View Full Version : Groundhog Day - by Marlow

02-02-2018, 01:59 PM
~BBW, ~~WG - Reliving the same day over and over, an uptight workaholic can finally live like there's no tomorrow.

(Note: Took a break from the long-form projects to try something a little shorter for once. It was also a good excuse to re-watch a great movie.)

Groundhog Day

by Marlow

Chapter 1

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing her flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams.

Voices filtered through the wall. The radio was blaring in the next room, treating her to what had to be the world’s most annoying morning talk show. She tried to ignore their dopey voices as she got up, but couldn’t help catch occasional phrases like “record snowfalls,” “dangerous conditions,” and “widespread road closures.”

“That bad, huh?” Renee asked, pushing brown curls from her face. She hopped off the creaking bed and padded to the window. “It was snowing when I pulled off last night, but it wasn’t that bad, was it?”

“Looks like we’re all stuck here,” concluded the co-host.

It was even chillier by the window—a crack in the glass proved to be the source of the draft—and Renee wrapped a blanket over her shoulders as she approached. The blanket all but smothered her petite, meticulously maintained figure; she clutched it tight over her toned abdomen with one hand and fiddled with the curtains with the other.

Her window overlooked the tiny mountainside town’s commercial center, where a handful of shops and storefronts huddled around a picturesque village square. One road led back downhill to the interstate and another led further uphill to the campus of a tiny liberal arts college.

Renee frowned. The area was covered in snow, enough that the roads were still white, but hardly to the degree the radio show was describing. Sidewalks had been shoveled and a few locals were trudging about as though it were any other Friday morning.

A plump woman was walking her dog up a sidestreet; as Renee watched, the dog caught sight of something and circled around, tying its leash around the woman’s legs. Further up the road, some children were rolling up a ball for the head of a snowman. In front of one of the stores two shoppers collided with one another, spilling groceries across the sidewalk, and hurried to collect each other’s goods.

“Ugh, this place is so quaint it hurts,” Renee groaned, turning away.

She showered and made ready for another long day of driving, pulling on a pair of warm tights and a knit sweater-dress. The tights, on loan from her homebody sister, were a couple sizes too big, but their looseness was well concealed by the sweater. It hung halfway to her knees, tracing the contours of her svelte frame. Neatly folding the rest of her things into a trendy suitcase, she grabbed her coat and gloves and headed for the lobby.

A well-groomed young man waited at the front desk, much more pleasing to the eyes than the old woman who had checked Renee in the night before. He greeted her with a smile, but it fell as she asked to check out.

“You might want to wait on that, actually,” he apologized.

Renee started. “What’s that supposed to mean? I need to get back on the road. I have to be at a conference tomorrow.”

“That’s the thing. Roads are closed…the interstate’s shut down from here to Erie. Police are turning cars around and warning everyone to stay home.”

“You’re kidding.” She craned her head to glance out his window. “It really doesn’t look that bad out there.”

He scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, we got lucky here in town. We’re on the backside of the hill, so the lake-effect stuff usually doesn’t hit us as hard. But, take it from someone who’s lived here his whole life: you go maybe a mile in any direction and you’re gonna find yourself waist-deep in blizzard. It’s just the way things work sometimes in the mountains.”

Renee stared at the ceiling. “So, I’m stuck here.”

“Until things lighten up, probably. They’re hoping it’ll just be twenty-four hours.”

“Holy shit,” she breathed, reaching for her phone. “Well, I suppose I should let the boss know…”

The clerk swallowed. “Yeah, and the cell tower is out.”

Renee’s prim face broke open, aghast. She gaped at her phone, suddenly useless. She was marooned in the Alleghenies, untold miles from civilization.

“We’ve got a landline if you want to try to reach them—”

“There’s no point,” she sighed. “I’m stuck here, apparently.”

“And if you end up having to stay a second night, I’ll ask the owner about discounting your rate, since you obviously wouldn’t have been here otherwise.”

She bristled. “I guess I’ll go figure out how to entertain myself for a day. Is there anything good around here?”

“Well…” He pondered for a moment. “We do a pretty good continental breakfast here, or there’s a nice diner up the street if you like more variety. The place next door was voted best burger in the county…that pasta place up there’s always popular on weekends…and it’s Friday, so the pub on the corner should have drink specials and cheap appetizers tonight and they show all the national games.”

Renee nodded. “And if I don’t just want to eat backwater fast food all day?”

He blushed. “Ah. Right. Um…the midwinter festival starts tonight in the square, or…I think there’s some kind of art installation opening at the college.” He pointed. “It’s just a short walk up to campus if you take this street here.”

She took a deep breath. “What a happening town. Well, it’s just one day.”

“That’s the spirit. Just think: some of us have been stuck here our whole lives.”

After returning her things to the room, Renee sat down in the lobby for a long breakfast. She allowed herself more for the meal than her typical routine, hoping she could at least make the lost day feel like a vacation. Her standard juice and granola was replaced with coffee, cheap pancakes, sausage, and a small pastry. It was probably more, she realized, than she’d eaten the whole previous day.

Her stomach complained at the unfamiliar fullness. Despite a curious voice in her head suggesting she could eat a little more, she dragged herself out of the dining area and set out to explore.

Stepping out of the hotel was like stepping into a snowglobe. Disparate flakes fell over the little town, muffling sound and curtaining off any view of land beyond the city limits. It was warmer than Renee had expected, brisk enough that coats had to be buttoned but not biting enough to chase anyone indoors.

Staring up at the snowfall, Renee nearly walked into a hunched-over old man. She chuffed at him for being in her way; he recoiled in confusion and hobbled off with a dismissive wave.

“Nice attitude,” she spat, heading up the road.

Only about half the town center’s storefronts were open. It was late morning now, but evidently many of the owners were having difficulty on the roads. Renee wandered along until a little dress shop caught her eye.

A young woman looked up from behind the counter. Her remarkably vibrant purple hair was swept over in an asymmetric cut and her remarkably large bust was spilling out of a low-cut top.

“Hey,” she purred, hair falling over one eye. “Looking for anything in particular?”

Renee bounced on her heels and glanced around the store. “Not really. I’m stuck in town for the day and figured I’d see what’s around.”

“Sorry to hear that,” the girl chuckled. “This is one of the region’s least exciting towns. Four more months till I graduate and then I am never coming back. Four months…every day feels like forever.”

“You’re up at the college?” asked Renee, poking through a rack of dresses.

“Yep. And it’s equally boring. It’s a tiny school and most of the students are pretty local, so when we get a long weekend everybody just goes home. If you go up there today, you’ll find a campus that’s pretty much empty…except for a few of us weirdos who end up trapped here.”

“You must have some interesting parties, then.”

“Pff. If only. None of us seem to like any of the same things and no one around here is ever willing to leave their comfort zone…you know, take any risks. Any weekend stuff we try to organize just ends up being a few hours of indecision and passive-aggressive arguing, and then nothing.” She flicked the hair from her face. “You like that one?”

Renee held a green sheath to her chest, grimacing down at it. “I do. This is a fun color…any chance you’ve got it in a smaller size?”

“That’s the smallest size we carry.” The girl nodded to the lettering on the window. “We’re a plus-size shop.”

“Ah. I totally missed that.”

She smirked. “Yeah, sorry for not mentioning it earlier…it was nice to have some company in here. Didn’t mean to waste your time.”

Renee shrugged. “Wasting time is all I can do today, anyway.”

The girl leaned across the counter, showing off far too much of her chest, and snatched the dress from Renee’s hands. “Tell you what: since it’s not like we’re getting much business today, I’ll go ahead and see if I can take this in a little, try and get it to fit a beanpole like yourself.” She looked Renee up and down. “Come back tomorrow and you can…try it on.”

“Oh, wow. I guess if you’re that…bored.”

“Sure, why not? Not promising I’ll be able to make it slim enough…you’re, what, one-thirty?”

“One-twenty-eight,” Renee beamed.

“Okay. Well, no promises, but I’ll give it a shot. And hey, if you’re stuck in town for the night, maybe we—”

“So, I’ll check back in tomorrow,” Renee announced, heading for the door. “See you then.”

She meandered through the town center for a while, ducking into a few of the open shops and watching the locals set up for the festival in the square. She rolled her eyes at their rural enthusiasm and made her way to the diner for lunch.

Nothing on the menu appeared even remotely healthy, so she dropped some change on the table for her coffee and bustled out the door before the pear-shaped server could take her order. The Burger Bunker didn’t offer anything that fit into her diet plan either, but she settled for a value meal in order to quiet the uncharacteristic hunger in her stomach.

She hiked up toward the college afterward, hoping to walk off what had turned into a larger lunch than planned (the incompetent burger-flipper, when Renee had complained about the pickles she’d asked him to omit, had apologized with a complementary upgrade to the large-size value meal.)

A cramp in her abdomen forced her to pause on a park bench. The break was extended by the arrival of a strikingly handsome man, evidently out for his afternoon jog, who stopped to chat her up. She did her best to politely rebuff him, but couldn’t help but glance up as he fidgeted with his long, dark hair.

“Working out’s all about getting into a routine,” he was saying. “You gotta just commit to doing it every day. Over and over.”

Renee opened her phone. There was still no service.

“So, uh,” he asked at length, “what are you doing for dinner?”

“Something else,” she replied, rising and trotting away.

The college’s campus was as quiet as advertised. As she walked between the blocky limestone dorms and crossed the miniscule quad, Renee only encountered a handful of students. They shuffled wearily from one building to another, eyeing the visitor with suspicion.

One small group was clustered in the union, arguing over some trading card game. Outside the library, a pair of sorority sisters were arguing loudly: one berating the other for scheduling their chapter’s party on a weekend when most of the student population was off campus.

Renee eyed them with disdain. She, too, had been in a sorority, back at the massive state school she’d attended, but that sisterhood would never have permitted women like these two. They were sufficiently blonde and bubbly, but each weighed a good deal more than any of Renee’s sisters. One sported a heavy thighs and a derriere that should have precluded a more self-aware woman from wearing tights; her more apple-shaped companion carried a beer gut rounder than the omega on her ill-fitting sweatshirt.

“Come on, Theresa,” one was saying to the other, “we end up doing the same thing every time, over and over…”

The art installation proved to be closed, as the necessary faculty were snowbound on the other side of the hill. Renee threw up her hands in exasperation and marched back to town.

Unwilling to let the day prove a total waste, she located a record store off the square and purchased a few CD’s. The selection wasn’t particularly impressive, but the pop albums would be a welcome change from the back country radio stations she’d been stuck with for the drive.

