remain focused on her work, she discovered. The whole day, images of her meals with Jason kept reappearing, and regular trips to the floor's snack machine weren't enough to banish them. Her co-workers watched these treks with cynical amusement, but Lori barely noticed. Though she spent her full lunch hour eating, she still felt empty when she returned to her desk.

By the time she got back to Jason's duplex (she wouldn't think of it as theirs until they made it legal), Lori was ravenous. Demolishing a pan of lasagna, a loaf of Pane bread, and a large salad piled high with blue cheese and olives, she totally lost herself in the sensation of eating.

It wasn't until after Jason left on a sales call that she remembered the bathroom scale. She was lazing in the living room, munching on snack food and listening to one of Jason's music collections. As she lifted the crumbs from the bottom of a twenty-four ounce bag of ruffled Lay's, she heard the song from her call to Ample Services, a male rockabilly singer bragging about his love of fat women:

"I like 'em bulgin'/From too much indulgin'."

The lyrics were enough to jolt her out of her thoughtless noshing. Dropping her bag, Lori dashed to the bathroom, stepped on the scales and read her newest digital weight. 122.

Another pound? How could she? A wave of fear coursed through her, followed by the thought: what would Jason think of her?

She couldn't let him know, but also couldn't afford to gain another ounce. Already, she could see her fine-toned stomach had smoothed just the slightest. He'd be so disappointed if she let it go any further.

And, yet, hadn't her fiance said that he found her just as attractive fat as he did now? Just date talk - no man really thought like that! It was just another salesman's line.

Or was it?

That night when he returned, Jason came bearing a package of Vienetta ice cream. Tomorrow, she told herself, she'd start on a sensible diet.

Next day, it was just as difficult to resist temptation, though. Over the past month, under Jason's urgings, she'd gotten into the habit of eating most everything that came her way. It was not going to be easy to break away from her old "program."

To her credit, Lori tried. And for two days, she even managed to hold to her resolve. Stomach crying to be fed throughout the work day, she stuck to sugarless gum and the old reliable rice cakes, kept to single portions at night. If Jason noticed her new abstinence, he didn't say a word.

Five days after his proposal, the day of their wedding, Lori finally got up enough nerve to step back on that bathroom scale. Her present weight, it told her, was 126 pounds. Even dieting, she was continuing to gain weight.

A wave of shame washed over her. Already, she'd managed to blow the Ample Service program. She was hopeless!

Hold on. For two days, she'd been responsible and abstinent, and she'd still continued to pack on the pounds. Who was at fault here? Six pounds was considerably more than one percent of 120. For the first time in her life, she was not accepting any responsibility for her diet failure; it was the program's fault.

She confronted Jason with the math over coffee. Nonplused, he just sat back and said, "Honey, I hate to disagree with you, but there's nothing out of line here. The contract states one percent over a year, and that's what you've been gaining. One percent on a daily basis."

Lori was floored. "Daily!" she gasped, tipping over her mug. "For a year! Add a pound a day, and I'll be fatter than when I started!"

She dashed out of the room, slammed the bedroom door. How could he deceive her like this? Play games with her than claim to love her? She shouted her question through the door.

"I did it to make you happy," he protested. "If only for a couple days. Do you know what it's been like to watch you grow so small? To help you lose all those curves? It's been awful!"

"Awful?" she repeated, cracking open the door.

"I told you I thought you were gorgeous when I met you," Jason said. "And I still believe it. Some people were meant to be fat; they look their best that way. You're one of them."

"So this diet was all a hoax," Lori accused.

"Not a hoax - a way for us to spend time together. For me to get close enough to propose."

"You deceived me."

"What lover doesn't?" Jason answered. "That's part of the romance. Honesty comes only when the relationship's matured."

"So tell me the truth then. Am I going to gain all my weight back?"

"All your weight and more," Jason said. "I'll be truthful. But if you're still willing, I still want to marry you."