The spiky-haired cashier attempted to strike up a conversation about Renee’s musical tastes, but she simply tugged the receipt from his hands and hurried from the store.

“I think his songs really capture the idea of someone trapped in a life they didn’t want, doomed to follow the same routines over and over again forever…” The cashier droned, as though failing to notice she’d gone.

“No, really,” she mumbled to herself, once she was outside, “I’m sure your opinions are fascinating and original. You must be so unique.”

Hoping to calm herself, Renee visited the much-lauded Italian restaurant for dinner. It was a cute, family style place built into a century-old brick house. ‘Family-style,’ she discovered, applied also to the serving sizes: the platter of pasta that found its way to her table could have fed her for a week.

She managed over half of it, though, along with a few breadsticks and a large salad. It was by far the largest meal she’d eaten in recent memory and she spent the whole walk home trying to rationalize it: she’d had a stressful day, she hadn’t eaten much on the road yesterday, she’d taken a few thousand more steps than usual, anyway…She reminded herself that one day off the diet wasn’t the end of the world, but the to-go box she carried served as a reminder of just how far off the diet she’d ventured.

“That looks like a doggy bag from Portia’s,” chided the hotel clerk, appearing at the front desk. “How’d you like it?”

Renee stomped the snow from her trendy boots and furtively placed a hand to her gurgling stomach. “It was fine.” She tilted her head at him. “You’re still here?”

He shrugged. “Mrs. Altman—she’s got the night shift—called in and said she’s snowbound. Apparently it’s pretty bad on the west side. So I’m still here, yep.”

“I guess we’re both stuck.”

“It’s not so bad. Extra hours, if nothing else. Sometimes it’s nice to have to stop once in a while…not be on the run all the time.” He gazed out the window at the snowy evening. “And there are worse places to be stuck.”

She shook her head. “Not really my style.”

“Well, they’re saying the roads should be open again by morning, so you’ll be free of us soon enough.”

“Oh, thank heavens. I really can’t afford to waste another day here.”

He turned back to his computer. “Lucky you. Some of us have to wake up here every day.”

02-02-2018, 04:17 PM
This seems great!

Benny Mon
02-02-2018, 06:51 PM
Great start. Excited to see what you've got for us with this one!

fat hiker
02-03-2018, 01:19 PM
This is an interesting premise - oddly enough, Groundhog Day turned up on a list of suggested movies for a movie evening just this past week! I'd forgotten all about it until that.

02-03-2018, 02:44 PM
Very interested in the next installment

02-03-2018, 05:23 PM
ALSO extremely intrested. I love time loop/ wg stories. FAVORITE. Also This Movie IS my life.

02-06-2018, 08:37 AM
ALSO extremely intrested. I love time loop/ wg stories. FAVORITE. Also This Movie IS my life.

Can you recommend some others? I'd be curious to see what other folks have done with the idea.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Chapter 2

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing her flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams.

Voices filtered through the wall. The radio was blaring in the next room, treating her to what she quickly remembered to be the world’s most annoying morning talk show. She tried to ignore their dopey voices as she got up, but couldn’t help catch occasional phrases like “record snowfalls,” “dangerous conditions,” and “widespread road closures.”

“Wait, still?” Renee asked aloud, listening closer. She hopped down from the creaking bed and shivered. “The report last night said the storm was…done…”

“Looks like we’re all stuck here,” concluded the co-host, in the same weary drone he’d used the day before.

She wrapped a blanket over her shoulders as she approached the drafty window. The blanket all but smothered her petite figure; she clutched it tight over her abdomen and was surprised to find she was still rather bloated from her large dinner.

The window overlooked the town center, as meager and quaint as it had looked the day before. There was the dress shop she’d visited, there was the village square, the greasy diner and Burger Bunker, and the Italian restaurant where she’d allowed herself to eat a little more than she should have. She regretted the dinner somewhat, but had to admit it had been fun to cheat her diet for once.

Renee frowned. The area was covered in snow, enough that the roads were still white, but hardly to the degree the radio show was continuing to describe and certainly no more than she’d seen yesterday. Sidewalks had been shoveled and a few locals were trudging about as though it were a regular morning.

A plump woman was walking her dog up a sidestreet; as Renee watched, the dog caught sight of something and circled around, tying its leash around the woman’s legs. Further up the road, some children were rolling up a ball for the head of a snowman. In front of the record store two shoppers collided with one another, spilling groceries across the sidewalk, and hurried to collect each other’s goods.

“Déjà vu,” Renee mused, turning away.

She showered and made ready to finally get back on the road, irritated at being late to the conference but grateful for the break from long days of driving. Too impatient to pick out a new outfit, she simply pulled on her sweater-dress again; it smelled like she hadn’t worn it yet, anyway. Complementing herself on being so clean, she packed the rest of her things and ventured out of the room.

She stopped in the hallway, ears pricking at the continued blaring of the radio. Listening for a moment outside Room 238, she gritted her teeth and pounded on the door.

A tubby, middle-aged man opened up. He had just lathered himself up for a shave and over his shoulder Renee caught sight of his obese wife, one foot on a scale and her face flushed with embarrassment.

“Good morning,” Renee managed after a moment. “I just wanted you to know that your radio is really loud.”

“Oh, gosh,” the man stammered. “I’m sorry about that. Hon, can you—”

Renee rolled her eyes. “Well, it’s too late now.” She stomped away, leaving the man and his huge wife to their routine.

The well-groomed young man waited again at the front desk. Renee’s practiced smile faded as he greeted her.

“You’re still here?” she asked.

He started. “Uh, good morning. Still here? My shift only started about an hour and a half ago.”

“But you were here all day yesterday, weren’t you? You said they made you stick around when the old lady couldn’t make the drive in, or something like that. Or was that…was that someone else?”

“Mrs. Altman was in last night. She’s the one who would have checked you in.” He punched at his keyboard. “Speaking of which: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the roads out of town are all closed. This blizzard has shut down the interstate from—”

“…from here to Erie…” Renee muttered, narrowing her eyes.

“Right. So, if you need to add a second night to your stay, I can ask the manager about discounting your rate, since—”

“You mean a third night, right?”

He cocked his head and checked his computer. “Third? I’m showing that you only checked in last night.”

Renee pushed her hair back. “I checked in Thursday night.”

He nodded. “Yesterday was Thursday.”

“Yesterday was Friday,” she protested, clutching her temples. “Do they use a different calendar up here in the mountains?”

“Um, no. Sorry, but according to the calendar here, today is Friday, February second.” He rotated his computer monitor to show her. “The midwinter festival starts tonight in the town square and, if I remember right, the college is hosting an art installation.”

“If you remember right? Apparently you don’t remember all of yesterday. We’ve already had this conversation. And the art installation was…” She opened her phone. The home screen informed her that it was Friday, February 2. “Oh, there’s no service. It probably hasn’t updated yet.”

“Yeah, the storm must have knocked out the cell tower. But that wouldn’t affect the calendar. I think that’s an internal program.”

“…Friday,” she murmured.

He gave her a pitying look. “Think of it this way: you just got a whole day back. Think what you might have missed!”

After returning her things to her room—again—Renee sat down in the lobby for a long breakfast. She felt guilty, allowing herself such an unhealthy spread for the second day in a row, but she was too wrapped in consternation to care. She pondered her way through coffee, a stack of pancakes, sausage, bacon, some fruit, and a small pastry.

Her stomach complained at the unfamiliar fullness, exasperated that she would force down more on top of the dinner it was still working to digest. Giving into a sudden urge to grab a second pastry, she dragged herself out of the dining area and chewed it as she set out, wincing, to explore.

Stepping out of the hotel was like stepping into a snowglobe. Disparate flakes fell over the quaint little town, muffling sound and curtaining off any view of land beyond the city limits. It was warmer than Renee had expected, brisk enough that coats had to be buttoned but not biting enough to chase anyone indoors.

Mulling over her issue with the calendar, Renee nearly walked into an elderly man. She chuffed at him for being in her way; he recoiled in confusion and hobbled off with a dismissive wave.

“Nice…attitude…” she murmured. Shaking it off, she headed up the road.

Only about half the town center’s storefronts were open. It was late morning now, but evidently many of the owners were still having difficulty on the roads. It was the same set of stores that had remained closed, Renee noticed. She wandered along until coming again to the little dress shop.

The young woman looked up from behind the counter. Her hair was as vibrant and colorful as the day before and her cleavage just as visible, falling out of what looked to be the exact same low-cut top.

“Hey,” she purred, hair falling over one eye. “Looking for anything in particular?”

Renee spread her palms. “Yeah, I was in here yesterday…you were gonna take in that green dress for me.”

The girl looked her up and down. “It’s not ringing a bell. I’m…pretty sure I’d remember you.”

“Oh, come on. It was, uh, about eleven in the morning. We talked about your college. I picked out a green dress…” She turned to the nearby rack and furrowed her brow. “That green dress…right there…”

“I wasn’t here at eleven yesterday. I have class on Thursdays. You would have talked to my manager and she’s…” The girl folded her arms with a smirk, squishing up her bosom. “We’re not easy to mix up.”

Renee bit her lip. “But yesterday was Friday.”

“Uh, today is Friday.”

“But today…” Renee sputtered for a moment, then blustered out of the store.

In the town square, the locals were setting up for the festival. They had made no apparent progress since Renee had watched them yesterday.

“If that was even yesterday,” she breathed. She glanced around in a panic, eyes eventually landing on the façade of the record store. The spiky-haired clerk could be seen through the window, head bobbing to the terrible music within.

Renee marched back to the hotel. Tapping her foot as she waited for the elevator, she shushed her rumbling stomach.

Exploding into her room, she unlatched her suitcase and spilled its contents across the floor. She sifted frantically through the piles of clothes, cursing. She rifled through her work bag, emptying file folders and checking every pocket twice. She yanked open dresser drawers and ripped the sheets from her bed, but eventually could only collapse back in despair.

There was no sign of the CD’s she’d purchased. She checked her purse: not only was the receipt missing, but all the money she’d spent on yesterday’s meals had somehow reappeared. The to-go box from the restaurant was absent from the mini-fridge.

“Did I just dream it all up?” she choked, lowering herself into the desk chair. “Am I losing my mind?”

A notepad sat on the desk, a wooden pencil lying diagonally across it. After a moment’s consideration, Renee grabbed the pencil and scribbled on the notepad. She then snapped the pencil in half, and placed the two splintered halves into a drawer. She stared at the drawer for a few minutes, opening and checking it twice, and then crossed the room to the phone on the nightstand.