Shutting the bedroom door again, Lori sat and thought. The problem with even trying to argue with Jason, she decided, was his smoothness. She had to get away and hash this out for herself.

She packed a suitcase and headed for the nearest motor lodge. Three nights of bad teevee reception and family-sized pizzas set her straight, though. Already, she missed their time together. The looks he gave her across the dinner table. His sense of humor. The way he touched her after she'd finished eating.

Even at her thinnest, she realized, he'd always focused on those parts of her that were fleshiest. Her thighs and buttocks. Her breasts. Gain back the weight, and that would just give him more to pay attention to. She'd been fat all her life, but she'd never been fat and happy. Her weight was gonna return. Why blow her shot at happiness?

The day they finally married, Lori was up to 134 pounds. Tossing aside her diet, she readied herself to grow back into her old outfits. (They were, Jason revealed, still in the trunk of his car.) Unencumbered by any guilt and abetted by Jason's encouragement, she quickly fell back into the gluttonous style of dining she'd developed in December.

Married life was like one long romantic fugue, each night of love and food and sex slipping into the next, each day passing by so quickly that she barely noticed how much snacking she was doing on the job. The bigger she grew, the more attentive Jason became. By spring, she was already back to 284 pounds. The supermodel days were over: her old pear shape had re-emerged. With hips that edged towards fifty-five inches and a belly with a circumference of forty-eight, there was no way anybody was going to confuse her with Kate Moss.

And yet, there were times when she almost anticipated her return to her old weight. The way her husband looked at her, she practically felt liberated as a fat woman. Maybe it was just more salesmanship on his part, but if it was, it was clear that he believed in what he was selling.

As she regained her weight, her flesh once again found the textures that she'd known all her life. The stretch marks on her pendulous breasts. The dimples on her hips and thighs. The extra bulges on her torso. Once she'd thought of them all as blemishes, but now they didn't look so bad.

It wasn't until May that she started to worry. She was already up to 400 pounds, and the year wasn't even half over. Her body was gaining twice as fast as she'd expected. Lori's thighs were individually in the upper thirties, while her belly swayed ahead of them at sixty-plus. Her upper arms were almost the size of her thighs from her short-lived skinny days. She was starting to run out of wardrobe, so she expressed this concern to Jason.

"Don't worry," he reassured her. "Ample Services specializes in stylish super-sizes. I'll get a catalog."

But that was only half her worry. "I've gained back so much already," she said. "I thought you said I'd be gaining one percent."

"You are," he said. "But one percent of your present weight is four times more than it was when you first started. Makes sense that you'd be gaining more weight by now. Up to four pounds a day."

Four pounds! And the year was only a third over! Doing some quick multiplication, Lori came up with a staggering figure. Four times 245 made for more than 900 pounds! The heaviest male on medical record was in that range. 1400 pounds!

It was an impossible figure, but considering what she'd already been through, not an inconceivable one. She called in sick to work that day, went back to bed and brooded. By afternoon, she came to another realization. Her math was all fucked up.

She'd been making a kid's mistake, assuming that percentage values were stable. But, of course, they weren't; that's how mortgage companies made so much off of tiny percentages. The bigger she got, the bigger the value of her percentage became. Tumbling out of bed, she went in search of a calculator. When she found one and did the math, she was staggered.

This time, she didn't confront her husband with her knowledge. He'd tell her truth, but as she'd learned, Jason had a knack for doling out only those pieces of truth he believed she could handle. There was only one bit of info that she wanted from him now, and that night, she laid it on him.

"I was watching this doctor on Today," she said, as they lay in bed together, bonbon wrappers on the sheet between them. "And it got me wondering about my health."

"The 'Obesity Is A Killer Disease' line," Jason answered.

"You telling me it's not the truth?"

"Not for Ample Services clients," he told her. "Unlike all those diet charlatans, we refuse to sell anything that would jeopardize a client's health. You're my wife, and I intend us to have a long and fulsome life together."