She dialed down to the front desk. The clerk answered immediately, in his infuriatingly chipper tone.

“It’s Renee, up in 237,” she grumbled.

“Oh, hi. Did you get out and see the town at all? Have fun?”

She sulked. “I thought I did, but I guess I didn’t. Whatever. Anyway, I think I’m gonna just wait things out here in the hotel. Do you do, um, room service?”

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing her flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams.

Voices filtered through the wall. The radio was blaring in the next room, treating her to what she quickly deemed the world’s loudest morning talk show. She tried to ignore their dopey voices as she got up, but her pounding head couldn’t help catch occasional phrases like “record snowfalls,” “dangerous conditions,” and “widespread road closures.”

“Not again,” she said hoarsely, blinking.

Her stomach churned with indigestion. She gradually began to remember why: bored to death in the hotel room, she’d done nothing but eat her needlessly extravagant room service meal and stare at the television, sipping cheap wine until drifting to sleep. Her normally active body was rebelling at the idleness and indulgence. Massaging her abdomen, she discovered with horror that she was still sporting a food-baby.

She shook her head. There was a more important issue at hand. Throwing off the sheets, Renee slid to the edge of the bed and hauled open the desk drawer.

The broken pencil was gone. Looking up, she found it lying diagonally across the notepad, magically healed. The notepad was blank.

There were no plates left from her dinner. Her clothes were neatly folded beside the suitcase. The handsome young clerk at the front desk greeted her with the same lack of recognition and the calendar on Renee’s phone informed her that it was, once again, Friday: February 2nd.

02-06-2018, 12:28 PM
Loving this, also love the room 237 reference.

02-06-2018, 05:58 PM
Curious to see, as she already realized the food is sticking around, how she determines she would have to gain for the cycle to end... why wouldn't she just maintain her normal diet?

02-10-2018, 11:31 AM
(Quick note about things that don't really matter: I accidentally labeled the room neighboring Renee's as room 238. In most hotels, that would put the rooms on opposite sides of the hall. I wasn't able to edit the post, but going forward I'll have her neighbors in room 239.)

Chapter 3

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing softened flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams.

Voices filtered through the wall. The radio was blaring in the next room, treating her to what continued to be the world’s most annoying morning talk show. She imitated their dopey voices as she got up, anticipating their mentions of “record snowfalls,” “dangerous conditions,” and “widespread road closures.”

“Well, Renee,” she groaned to herself, sliding out of bed, “looks like stealing a truck and trying to break through the roadblocks didn’t get you anywhere, either.”

“Looks like we’re all stuck here,” the co-host’s voice confirmed, once again.

She stretched up and scratched her stomach. There was more to scratch, now: her once toned abdomen had begun to soften into a gentle muffin-top. A pudgy little gut pooched out from beneath her short tank top.

“Why don’t you ever reset, like everything else?” she asked, poking it. She’d tried using some of her repeated days to exercise and get back to her old routines, but the more time she spent trapped in town, the more pointless everything seemed. She’d decided to focus on getting out first and made her conscience a vague promise to get back on the diet once she had.

Her bra had grown uncomfortably tight, as well, underwire digging into her more rounded bosom. Frowning, Renee pulled on a bathrobe and slipped into the hallway.

She pounded on the next door down. The fat businessman opened up, halfway through his morning shave.

“Good morning,” she chirruped. “Could you maybe turn your radio down, and can I use your scale?”

He furrowed his brow. “Uh, I suppose...How did you know I have a scale?”

She strode into the room. “Because your wife, who just went downstairs for breakfast, is trying to get herself back under the three hundred pounds mark.” She glanced at the man’s own waistline. “She seems eager to be smaller than you again. But don’t worry—I won’t tell her about the cute young lady who barged into your room while she was out.”

He watched her disappear into the bathroom, wringing his hands.

“146,” Renee sighed, reappearing. “Almost twenty pounds. Hell…I need to get out of here before I start looking like the two of you.”

He looked down, wounded. “Well, they’re saying the roads will be open again by tomorrow.”

“They keep saying that, but tomorrow never seems to come.” She shook her head and opened the door. “And I’ve already lost count of the, uh, todays. Anyway, thanks. Good luck with your meeting this afternoon.”

“How did—”

The elevator opened and Renee sauntered out into the lobby. She’d pulled on her tights and sweater-dress, belly pushing the knit fabric out in a faint bulge.

“Morning, Phil,” she lilted.

The clerk appeared behind the front desk, looking confused. “Good morning, uh, ma’am. If you’re checking out—”

“Roads are closed, I know.” She stood pensively for a moment, smoothing the sweater over her midsection. “I tried to force my way onto the interstate last time and woke up here again, anyway. Didn’t even get to the county line. That was a rough one.”

He eyed her. “I’m sorry?”

“Are there any other ways out of town? Some back roads that might let me bypass the highway?”

“There are some farm roads, I guess, and there’s the old state route that heads over the hill.” He scratched the back of his head. “But they don’t get plowed much; they’d be in worse shape than the highways.”

Renee rolled her eyes. “So, let’s say you absolutely had to get yourself out of here, today. How would you do it?”


“If your one goal in life was to wake up tomorrow morning anywhere other than here, what would you do?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “The next town’s about ten miles or so…and it’s not an easy hike in the summer. But I guess you could ski, or snowshoe, or something. I don’t know. I don’t…I don’t leave town very often.”

“I know, Phil. I know.” She forced a smile and pulled on her coat. “You’re always here to meet me, every morning. So, off to find some breakfast…and then some skis, I guess.”

The clerk raised a questioning finger, but dropped it. “We have a continental breakfast spread here, if you need something.”

“You do. And it’s great, definitely. I’ve enjoyed it a little more than I probably should have,” she admitted, looking down at her stomach.

She glanced up: he was looking at it, as well.

“…but this morning,” she coughed, buttoning her coat, “I’m in the mood for waffles.”

She marched out through the sliding doors, pausing to let the old man scuttle past.

The diner made an excellent breakfast, featuring a menu with six pages of options. The pear-shaped waitress was a bit over-friendly for Renee’s taste, always overjoyed to meet an out-of-towner, but it meant attentive service and, if Renee asked her about her children, a free doughnut for the road.

Biting into the doughnut, Renee called for the server to come back over, watching her wide hips wobble behind the apron.

“Something else I can get you, hon?”

Renee swallowed and wiped her lips. “You know anyone around here with, uh, skis, or snowshoes, or whatever?”

“Gosh, hm. My niece’s got some skis, I think. Never uses them, as far as I know. I always just see them hanging in the garage.”

“Uh-huh. Where does she live?” Seeing the woman’s dubious look, she adopted a more earnest expression. “I’ve just always wanted to try, and I figure I should take advantage of the weather while it’s got me here. And this seems like such a beautiful place to do it.”

The woman melted. “Aren’t you the sweetest little thing? I wish you could come in here every day.”

Renee gritted her teeth, but maintained a polite smile.

“She works over at the Burger Bunker, if you want to go ask her. Just tell her that the best cook in town sent you.”

“Best in town? I suppose I can’t argue with that, after such a wonderful breakfast.” She gestured to her plates: cleaned more thoroughly than she remembered.

The waitress cooed. “Such a flatterer. And you haven’t even tried my pie.”

Renee licked her lips, but caught herself. “I think just the doughnut for today. Don’t want to ski on too full a tummy.”

“Well, at least let me get you another one for the road. On the house.”

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing softened flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams.

“Fuck,” she groaned, ignoring the voices from the radio next door. She kicked the blankets away, though there was little point to getting out of bed. “All that fighting through the snow for nothing.”

She stared out the window. The dog wrapped its leash around its owner again; the two shoppers collided with one another again.

“There’s just no point in trying, is there?” she asked the snowstorm, shivering. “Well, fuck it.”

After a long breakfast—back to the hotel’s continental buffet, this time—she trudged up the hill toward the college campus. She paused to sit on the park bench and digest awhile, lazily rebuffing the jogger’s attempts at flirtation until she grew bored enough to continue on.

As always, the campus was a ghost town, with only a few lonely students hurrying between buildings. Renee pantomimed the heated debates between the gamers in the union as she passed, throwing up her hands as the fat one with the neckbeard threw up his in defeat and snickering along with the wispy blonde girl who had beaten him.

The sorority sisters emerged from the library, arguing over how to save their ruined Saturday night plans. Renee mouthed the words as the fat-bottomed one lost her patience: “fine, just go drink all the beer by yourself.” She watched from a distance as the fat-bellied one dropped her lanyard in the snowbank and walked off without realizing.

Once they’d gone, Renee sidestepped over and plucked up the lanyard.

The art installation, as always, was closed. The area was deserted, however. Renee checked her watch.

“Dog barks…” she murmured.

In the distance, a dog barked.

“Stiff breeze…”

A wintry gust flared up, fluttering the curls of her hair.

“Campus security drives by,” she continued, watching the white jeep roll past, “and doesn’t patrol this side of the quad for another half hour.”

Glancing around, she tiptoed to the art building’s door. She pulled out the sorority sister’s lanyard, wiping the snow from her keycard, and swiped it in the electronic lock. The monitor beeped and the door was unlocked.

The art building was a curved, deliberately unorthodox building. Its floorpplan resembled a nautilus, spiraling outward from a central gallery. Renee made her way down and forced open the gallery door.

The gallery was a single, open room, lined with monochrome sketches. They comprised, apparently, a single student’s opus, with a simple, singular concept represented in every piece: the portrayal of eating dinner as an erotic experience.

Renee studied each of the sketches, amusing herself with sardonic comments and pretending to be a snooty art critic. The artist was clearly infatuated with their subject matter, a fiery lust evident in every canvas. The pretentiously-worded descriptions said they hoped to evoke a primordial response in the viewer, but all Renee felt was a dull hunger.

At the end of the gallery stood a tall, scrap-metal sculpture, depicting the culmination of the artist’s narrative: an impressionistic female figure clutching a cornucopia in one hand and what looked to be her distended stomach with the other. Behind it, on the wall, hung a profile of the artist herself. Renee squinted at it; the artist was the waifish blonde girl who had won her card game in the union half an hour earlier.

“Sorry, Abby,” muttered Renee, rolling up her sleeves. She took a deep breath and gave the statue a shove.

It teetered, then fell from its pedestal and crashed to the floor. Sheets of aluminum clattered across the hardwood.

An alarm sounded. Lights flashed outside.

“I guess I’ve been looking at this the wrong way,” Renee decided, hands on her hips. “Every morning, my debts are cancelled. My wallet’s full again. Crimes are erased, wounds are healed, offenses are forgotten…a clean slate, every day.”

The door burst open. A pair of fat security guards stumbled into the gallery.

“What the hell are you doing?” huffed one.

“Whatever I want,” Renee realized, lips broadening with a crazed grin. “I can do…whatever I want.”

“That right? You have any idea how much trouble you’re in?” puffed the other.

Renee shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. Everything’ll be fine again by morning.”

02-17-2018, 07:50 PM
Chapter 4

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing softened flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams. She felt her bloated stomach grumble and pressed a hand to it with a wince.

Voices filtered through the wall. The radio was blaring in the next room, treating her to what continued to be the world’s most annoying morning talk show. Renee pounded her fist on the wall and shouted for her neighbor to turn it down. He was still shaving, however, and the fan in his bathroom would keep him from hearing her for at least four more minutes.

“You suck,” she groaned, sitting up. Her belly bunched into a pair of thick rolls. Her tank top barely covered any of it, occupied as it was with her plumper chest; overtaxed lace underwear pinched into her plush hips. “Everyone here sucks. Screw all of you, screw your dead-end town, and screw your dumb, repetitive little lives.”

She slid off the creaking bed, shivering in the draft and trying in vain to pull the tank top down over her midsection.

“I had an awesome life ahead of me,” she continued, getting dressed. “That conference I was on my way to? I had an interview scheduled there—with Silver Key. Big damn corporation with lots of fingers in lots of pies…”

She tugged on the sweater-dress. It had shortened considerably, hanging only to her hips, hugging her burgeoning muffin-top and barely covering her backside. The dimple of her deepened navel could be seen in the fabric and the knit pattern made her chest look even larger than it had become.

“I was climbing the ladder. I was a hot commodity. Big-shots wanted me selling their products to young people. I could have gone anywhere I wanted. Happily ever after.”

She managed to shimmy her leggings up around her thickened thighs. They had originally been a few sizes too large for her, but now she’d more than grown into them. She stepped into her boots and threw open the door: the paisley wallpaper of the hotel hallway stared back at her.

“But instead, I don’t get to be anywhere but here.” She took a long, shaky breath. “Forever."

The radio voices continued, grating against her brain. She gritted her teeth.

"That's it. If I have to be miserable...so does everyone else."

She padded over to Room 239 and rapped on its door until the businessman opened up.

“167?” she wailed, kicking the scale away. “I’ve let things get that bad? How long have I been stuck here?”

The businessman stared with his usual, dopey confusion.

Renee pulled up her sweater and bounced her doughy gut in her hands. “I worked so hard on my diet before I got here…before all this…I thought it would level out, now that I’ve gotten used to things—if it’s even possible to get used to something like this—but nope, turns out I’m just getting fat.”

“I, uh, I don’t think you’re fat,” the man ventured, wringing his hands.

“That’s because you and your wife are still twice my size,” she muttered under her breath, turning to the door. She paused, though, rolling her eyes, and spun around. “You really think so, mister?”

He coughed. “You’re…very pretty, if that’s what you’re so…upset about. I mean, I don’t mean to…uh…you just seem…”

“What’s your name?” she asked, flashing her doe-eyes and tiptoeing toward him.

“Uh, it’s—”

“Wait,” she purred. “Don’t tell me. I love the mystery.” She put her hand on his chest and pushed gently, leading him to sit on the edge of his bed. “You really think I’m pretty?”

“Y-yes,” he managed.

“You’re so sweet. I want to thank you.” She leaned over him, sweater-bound bosom in his face, laying a finger on his lips. After a deep breath, she stepped back with a coy smile. “And I will. But…not while your wife is around. If I come back tonight, will you be alone?”

He swallowed, blushing. “I…can be. If that’s…if that’s what you…want.”

“I do.” She pursed her lips. “At eight I will knock on that door, ready to thank you properly.”

“I’ll be here,” he stammered.

“Good. Don’t wear anything. Just be ready for me. I hate wasting time.” She arched her back with a sultry breath, opened the door, and slammed it behind her.

Back in the hallway, she took a moment to pull the sweater back over her stomach and push the hair from her face.

She shook her head and made her way toward the elevator. “I am stuck here,” she sighed, “and stuck here with just the stupidest people…”

Checking her watch, she timed her arrival at the hotel breakfast for the precise moment when a fresh batch of pancakes was brought out. Renee pushed over a pitcher of water; the subsequent commotion of the cook slipping in it distracted the other guests long enough for her to sneak into line first.

She piled pancakes on her plate, tonging up over half the tray. Overhearing a voice across the room mentioning how eagerly someone was looking forward to the hotel’s signature ‘flapjacks’ and how they’d made sure to stop at this hotel for them, Renee shrugged and took the rest of the tray.

Though she’d grown more accustomed to large meals during her time in town, there was no way she could consume the entire tray of pancakes. She forced down as many as she could, though, answering the other guests’ disgusted glares with spiteful, syrup-dripping grins. Phil gaped from behind the front desk, ignoring the courtesy phone’s desperate ringing.

Renee shoved pancakes down her throat until she was too full to sit up properly. Slouching back in her chair, she stifled a long burp and massaged her glutted stomach, rounding out the sweater.

Her eyes bulged and her belly gurgled; it was filled to the brim both with pancakes and vindictiveness. “If I don’t get to be happy,” Renee groaned to herself, belching, “nobody here gets to be happy. You were looking forward to your favorite flapjacks? Yeah, well, I was looking forward to getting on with my damn life. Now neither of us gets what we want. And dammit, Phil, quit—urrp—quit staring at me…creep.”

After a short food coma, she walked gingerly out of the hotel and wandered the parking lot, absently rubbing her gut. She counted the cars, bouncing her finger through the air.

“Three down from the pickup truck…the red coupe? No, it was the station wagon. Aha, hi there.”

The station wagon was unlocked—the couple in Room 169 paid little attention to such things—and Renee nonchalantly opened the back door. A cloth shopping bag was folded on the seat; she opened it up and deftly placed inside it the six-pack of craft beer left in the trunk.

She popped the cap from a bottle, sniffed it, and took a long pull as she walked out toward the town square. The home brew was bitterer than she liked, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.

She’d tested that on many occasions. Once, maybe ten pounds ago—or perhaps fifteen, since it was before she’d switched from her bra to her bralette—she’d gone about the day totally naked. After a frigid walk into town, she’d quickly been arrested, but the captivated stares and dropped jaws had been worth the trouble. She’d woken the next morning back in her room, back in her tank top and underwear, and not a soul remembered Lady Godiva’s procession.

It was all too easy to act outrageously and garner attention anywhere she went. She was an obvious out-of-towner who attracted a lot of eyes to begin with. Once she’d acclimated to the daily patterns and habits, though, it became just as easy to go unnoticed, almost unseen, if she so chose. This invisibility, emboldened by the lack of consequences for being discovered, allowed her to learn many of the town’s secrets.

Renee sipped at her second beer in the parking lot behind the Burger Bunker, watching as two of the fry-cooks snuck away to make out in a car. The guy was short and pimple-faced; the girl was tall and athletic. She was the diner waitress’ niece.

Renee had learned that they’d both elected to stay in town rather than go off to college. She’d learned that they aspired to little more than getting by and getting laid; she’d learned that they were both still in committed relationships with other people.

She’d learned that, while they were snogging in the car, no one was watching the store. This usually wasn’t a problem, since the lunch rush wouldn’t start filtering in for another half hour. Renee wandered inside, slinging her bag over her shoulder and setting her empty beer bottle on the counter. Whistling to herself, she pocketed all the money from the cash register, unplugged several of the appliances, jammed the ice dispenser’s lever, filled up a carton of French fries, and departed.

“That should give you lovebirds something to do,” she mused, popping a fry in her mouth and heading up the street, “since you’re apparently so bored all the time.”

She’d learned that, at midday, the mousy librarian would get a visit from her fiancé that would quickly deteriorate into a loud argument. He didn’t want her going to some party, apparently, due to her propensity for having too much fun and frequently losing her clothes.

Renee had learned, though, that the possessive fiancé could be intercepted on his way into the library with news that his beloved muscle car was being towed. She’d learned how responsive the tow company was to reports that someone had illegally parked in a handicap zone.

She found some small joy in learning the town’s secrets. She’d learned about the barber’s stash of baseball cards and how hilariously he would react to their theft, she’d learned about the police chief’s stash of sex toys and how to ensure his wife discovered them, she’d learned about several extramarital affairs and how to expose them, she’d learned about the weak point in the midwinter festival’s giant ice sculpture and how to bring it crashing down.

She’d learned that, just after noon, the big-bosomed girl in the dress shop would take her lunch break in the back room. The girl seemed unaware that she could be seen through a ground-level window, or perhaps never expected anyone to be in the alley behind the shop at that time.

It allowed Renee to watch, working through another bottle, as the girl peeled off her top in front of a changing mirror and studied her own reflection. She squeezed and massaged her disproportionately large chest, biting her lip and closing her eyes, some unknown fantasy in her head. Despite her otherwise fairly slim figure, she sported beneath her sagging breasts a faint beer gut; she traced her fingers over its supple curve as her hand made its way into her soon unzipped pants.

Renee drained her beer and tossed the bottle behind her. It shattered on the cement, ripping the dress-shop girl from her rapturous reverie. She frantically pulled on her shirt and peered out the window in horror, but Renee had disappeared around the corner.

The town center was growing a little noisy. People were shouting at one another in the street—some confluence of events had triggered several arguments at once—and a pair of police cruisers were stopped in front of the Burger Bunker. Renee giggled and made her way up to the park.

Finishing the six pack, she lounged on her favorite park bench and savored the swirling haze in her head. Her belly burbled and she wished, for a moment, that she’d stolen more fries.

The jogging man interrupted her, as always. She blinked at him as he attempted to flirt, waiting for her eyes to focus and allowing herself a languid smile.

“I mean, I think chubby chicks can still be hot,” he was saying. He was a terrible liar, but his odd desperation to connect with an outsider lent him an air of earnestness.

Renee bristled a little, but only responded by stifling a belch.

“So, uh,” he asked at length, “what are you doing for dinner?”

She got to her feet, keeping an arm on the backrest to steady herself. “I’ve got plans at somebody’s house. But afterward…if you’re still interested…I might be hungry for some dessert.”

“Oh yeah?”

She flashed him a tipsy, mischievous grin. “I’m in room 23…9 at the hotel. Knock on my door at eight and…mm, be ready for something you won’t forget.”