"There's no diet that's ever going to get me thin again?"

"No," he answered. "Your body's grown too accustomed to its weight to ever let you lose it. No more yo-yoing. Want another helping?"

"Sure," she said, and with that, she committed herself to the rest of her new life with Jason.

The following day, Lori gave two weeks' notice. By her last work day, she was already twenty pounds heavier than she'd been at her bachelorette peak. Away from the eyes of judgmental co-workers, she took to eating in the day with the gluttonous abandon that she'd shown at night. She knew her insatiable appetite wasn't natural, but it was also irrefutable.

First day of her new life as a homebody, she was interrupted in the midst of her prolonged brunch by a knock on the door. Standing in the hallway were two sumo-sized delivery men with the words "Ample Stuffing" emblazoned on their multiply-Xed shirts. Wafting around them was a variety of yummy scents. Swiss cheese and bacon crepes. Asparagus quiche. Frittata. Enough brunch to feed the clientele of a good-sized family restaurant. Obviously, Jason was making sure that she'd be kept well fed while he was at work.

The two super-sized delivery guys showed up again at lunchtime, just as she was near polishing off their first offering. The helpings were twice as large, but she still managed to deplete them by the time her husband got home.

"This food," she said. "This new clothing. It's got to be expensive."

"Ample Stuffing is a family business," he answered. "We make plenty of money elsewhere, but this part of the business was built so we could have a good life with our fat spouses." What that, he held out the five pound box of chocolates that had been become a nightly appetizer for her.

By mid-June, Lori had outgrown the size of their apartment. At 624 pounds, she was constantly having to angle herself to get her 84-inch hips through the doorways. Her paunch hung ahead of her with a 70-inch measurement, which put the lowest parts of it out of her reach. Her calves, which were delineated neath the fabric of her custom-made bodysuit, were divided into three tightly stretched bulges.

She hadn't left the house in over a month, but she barely noticed the stares of those passerbys who came upon her slowly moving form. It took three rest stops for her to get outside to her mini-van, but once she did, Lori never looked back. The Ample Stuffing deliverymen did all the drudgework, though they weren't bringing any of the furniture with them, as the new home was fixed with sturdier furnishings.

Their new domicile was a large dome house on the edge of town with carpeted concrete floors and modular furniture. It was arranged like a loft, with no doorways for her to outgrow. It had a walk-down jacuzzi and a bidet, a kitchen that wouldn't look out of place in a hotel. The entertainment area had a voice-activated stereo home theater that was tremendous.

Lori loved it all on sight: this was a home that would fit her even by the end of the year. In the bathroom area there even was a digital freight scale she could use to chart her growth.

Now, all she had to do was let herself swell to her inevitable size. She discarded her sweats and bodysuits - an affectation from her old health club days - in favor of more free-flowing spaghetti strap jumpers. Gaining from six to seven pounds a day, she was over 720 pounds by mid-year.

In her summer wear, a string of custom-made bikinis that were constantly close to slipping off the parts they were supposed to cover, Lori lolled around the house and ate nonstop. By July's end, she was adding almost ten pounds each day to her 982 pound frame. The day in August that she broke a thousand pounds, she celebrated by doubling her day's intake, eating past their usual bedtime, watching Jason grow crazy with desire at the sight of his gormandizing half-ton wife.

She enjoyed teasing him. Perhaps there was an element of payback in her doing so, but she began to use her expanded capacity to delay their conjugal time together. The longer she ate, the more excited Jason became. She loved the feeling of power this gave her. Sex between them was explosive, though her frame made it difficult for the most traditional positioning. They didn't let that stop them, though.

And so Lori's year passed - with new physical landmarks nearly every month. By August's end, she weighed over 1370 pounds: Guinness records weight, though she knew that she still had many pounds to go. Seated in front of the home theater, semi-circle of food carts before her, she'd totally forgotten living any other way. Her hips spread across the couch, taking it up entirely, while her calves sagged and rested on the floor. Her belly hung past her knees and draped over a hassock in double bulges. Her upper arms had started to swell forward, pushing her breasts into well-rounded prominence.