Suave exterior straining to conceal his glee, he repeated the time and address and jogged off. Renee pushed off the bench, nearly slipping in a pile of slush, and weaved her way back toward town.

She’d learned that, despite the diner waitress’ claims, the best cook in town was in fact the mayor’s husband. It was her birthday and her doting spouse would surprise her after a long day of festival preparations with a candlelit dinner for two, set up on a small table in their living room.

As lovely as the meal was and as much as she adored her husband, the festival took precedence in the mayor’s head. When Renee knocked on the door of the rustic manor home and informed her that the ice sculpture in the square had somehow collapsed, the mayor urged her husband to start the car and they rushed off, leaving their celebratory meal untouched.

Renee plopped herself down at the little table. Before her waited an elegantly crafted steak dinner, both plates arranged with the meticulous aesthetic of a five-star restaurant. The long candle flickered as a centerpiece next to an expensive bottle of wine.

“Since we’ll never get to my birthday,” she sighed, cutting into the steak, “happy birthday to me.”

She dispatched the first plate with ease. All the walking had awakened her appetite and the alcohol dulled her sense of fullness. Pouring herself a glass of wine, she loosed a long belch and reached for the other plate.

The second plate took a bit longer, but soon she had wiped it clean. She pushed it away, pressed a hand to her chest, and hiccupped.

A smell wafted to her nostrils: smoke. She twisted around in the chair, wincing as the motion contorted her stuffed gut.

“He left his dessert in the oven,” she remembered, draining her glass. “Shoot. Guess I’ll be getting dessert…somewhere else.”

She rose, swaying momentarily, and massaged the pangs of fullness in her belly. Grabbing the wine bottle, she strutted out of the house, leaving the front door hanging open.

Staggering between parked cars, Renee was nearly to the hotel when the jogging man burst out from an emergency exit, one hand clutching his bundled shirt, the other holding up his unbuckled pants. His bright red face glanced around in paranoid terror and he sprinted away into the night.

Renee hiccupped. “Told you it would be un…unforgettable.”

Draining the last of the wine, she tottered back against the hood of a car. She turned and smashed the bottle on the windshield; the car erupted with a wailing siren.

“Shut up,” Renee slurred. “You can cry all you want, you can—hic!—you can make all that noise and flash all those lights, but you’ll never get out of here…hulp!”

She stumbled across the lot, pausing to pick up a rock and hurl it at another windshield. She missed and lost her footing; her drunken momentum carried her to a snowbank and she collapsed into it.

Guests were filtering out from the hotel, hoping to quiet the blaring car alarm. A second siren wailed in the distance as fire trucks headed toward the mayor’s house.

“Call the—hic!—call the police!” Renee sang, hoisting up her middle finger. “I’m a menace to so…society!” She thrashed uselessly in the snowbank. “I’ll tear this whole place apart. Your only hope is to—hup!—to get me as far away from here as you can!”

The guests murmured, backing away. “Looks like she’s had a rough day,” said one.

“What the hell is all this?” shouted another. “You want to go to jail, lady?”

Renee gazed up at the stars, dancing overhead. She hiccupped. “I’m…already there.”

02-19-2018, 02:34 PM
Really like seeing the progression of her outgrowing her clothes.

02-23-2018, 09:00 AM
Chapter 5

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing stretchmarked flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams. She felt her chin crease as she yawned.

She pushed herself up, ignoring the voices that filtered through the wall. She sat still a while, bedraggled hair in her face, belly pooching onto her lap, wondering if there was any point in leaving the room.

Boredom soon spurred her out of bed, though. She’d spent enough days hiding in the hotel room recently, lying in a listless funk. Ruining the townsfolks’ days and wreaking havoc had quickly lost its thrill when, no matter how appalled they’d been or how much they’d lost and been hurt, the locals greeted her with the same innocent, cheery dispositions the next morning. It was hard to enjoy hurting anyone so quick to forgive and there was little point in burning a building only to find it unharmed come dawn.

She’d run out of television to watch. The hotel only received a handful of channels and she couldn’t bring herself to sit through any more repeats. It was time for something new, assuming there was anything new to try.

The sweater-dress was now only a sweater, not entirely able to reach her waistband around her engorged midsection. Checking herself in the mirror, Renee found that if she turned one way or the other it would ride up and reveal one of her lovehandles.

“That’s new,” she grumbled, trying to straighten the bunched-up fabric. She considered bothering the man next door for his scale, but decided she wasn’t ready to see how close to two hundred she’d grown. It seemed unfair, to look so plump at so low a number, but her short stature made everything she gained more apparent.

Most of the weight had settled in her greedy stomach, with allowances for her now much heavier bosom and softened chin. The rest of her had certainly thickened, but her abdomen’s growth had far eclipsed the wobbling of her thighs, the doughy bounce in her rear, and the cherubic roundness of her cheeks. Her slender overcoat would no longer button; her leggings were somehow holding on, though stretched to translucence.

She wasn’t thrilled with the development, still clinging to the vain hope she might eventually return to her old life and her old figure, but found herself at the diner for breakfast anyway, stuffing her face with fluffy eggs and wheedling the waitress for extra bacon, a free slice of pie, and a doughnut for the road.

The sweater continued trying to ride up as she trudged uphill to the college. She avoided her usual pit stop at the park bench, unwilling to listen to the jogging man’s desperate flirtation, and found herself flushed and panting by the time she reached campus.

She ducked into the student store, catching her breath and picking out some snacks. The specialty pop she’d come in for was on the top rack of the cooler and as she reached overhead her waistband slid down and her sweater slipped up. Closing the door, the reflection in the glass displayed her exposed stomach: an undeniable pot belly, swollen with fat.

After a moment’s shock she tucked it all back in, at least as much as the breakfast she’d had would allow. She regretted allowing herself to grow so indulgent, but couldn’t talk herself out of grabbing a few candy bars on her way to the register.

The cashier was telling a co-worker, again, about his seemingly unrequited love for a “Theresa.” She was captivatingly beautiful, apparently, with a backside ‘you wouldn’t’ believe,’ but had systematically rebuffed his every overture.

“Theresa’s a lesbian,” said Renee, handing him a wad of cash.

He choked. “Who—how—”

“At 9:15 tonight she meets up with a cute punk girl at the bar in town. They bond over tequila while complaining about men like you.”

The cashier stared.

Renee rolled her eyes. She unwrapped a candy bar and bit into it as she sauntered out of the shop, reaching back to pull up on the waistband of her leggings.

In the union, the cluster of nerdier students had gathered for their card game. A pair of them were deciding who next should have to take on the day’s thus far undefeated champion: Abby, the wispy blonde from the art installation.

Renee appeared behind the boys’ couch, stomach squishing against the backrest. “Could I try?” she asked between bites of candy.

A neckbearded student looked up at her. “Oh, uh…do you have a deck?”

“Well, no,” she admitted, swallowing. “I’m stuck in town thanks to the snowstorm and figured I could use the time to, uh, learn something new.”

Abby finally looked up from Renee’s gut, wiping her glasses. “We can teach you the basics, sure. George, loan her your deck.”


“You’re always complaining there aren’t enough girls playing this game.”

Renee rounded the couch and plopped herself down between George and his fat roommate. They stiffened and tried to make more room for her.

They shuffled a deck for her, haltingly explaining the game’s byzantine rules, interrupting one another with contradictory advice. Abby shook her head at them and readied her own deck, casting an occasional glance at Renee’s midsection.

Eventually Renee was looking at a hand of cards, showing war-torn landscapes and musclebound, spell-slinging combatants. The two boys argued over which card to tell her to play first until Abby finally spoke up to explain how the cards worked and Renee ventured to choose one on her own.

The artist beat her handily, needing only half a dozen turns to wipe Renee’s meager forces from the battlefield.

“Sorry,” Abby offered in her reedy voice. “I get carried away sometimes.”

George chuckled. “She once beat me in two turns. Sometimes it’s just the cards you draw.”

Renee shrugged. “Well, it was my first time. But the basics are at least making sense. If I play again, I won’t feel totally blind.”

In the union, the cluster of nerdier students had gathered for their card game. George and his roommate were discussing who next should take on the undefeated Abby.

Renee appeared behind the boys’ couch, stomach squishing against the backrest. “Could I try?” she asked, taking a bite from a large cookie.

George looked up at her. “Oh, uh…do you have a deck?”

“Well, no,” she admitted, swallowing. “I haven’t actually played much. But I know some of the basics and I thought this might be a good chance to…practice.”

Abby slowly looked up from Renee’s gut, wiping her glasses. “Always nice to see new girls getting into the game. We can give you some tips as we play, too. George, loan her your deck.”

Renee rounded the couch and plopped herself down between George and his fat roommate, reaching around to keep her backside from spilling out of her leggings. The boys stiffened and tried to make more room for her.

They shuffled a deck for her and warned her about Abby’s skill level. Renee ignored them and drew her first hand: as she’d hoped, it contained the same seven cards she’d been dealt the day before.

“Ready?” asked Abby, glancing from her own cards to Renee’s midsection.

“I think so. We’ll see if I remember how this works.”

She remembered more than she expected. Drawing the same familiar cards helped, as did the forewarning on tactical follies to avoid. She survived over a dozen rounds before succumbing to Abby’s superior play, earning impressed nods from the boys.

Abby swept up her cards. “That was pretty good for a newbie with a borrowed deck.”

“Thanks,” Renee beamed, pulling another cookie from her bag. “It felt pretty close for a while.”

“It was. But eventually, you would have somehow needed to know what cards I was drawing to prevent that last combo.”

Renee leaned back and bit into the cookie. Her sweater rode up again and she noticed Abby’s eyes dart to the suddenly exposed roll of belly. “Well, we can’t all predict the future…but practice makes perfect.”

“Unbelievable,” Abby exclaimed, throwing up her hands. “It’s like she knows every card I’m about to play.”

Renee innocently pursed her lips. “I guess I just got lucky. Did I win?”

“Yeah, you won,” laughed George. “You beat the local champ…with a borrowed deck.”

“Oh, gosh. Wow.”

Abby grimaced, glaring at the ceiling. “I don’t understand what I did wrong. She saw everything coming…and I just felt so, like, distracted the whole time.”

Renee grinned. She’d allowed her sweater to ride up almost to her navel when she sat and, pretending not to notice, had left her belly-roll exposed for the duration of the game. Abby had spent more time looking at it than she had at the cards. “We all get distracted sometimes.”

“Where’d you learn to play like that?” asked George.

“Oh, uh, some guys like yourselves taught me. It was a place just like this, actually.” She reached for her large bag of potato chips, frowning at finding it empty. “Anyone else hungry?”

“I just ate,” George replied. His roommate shrugged, shuffling a new deck.

Abby stared as Renee poured the chip crumbs into her mouth. “I’ll come. Can I buy you lunch in exchange for your…game secrets?”

George cocked an eyebrow. “You just ate with us.”

“Yeah, but…I guess I’m feeling…peckish?”

The basement of the student union housed a small deli and grill. Abby ordered herself a grilled cheese, acting as though it were a taboo excess; Renee ordered herself a huge, greasy patty melt, a side of fries, a basket of onion rings, and a large pop.

She was still full from an extensive breakfast, a mid-morning snack, and the bag of chips, but a display of appetite had proven the most consistent way to keep Abby’s fickle attention.

The artist’s awed eyes followed her wobbling belly as Renee brought her piled-high tray to their table.

“The stuff here’s pretty good,” she ventured. “I don’t come down here often enough.”

Renee nodded, sorting her meal. “I’m looking forward to it.” She bit into the sandwich and chewed thoughtfully. “You’re not gonna eat yours?”

“I…I mean, I did already eat.”

“So? I already ate, too.” She continued to eat again while Abby twisted in her chair.

“Yeah, I just…it’s weird, with me.”

Renee set down her sandwich. “I’ve been wondering about that.”

“About what?”

“You’re the artist, right? You did that installation across the quad.”

Abby paled. “You’ve seen it? I didn’t think they opened it yet.”

“I’ve seen it. And I read all the little plaques and your statement and everything, but I still don’t get it.” She sucked at her pop. “I’m not much of an art critic, but there’s more to that project than just being provocative and weird.”

“I dunno, it was just supposed to make people, uh, think about stuff. Get a visceral reaction. I didn’t think about it all that much…I was late and had to rush the final version.”

Renee shook her head. “Why have you been staring at my tummy, then?”

“What? I—”

“It’s okay. It happens a lot. I’ve put on…I’ve put on some weight recently and haven’t been able to change the wardrobe. My gut sticks out. It’s easy to notice. I get a lot of looks. But your look…I don’t get a lot of looks like yours.” She grabbed her stomach and bounced it, watching Abby trying to keep her eyes level. “What’s going on in your head?”

Abby looked away. “What do you care?”

Renee tossed her sandwich down. “Because I’ve been trapped in this town longer than I would ever want to be stuck anywhere and for some reason I keep coming back to your weird art project. I go in there all the time and just stare at it.”

“It’s only been in place for a couple days…”

“And there’s the food thing. There’s something about me and food, ever since I came here. Seventy pounds, Abby. Look at me—this is all new. I just want to understand.”

“I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

Renee rubbed the bridge of her nose. “I know. I’m sorry. Just please…please talk to me about your…art.” She shoved the rest of the sandwich into her mouth to keep from rambling further.

Abby took a long breath. “The project…is about the things we make ourselves ignore.” She waved her hands, searching for words. “The hungers we hide away. There are things we want in life so badly, things that could bring us closer to other people in amazing ways, but we always have to worry about what it would mean for tomorrow, what happens when you wake up from that wonderful dream. There’s so much we leave undone…un-enjoyed at the end of every day.””

Renee reached for her fries.

“That figure at the end of the gallery, she’s got what she wants and it doesn’t matter. We all want to be her. She’s so satisfied. That’s what’s so fascinating to me. There’s something so special—so sensual—about the idea of taking what you want from the world while it’s there in front of you, leaving nothing on the table, overcoming that fear of the future…”

“Living like there’s no tomorrow,” Renee realized. “Well…eating like there’s no tomorrow.”

Abby shrugged. “Something like that. I didn’t think it through all the way…it just felt right.”

“It does, for some reason.” She stifled a burp. “Look, in the spirit of ‘leaving nothing on the table,’ if you’re not gonna eat that, I guess I will.”

02-24-2018, 12:31 AM
Like the variance in how the clothing fits as time goes on.

Sweater Dress to Sweater...soon to be relegated to Sweater-Midriff Shirt

Loose Tights to Fitting...to Translucent...soon to be Low riders under the Belly Apron...

Wondering when she finds a way to escape the time loop...Maybe when the Green Dress fits w/o alteration....who knows? Waiting for the next installment...

02-28-2018, 09:44 AM
Really loving this story, looking forward to the next part!

03-01-2018, 09:47 AM
Chapter 6

The clock flickered to 7:00.

Renee rolled over, shielding her eyes from the morning sun. Cheap motel sheets slipped off her as she turned, exposing pudgy flesh to a wintry draft that chased away any hope of returning to her dreams. Her stomach bulged out onto the mattress, wholly uncontained by her tank top.

The voices from the radio next door barely registered in her mind, fading into background obscurity like the wintry breeze against the window or the creaking of the bed as Renee sat up.

Her first order of business was to peel off her panties. The lace pinched her painfully in several places and left reddened creases in her flesh for a while after its removal. The tank top had to go, as well; it now covered very little of her fattened chest and its straps cut into the softness around her shoulders and back.

The underwear situation had become a problem as Renee rocketed past two hundred pounds. Her breasts had grown too swollen and too obvious to leave out of a bra without attracting stares everywhere she went and her lower body had thickened enough that her poor leggings were entirely transparent over the vital areas.

The leggings only added themselves to the problem that day, however; as she wriggled and shimmied to pull them over her wobbling thighs, they split open with a heartbreaking tear.

They’d split many times before, but usually waited until the end of the day, when she was getting up after a long meal. Now they had surrendered even to her empty morning stomach. Renee solemnly tossed aside their tattered remains, thanking them for their long service.

There was little use in trying on the sweater, either. The last time she’d forced it over her ponderous chest, it had barely reached her navel, showing off the whole lower half of her belly and the rolls of her spare tire. She rifled through her luggage, but the rest of her wardrobe was even tighter, designed for the petite figure of her former life.

“Time to go up a size,” she acquiesced, wrapping herself in a bathtowel.

She knocked on room 239’s door until the half-shaven businessman opened up, blinking with his usual confusion.

“How much for some of your wife’s clothes?” Renee asked flatly, proffering her purse.


“I want to buy some bigger clothes. She won’t notice if a few items wander off for a day. Just name a price. I’ve got…look, let’s just say I’ve got infinite money.”

She borrowed his scale while he shuffled over to the wife’s suitcase.

“228,” she read, whistling. “That’s a hundred pounds since I first came to town…I’m amazed my stuff fit as long as it did.”

The man handed her a bundle of clothing. “There’s a top and a skirt there. They might be a little big for you, though.” He let himself chuckle. “You’re worried about being over two hundred; my old lady’s still over three. These are her ‘goal clothes’ and all, but, still…”

Renee held the pale blouse to her chest. “It’ll probably hang a little loose, yeah…for now. I’m short on underthings, too…what’s her cup size?”

He blanched. “Maybe an F, I think? Is that how those work? I don’t know the number thing…”

“Just hand me one.” Renee peeked under her towel at her heavier bosom to compare. “Huh. Thought she’d be bigger, but I guess she put more in her ass.”

The man began to nod, but caught himself.

“It’ll be tight, but it’s something,” she decided. “Guess I’ll try it today and see how things go. Haven’t been totally presentable in a while.” She headed for the door. “Thanks, Mr. Ballard.”

“How did you—”

Renee had forgotten the relief of loose-fitting clothing. The blouse hung off the slope of her jutting bosom and billowed cumbersomely past her midsection; she managed to establish some control by tucking it into the waistband of the skirt. The skirt, fit for someone with eighty more pounds of backside, required some creative pleating and a dedicated belt. Eventually, with the help of her spare tire’s circumference, she was able to keep the skirt from sliding off with each step.

The baggy ensemble almost made her feel petite again, at least relatively. It had been a while since she could move without actively holding down her sweater in an effort to keep her belly from exhibiting itself at every opportunity. Renee twirled in front of the hotel mirror, enjoying all the room her new outfit offered: room to grow.

Reveling in the comfort, she couldn’t help but smile as she emerged into the lobby. Phil looked up from his computer at the front desk and gave her a polite greeting. Typically, when seeing her for the first time, his eyes would linger briefly on Renee’s gut. Now that it was somewhat concealed, he could only squint vaguely, as though trying to guess at her actual size.

“Anything I can help you with, ma’am?” he ventured. “If you’re looking to check out, you might—”

She held up a pudgy hand. “Snow. Yes. I know. Listen, Phil, are you seeing anyone right now?”

He stiffened, eyeing her. “I…what? Um. Uh, no.” He glanced around, trying to remain professional.

“Hm. What’s your type? What do you like?” She leaned against the counter. “You have a thing? Everyone here seems to have a thing.”

“Ma’am, I…I’m at work. This—”

Renee rolled her eyes. “Same excuse, every time. It is so hard to build rapport with someone who forgets you every morning.” She tapped the countertop and headed for the door. “I’ll ask a little more subtly tomorrow. Maybe if I try later in the day, when you’re bored and lonely, you’ll be a little more open to chatting.”

He stared. Renee paused, reaching the door, and turned back.

“Look, at least tell me your favorite color or something.”

“Green?” he stammered.

“Green,” she repeated, tapping her temple. “I’ll have another question for you tomorrow. Be ready.”

“Tomorrow’s my day off. I won’t be—”

“Oh, you’ll be here.”

The new clothes were a long overdue blessing. There were far fewer eyes than usual staring at her as she entered the diner and the waitress’ judgmental expression reverted to her usual cheery welcome. Even after she’d gotten herself good and stuffed on breakfast, Renee found she could still move comfortably within the obese woman’s outfit.

Stifling a belch, she scanned the diner’s elaborate menu. She’d been working her way through its myriad waffle options in order, evaluating each individual dish on the menu by eating as much of it in one sitting as she could. Today she had finally completed the page of waffles and, despite the fullness in her belly, salivated at the thought of starting her quest through the pancake list tomorrow.

“How was everything?” asked the waitress, eyes agape at her empty plates. “Did you enjoy your first visit to our humble little dive?”

“It was very satisfying,” Renee replied.

“Glad to hear it. We certainly hope to see you again sometime.”

Renee pushed herself gingerly out of the booth. “You can count on it. I’ve still got four pages of menu to get through.”

Carrying her stomach in her hands, she made her way up the street toward the village square. There she sat massaging her indigestion and watching absently as the mayor oversaw preparations for the festival. Renee could only wonder what the event held in store; the opening ceremonies were always sparsely attended and most activities were scheduled for the Saturday that never came.