Despite her tremendous weight, she was still able to move around the house, though it took the help of the two deliverymen for her to gain the leverage to rise from the couch and close to half an hour just for her to waddle from one end of the room to another. She didn't move that often, however - and why should she? Her deliveries were coming every other hour on the hour. And even then she often cleaned them out before they could be replenished.

When autumn hit, Lori was close to 1700 pounds. At a gain of 17 pounds a day, she knew she wasn't far away from reaching her first ton. She'd widened to the point where she was barely able to meet her fingertips. Seated, her belly sagged all the way to the floor, way below the hem of her jumper, flattening against the carpet. She was like a great womanly pyramid, her spreading hips a base that nearly covered the five foot couch. Standing, the back of her thighs sagged most of the way down her calves; her butt cheeks shelved almost a foot past her arms' reach.

She reached her first ton in the second week of October: her "small percentage" currently came to twenty pounds a day. Jason had the carpet taken up and beneath it, Lori saw a set of slots imbedded in the concrete. They replaced her couch with a motorized, wheeled platform. Now, she was able to move around the house without getting up. Though she still could move on her own steam, most of the time it was too much of a hassle to heft her forefront up and carry it. With her platform, she could make it across the house quickly, wheel up to their bathing area, roll onto a lift that lowered into the tub and soak in the water luxuriantly. Within the tub lift's controls, was a digital read-out that let her keep tabs on her weight.

Though she still didn't talk about it with her husband, it was obvious that Lori was getting almost as big a charge by her weight gain as Jason. She didn't quite know when her attitude towards her weight had undergone this 180, but the change was undeniable. At times, when she looked at her newest stat and realized how much she'd grown, she felt an erotic jolt stronger than any other. More than once during a particularly well-cooked offering, she became as aroused as she did under Jason's ministerings.

At November's beginning, she was accumulating close to thirty pounds a day. On Thanksgiving, she celebrated by passing a ton-and-a-half.

That night, she thought of where she'd been a year before: on the verge of meeting her husband, of changing her whole orientation towards her size and food. Angry and dissatisfied, she'd never dreamed that she could live so happily.

"I was a fool," she said, lifting a turkey leg to her mouth. As she did, her opposite arm swung back, pushed by her inexorable mounds of breast fat. Even the act of putting food to mouth was an effort these days; the rolls of fat around her upper arms tended to make them spring back to her sides if she didn't offer any resistance. There, they rested, pointing right and left straight from her torso.

She'd lost sight of most of her front. Seated, all she could see were her breasts and belly looming before her. Her shoulders and chin rolls restricted her view to the side. She knew her rear pushed back almost as far as her front because it kept her seated upright on her platform. Nights when she slept, her husband on a connecting futon, she dropped off in this position.

For modesty's sake, she continued to wear a tie-string bikini top - the only way she could get it on was to have Jason loop it around her - but had given up on any other type of clothing. Swaddled within her hundreds of pounds of fat, she was plenty warm.

"A fool?" Jason repeated, as he carried over a tray full of walnut stuffing.

"All those years starving myself," Lori said, once she'd picked the leg clean. "You know, I bet if you tallied up all the food I denied myself in my life, it still wouldn't equal all that I've eaten this year."

"You've still got a month," Jason answered, and he lifted a large wooden spoon full of stuffing to her lips.

And what a month it was destined to be. A year before, she'd been wrapping herself nightly and watching her body diminish. Seven days into December, she was adding thirty-five pounds a day to her 3500 pound body. Her Ample Stuffing food was arriving constantly, chopped into half-inch cubes and placed on a chute that narrowed towards her mouth. All she could see was food sliding towards her, and it was all that she needed to see. Eating was all; growing was everything.