Once the gurgling in her gut had receded, she rose and meandered toward the shops. She glanced up and down the street, bouncing her finger along the various storefronts in a game of eenie-meenie-miney-moe. At the last syllable her finger landed on the record store. She fluffed the ringlets of her hair, checked her makeup in a nearby window, and headed inside.

The usual awful song blared overhead. The spiky-haired cashier nodded at Renee and resumed doodling in his sketchpad. As she approached, Renee could make out a detailed drawing of a jellyfish floating through space.

“Hi, there,” she said, clearing her throat.

“Help you find something?” he droned, without looking up.

“I just have some questions, actually.” She folded her arms. “What’s your favorite band?”

He scoffed and jerked a thumb toward the stereo. “They’re playing right now.”

She shook her head at the tinny screaming. “No, that’s the band you want people to associate you with so you’ll seem cool. We all have one of those. I wanna know the one band you really connect with on, like, a personal and emotional level…the one you listen to when you’re home alone.”

He eyed her.

“Not here to judge. I’m just curious.”

“Alright. You’re from out of town, I assume. I’ll probably never see you again…guess I’ll play.” He leaned in close. “The Sybarites. I know folk seems a little out of character in a store like this, but, hey.”

Renee nodded, desperately trying not to laugh. “And what is it about them?”

“I don’t know. The lyrics really spoke to me when I was younger. That song, the ‘feast of the elves,’ you know? I used to hide under the covers and listen to that, dreaming I was in some far-off world, finally allowed to do whatever I wanted…”

“Sure, sure. Sybarites. Feast of the elves. Dreams. Got it.” She tapped her temple. “So, uh…did you grow up here in town?”

“I…yeah, I’ve been here my whole life.” He frowned, gazing into the distance. “I almost got out. Had my heart set on going to school out of state…applied to Thalia University, thought if I could get in the conservatory there I could be a real musician. But I couldn’t afford it, so here I am, selling fake punk.”

Renee glanced around the store, mouthing some of his words back to herself.

“Anything else?” he asked, a defensive arch in his eyebrows.

“That’s it for now. But I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Renee fluffed the ringlets of her hair, checked her makeup in a nearby window, and headed inside the record store.

The same awful song blared overhead. The spiky-haired cashier nodded at Renee and resumed doodling in his sketchpad. As she approached, Renee could make out the jellyfish drawing.

“Hi, there,” she said, clearing her throat.

“Help you find something?” he droned, without looking up.

“I’m looking for something by the, uh, Sybarites, actually.” She folded her arms. “You know them?”

His head shot up. “I…didn’t think anyone else did. Do…do you like them?”

She feigned shock. “More than anything. I don’t know what it is.” She gazed wistfully into the distance. “Their lyrics really spoke to me when I was younger. That song, the ‘feast of the elves,’ you know? I used to hide under the covers and listen to that, dreaming I was in some far-off world, finally allowed to do whatever I wanted.”

The cashier nodded, jaw dropping in amazement. “I know exactly what you mean.”

“I wrote a paper on it, actually. I…” She paused, fighting back a wince. The pancakes—she’d beaten her previous record that morning—were sitting heavy in her gut. “When I was studying at Thalia—”

His eyes bulged. “You went to Thalia?”

“Mm-hmm. It was expensive, but it was worth it to get away from all the—shoot, what was it?—all the fake punk out there.”

“Wow. Just wow. You…” He laughed to himself. “Listen, I know we just met, but…would you, um…”

She leaned against the counter, batting her eyelashes. “Would I what?”

Renee buttoned her blouse and peeked out through the blinds. The snowfall had resumed as the afternoon gave way to evening.

The cashier rolled off the desk and reached for his pants. “Wow,” he panted. “Just wow.”

They had thoroughly wrecked the record store’s office. The chair was broken, frames had fallen from the walls, and files littered the floor around where the pair had swept the desktop clean.

“Definitely,” Renee purred, basking in the afterglow. “And listen, don’t worry about your commitment issues…this was fun, but you’re not going to remember me in the morning, anyway.”

He fumbled with his shirt. “What?”

“Nevermind. Just…thanks for a good time.” She lifted her gut to tuck in her blouse.

“Pff. Thank you. It’s like…you knew everything I would like.” He blew out a long breath. “You’re not just gonna leave, are you?”

She tucked the blouse into her skirt. “I have dinner plans.”

“Can I see you again sometime?”

“Maybe. I’m working my way through the menu, so it’ll be a while before I get back around to you. But, hey…I’ve got all the time in the world, and you’re not going anywhere.” She pulled him over for one last kiss. “Anyway, thanks for helping me work up an appetite.”

At the far end of the square, illuminated by a flickering neon sign, waited a roadside bar. Renee had initially ventured inside to explore their purported selection of over a hundred craft beers, only to catch sight of the large poster over the kitchen door.

The bar’s kitchen had a short menu. Renee had already tried everything it offered—every dish but one.

“Tell me about this ‘belt-buster’ challenge,” she shouted over the din of the Friday-night crowd.

The barrel-chest bartender cocked an eyebrow. “Something my cook came up with to make fun of gullible tourists. It’s a burger the size of your head, with enough fixin’s to insulate a house and served on a bed of chili-cheese fries. It’s, like, fifteen pounds of food.”

Renee pondered the image on the poster. “It says, if you finish it, you get your picture on the wall, but…I’m not seeing any pictures.”


She took a deep breath. “Alrighty. Well, tell your cook there’s a gullible tourist in town.”

Renee groaned. Her eyes shifted in and out of focus. When she finally forced them downward, she found that there was still half a burger and most of a pile of fries sitting on the table in front of her.

The burger was stacked with several thick patties and multiple thick layers of cheeses and sauces, forming a wavering, greasy tower, now half-eaten. The tower leaned to the left, then to the right, then toppled forward.

Renee slumped back in her booth, defeated. Her distended stomach howled miserably and her forehead glistened with sweat. Flushed cheeks puffed out as she stifled a painful burp.

The bartender sauntered over and took her platter. “If it’s any consolation, you made it further than most folks.”

Renee hiccupped. “I’ll just have to…try again sometime. Practice makes…practice makes per—hic!—fect.”

“Well, there’s the catch. The one rule is that you only get to try it once.”

She watched him disappear into the kitchen. “Nah. Hic-urrrp. If at first you don’t succeed…”

03-02-2018, 01:23 AM
I like everything about this; the relative realism (once you accept one specific conceit), the generally positive tone, the personal point of view, and above all the sense of indulgence and hedonism.

Benny Mon
03-02-2018, 05:51 PM
I love where this is going - how we get to explore a different part of town each time, or revisit a familiar character in greater depth. Watching Renee tweak the knobs of this world and see what happens really is lots of fun.

03-03-2018, 01:00 PM
I love all your stories, Marlow, and this is a favourite. Hope you update again soon.

Matt L.
03-09-2018, 01:05 AM
This is such a wonderful creative story!

Cheers, Matt

03-10-2018, 09:52 PM
Thanks for your feedback! Glad folks are enjoying things.

Chapter 7

Renee moaned. Her eyes shifted in and out of focus. When she finally forced them to look down, she found that the plate before her was entirely empty.

All that remained of the belt-buster challenge was the French fry in her hand, dripping with cheese. Renee held it up for all to see, winked, and wolfed it down.

She reclined back in her booth, triumphant. Her tautly distended stomach swelled out against her blouse, gurgling happily, smooth and round as the burger’s bun, and she calmly folded her hands atop it. Her enormous chest heaved and she let loose a long belch.

The assembled crowd broke into applause. The bar’s cook, a scraggly young man in an apron, furtively wiped away a tear.

“You did it,” gasped the bartender. “No one’s ever even come close, but you finished it.”

Renee rubbed her gut. “Better get your camera.”

The cook stepped forward. “I just want to say…that was incredible.”

“Well, I do love a good challenge.” She smirked. “I’ve become something of an overachiever.”

Renee groaned. Her eyes had been squeezed shut as she fought off another bout of brainfreeze; when she finally opened them, she found that the enormous bowl before her was empty.

All that remained of the ice cream parlor’s birthday special—the ‘banana split trough’—was the spoonful of melted vanilla in her hand. Renee held it up for all to see, winked, and slurped it down.

She slouched over the counter, plush backside spilling over the edges of her stool like ice cream over the edge of a cone. She stifled a burp.

The mesmerized crowd stared. A child celebrating his birthday watched in awe; his group of friends had scarcely finished half of the trough they’d ordered.

“She’s gonna be so hyper,” he whispered to his appalled mother.

“Just ignore her,” replied the mother, averting her gaze; Renee had reached under her blouse to massage her swollen belly.

The boy couldn’t look away. “Mom says too much sugar can make you fat,” he offered.

“Honey,” the mother hissed, “don’t be rude.”

Renee grinned. “Your mom might be right. Better give me the rest of yours to be safe.”

Renee grunted. Her eyes lingered on the pizza palace’s menu and she wondered if it was too late to order cheese sticks. Gazing back down, she found that the broad aluminum tray before her was empty.

All that remained of the Extra-Large-Extra-Everything-Extreme-Pizza was the crust of her final slice. Renee held it up for all to see, winked, and shoved it into her mouth.

She turned and lounged back on the little plastic chairs of the waiting area. White creases were appearing on the chair-legs. Renee’s stomach rose before her like dough, filling her head with a new idea. “How big are your calzones?” she asked.

The assembled cooks and delivery drivers shook their heads in disbelief. The phone rang behind them, unheard.

“Usually the snowy days are so dull,” mused a driver.

“That was the double-stuffed crust,” marveled a cook.

Renee rubbed her belly. “For a double-stuffed gut.”

“You’re…you’re not serious about the calzone, right?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.” She glanced at the menu, then back at one of the drivers. “Might take it to-go, though. Any of you delivery boys think you can fit me in your car?”

Renee giggled. Her vision swam. Forcing them to focus and looking down, she found that the myriad plastic cups arrayed on the table before her were empty.

All that remained of the beer was the red cup in her hand, filled to the brim, foam spilling over the side. Renee held it up for all to see, winked, and began pouring it down her throat to the chant of “Chug! Chug! Chug!”

She crumpled the empty cup and tossed it aside. Losing her balance, she fell back onto the ping-pong table, upending it and scattering cups everywhere. She flopped to the floor, feeling the beer slosh in her stomach.

The fraternity brothers whooped and cheered. The few sorority sisters they’d dragged along watched from the corner, waffling between horror and envy.