Four days before Christmas, she reached her second ton - just like her calculations had told her she would. She was fated to grow more than ten times the size of her pre-program weight, and that last week would be the most wonderful of all.

Instead of deliverymen, she had Jason all day. Feeding her more than she'd ever eaten before, encouraging her with every bite she took. Each chew, each swallow, was like an expression of love on her part. For the first time all year, she started to feel herself getting full, but she refused to stop. They slept in short shifts, then returned to the task at hand. Her meals arrived around the clock. It was exquisite, an orgy of eating. When New Year's came, it was almost with a sense of anticlimax.

Final tally on the last day of the year: 4450 pounds.

Lori spanned the entire nine-by-nine foot platform, naked flesh drooping over all four sides, belly still draped to the floor. Her legs were lost between her paunch and voluminous ass, constricted between the walls of fat pressing on both sides. Walking, she could only take the tiniest steps; it was like trying to push your way through a very crowded party. Lori's thighs had blended with her butt, so that the only sense of limb that was detectable was in her multiply ringed calves. Her upper arms had comparably vanished against her sides, two large sagging rims of flesh that likewise kept her arms into outstretched position.

Over the past week Jason had taken to photographing her from all angles. The large-sized photos had been framed and hung high on the wall for her to see, though there was no way any one picture could capture her entirely. She was like some over-stuffed symbol of appetite; vast jiggling female flesh billowed all around her. Her head perched between her mountainous shoulders had taken on her old pear shape, chins and cheeks swelling. Her belly and breasts ballooned way ahead of her, bulges and folds appearing in new spots whenever she shifted herself even the slightest.

Good thing all the electronics were voice activated, Lori thought, and sensitive enough to pick up commands made with a mouth full of food. Though parts of her moved all the time (each chew and swallow sent waves throughout her tonnage) the only exercises she did regularly were finger touches and deep breathing. Quite a change from her health club days. Despite this, she felt fitter than she'd ever been.

On the screen of their home theater, the big ball was dropping. Dick Clark was wishing everyone in the audience a Happy New Year, but Jason had turned the sound off. In the silence, Lori could have sworn she heard the band from last year's celebration somewhere outside the house.

Scattered on the floor were the remains of Lori's New Year's meal.

Leaning against her forefront, sinking into her paunch and the space between her breasts, Jason kissed her on the lips. Her prominent cheeks and swelling chins pressed against his face, and she felt herself warming throughout her entire body. She was now the woman she was meant to be, and it was obvious that was more than alright with Jason.

"My appetite's gone," she said in astonishment, as the New Year struck. There'd been days, particularly near the end, when she'd thought that it might never subside. But for the first time in weeks, she didn't feel hungry.

"For now at least," Jason said, holding a bottle of champagne to her lips. "The year is up, yet you almost sound disappointed."

She drank and considered this. Over time, she'd developed a passion for overeating that had overridden most everything else in her life. As this passion ebbed, she wondered what would replace it.

But then she remembered her earlier meals with Jason, the pleasure of good food and company. Somewhere between the unnaturally enhanced gluttony of her past year and her earlier fear of food was a place where she could live. Given her current inclinations, she suspected that she'd still tend towards the gluttony end of the scale.

What was it Jason had said when he was first selling her on the program? No further gain after the first year "as long as you follow a mainstream diet." Mainstream, she knew, would always be just a snack to her.

"Not at all," she finally answered. "Just trying to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life."

"We'll figure it out," Jason said, and as he kissed her once more, Lori knew that he was telling her the unexpurgated truth.

"I believe you," she said, nodding her head as much as her chins allowed. "No need for any salesman stories. We're husband and wife all the way."

"One hundred percent," Jason said.

Lori laughed, and her teeming forefront rocked beneath her husband. Whatever the years would bring, they were sure to be satisfying ones.

Ample Stuffing, she thought, had another satisfied client.

Fat Magic

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