“Talk about a beer gut,” muttered one of the sisters.

Renee rubbed her paunch. “Why have a six pack when you can have a keg?”

“We have a new champ!” announced a brother.

“Big woman on campus, that’s me!” Renee sang, flopping over. “And time for someone to roll me home.”

Renee yawned. She rolled her eyes, wishing she felt fuller. Stretching her arms overhead and then reaching down to adjust her riding-up blouse, she found that the platter on the table before her was empty.

Nothing remained of her latest bowl of pasta, but there was a warm breadstick in her hand, dripping with garlic butter. Renee held it up for her date to see, winked, and pushed the whole doughy stick into her insatiable maw.

Still chewing, she shifted her mass over in the booth, belly nudging the table as she moved, and reached for the menu. Her date, a befuddled local businessman, recoiled in vain as her lovehandle squished against him.

“What should we get next?” she asked, licking her lips. “I was thinking the rigatoni, but I’m not as full as I thought I would be at this point and the lasagna sounds deliciously heavy.”

“Wh-whatever you want,” stammered her date. “If you’re still…still hungry.”

She patted his head. “You’re so funny. Of course I’m still hungry. And thirsty, too…we need more wine. You know, when I first got to town, I didn’t know the first thing about wine. But now, I’m a connoisseur. And I demand the best. Waiter!”

“I didn’t know we had a bottomless pasta sampler deal,” said a plump waitress, trying to ignore the scene.

The manager turned away from Renee’s table. “We don’t. At least…we haven’t. She said she’s from corporate and they’re testing it as a new special offer.”

The waitress cocked an eyebrow. “And you just…believed her?”

“I didn’t recognize her, but apparently she’s the new area rep, and that fellow she’s with works for the chamber of commerce. She really seems to know everything about the franchise, and about our efforts to try new things. She’s pretty sharp, I gotta say…every time I had a question, it was like she knew what I was gonna ask.” He chuckled. “She was practically finishing my sentences.”

“Well, now she’s finished another bowl of fettuccine…and she’s trying to wave you over for her next order.”

Night had chased most of the hotel’s guests back to their rooms. The lobby stood silent. At the front desk, Phil rubbed his eyes to keep from falling asleep. Footsteps crunched in the snow outside, the first sounds he’d heard in over an hour.

He looked up from his computer as the front door slid open. Craning his neck, he could see Renee as she sauntered into the lobby, a contented smile on her face.

She took a long breath, absently massaging the side of her abdomen. Her outfit, though still too large for her in places, seemed somewhat snug around her midsection. A well-fed food-baby pushed out against the pale fabric of her blouse and kept the skirt’s waistband from sliding down.

“Hey, Phil,” she called, making her way over. Her curves shifted with each step, her concealed belly making its presence known from within the blouse. Her cleavage, teased by a couple of unfastened buttons, swayed enticingly.

Phil swallowed. “Yes, ma’am? Room 237…Renee, right?”

She leaned against his desk, proffering her bosom. Beneath her makeup, her face was flushed. “That’s me. Listen, I…” She smirked. “Sorry, I’m kinda lightheaded…had a little too much wine to go with a little too much dinner. I think I lost my keycard.”

“Oh, no problem. I’ll set up a new one for you.”

“Thanks, Phil. You’re the best.” Renee turned to the door. “There you are! I was afraid you’d changed your mind.”

The spiky-haired clerk from the record store stepped inside, shaking snow from his patch-covered leather jacket. “Went back to the car for that album you mentioned…’Feast of the Elves,’ remember?” He crossed the lobby and sidled up beside Renee, CD in hand.

She wrapped an arm around him and nuzzled his shoulder. “Oh, I remember. Now come upstairs and I’ll show you a real feast.”

Staring away, Phil handed her a card. “Here you are, ma’am. Uh, enjoy your stay.”

“Oh, I am. And hey, while I have you, could you have room service send up some snacks?”

Phil looked up from his computer as the front door slid open. Craning his neck, he could see Renee as she sashayed into the lobby, a satisfied grin on her face.

She took a deep breath, pressing a hand to the side of her abdomen. Her outfit, though fitting perfectly in most other places, seemed strained around her midsection. An overstuffed beer gut swelled out against the pale fabric of her blouse and pushed down the waistband of her skirt.

“Hey, Phil,” she sighed, making her way over. Her softness wobbled with each step, her barely contained belly fighting the free itself from the blouse. Her cleavage, testing the few buttons that remained fastened, bounced mesmerizingly.

Phil swallowed. “Yes, ma’am? Room 237…Renee, right?”

She leaned herself against his desk, setting her bosom on the counter. Her eyes seemed out of focus and her voice was louder than necessary. “That’s me. Listen, I…” She bit her lip. “Sorry…one too many cocktails tonight to go with one too many hors d’oeuvres. I think I lost my keycard.”

“Uh, no problem. I’ll just set up a new one for you.”

“Thanks, Phil. You’re the sweetest.” She turned to the door. “There you are! I’d assumed, with all the running you do, you would beat me here.”

The jogging man from the park stepped inside, shaking snow from his letterman jacket. “Do I need to teach you some patience?” He crossed the lobby and cocked an eyebrow at her.

She gazed up at him and winked. “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I tend to get what I want…when I want it.”

Staring away, Phil handed her a card. “Here you are, ma’am. Enjoy…enjoy your stay.”

“Oh, I am. And hey, while I have you, could you have room service send up some dessert?”

Phil looked up from his computer as the front door slid open. Craning his neck, he could see Renee as she swaggered into the lobby, a conspiratorial smirk on her face.

She paused to catch her breath, rubbing the swell of her abdomen. Her outfit, coming apart at the seams in several places, had given up on her midsection. A bloated pot belly jutted out from the flaps of her blouse, having popped several of its buttons, and bulged over the waistband of her unfastened skirt.

“Hey, Phil,” she panted, making her way over. Her pudge jiggled with each step, exposed belly celebrating its freedom from the blouse. As she walked, her heaving bosom popped the shirt’s last remaining button.

Phil swallowed. “Yes, ma’am? Room 237? Renee, right?”

She steadied herself against his desk, breasts threatening to spill out of her bra and onto the countertop. Her eyes were glazed and her speech deliberate. “That’s me. Listen, I…” She paused, searching for words. “Sorry…we were doing shots. And wings. Lots of wings…anyway, I think I lost my…keycard.”

“Uh, no problem. I’ll just set up a new one for you.”

“Thanks, Phil. You’re always…on top of things.” She turned to the door. “There you are! I knew I should’ve put a leash on you.”

The bottom-heavy sorority sister stepped inside, shaking snow from her peacoat. “I wasn’t sure if you actually wanted me to come.” She crossed the lobby and stood sheepishly beside her.

Renee kissed her forehead. “Of course I do. Theresa, you are mine, for the rest of the night.”

Trying to look away, Phil handed her a card. “Here you are, ma’am. Enjoy yourselv—enjoy your stay.”

“Oh, I am. And hey, while I…while I have you, could you have room service send up some treats?”

Phil looked up from his computer as the front door slid open. Craning his neck, he could see Renee as she stumbled into the lobby, giggling.

She stood swaying a moment, steadying herself against the wall, patting the dome of her abdomen. Her outfit was missing, leaving her in panties that pinched into her sides and a bra that didn’t support her breasts so much as clutch vainly at them. A glutted paunch hung from her midsection, gurgling loudly.

“Hey, Phil,” she called with a hiccup, weaving her way over. Her flab rippled with each step, naked belly sloshing. As she reached the front desk one of her bra straps snapped. Her left breast sagged down further, the bra’s cup hanging limply over her nipple.

Phil swallowed. “Yes, m-ma’am? Room…237?”

She collapsed against the counter, propping her head up with her hands, fingers squishing into her second chin. “That’s me. Listen, I…” She paused to hiccup again. “Sorry…someone brought the hard stuff. Figured all the food and fat would absorb it more, but…mm, more. Anyway, I think I—hic!—I think I lost my keycard.”

“Uh, no problem. I’ll just…set up a new one for you.”

“Thanks, Phil. You’re my fav—hilp!—vorite.” She turned to the door. “There you are! I was worried I…wouldn’t get to share all this.”

Abby stepped in, followed by a swarthy young man from the campus bookstore, brushing snow from each other’s shoulders. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world. You promised to model for my next project,” she explained, crossing the lobby and ducking as Renee threw an arm over her shoulder.

The waifish artist looked miniscule next to Renee’s uncovered corpulence. The boy from the bookstore followed and Renee wrapped her other arm around him, pulling her two companions close. “Guys, believe me. I…I can show you the—hic!—the meaning of fullness.”

Staring at her stomach, Phil handed her a card. “Here you are, ma’am. I hope you…all…enjoy your stay.”

“We are. Hulp! Oh, and hey, while I have you, could you have room service send up…I don’t know. Hic! Dinner? Three or four dinners.”

Phil looked up from his computer as the front door slid open. Craning his neck, he could see Renee as she collapsed into the lobby, laughing uncontrollably.

She reclined against a table for a moment, cradling the weight of her abdomen. She was entirely naked, glistening with melted snow but steaming, warmed by the effort of carrying her bulk in from the parking lot. A decadent globe comprised her midsection, filled to its expansive brim.

“Hey, Phil,” she slurred, pushing off the table to make her way over. Her flesh quaked with each uneven step and her sagging breasts flopped against the swell of her fat apron. Her feet betrayed her, though, and she fell backward in an obese heap of snickering indulgence.

Phil rushed out from behind his desk. “Ma’am? Ma’am—Renee, are you alright?”

She lay in the center of the lobby, hands caressing her belly. “I’m great. Lissen, I…” She paused to loose a thunderous belch. “Oh, am I enjoying my stay. Hee. Gotta say, Phil, there’s…there’s way more to do in this town than I ever…ever woulda…mm. Anyway, I…keycard…y’know…urrp.”

“Um. You need your keycard? I’ll…I’ll just set up a new one for you. Do you need, uh…help?”

“Thanks, Phil. You’re always…there for me.” She reached a pudgy hand and seized his collar. “I do need some help, yeah. I need…you.”

He coughed and glanced at the door. There was no one around. “Me?”

She pulled him close. “I figured out your secret.”

“I…I don’t know what you’re…”

“I know what everyone here likes, Phil. And now I know what you like. I can…feel it.” She squished her paunch against him. “Take me up to my room…bring as much room service as you want…whatever you wanna see me eat.” She grabbed his hand and pressed it to her stomach. It didn’t feel like there was any room left for more food. “Feed me everything you can…like there’s no tomorrow.”