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Old 12-13-2010, 07:53 AM   #76
agouderia
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Default Part 14 - Cul de Sac

Sitting at her desk at EAFR in her dark office, only the small desk light on, Antonia had her head buried in her hands, groaning to herself. The meeting with her board to pass the new annual budget had been a disaster. It looked like their new accountant had made some major formal and financial mistakes she had not discovered in looking through it – but some members of the board had, including Reg Harrington, whose cutting remarks still stung in her mind.

“Looks like this time our SecGen is not even capable of decent fraud” and “being able to assess the work of your subordinates is the most basic skill required” – had made her smart especially since she was keenly aware she was not able to answer their questions competently. For the first time she had a real sense of how it must have felt for Philip to discuss fashion and sizing matters in a meeting, but that did not help much. Sensing her own deficits and mistakes in the process, she had refrained from pointing out that the new accountant had been selected based on the recommendation of the auditor Harrington had chosen. Now she had the problem of coming up with a new budget without a competent accountant, not knowing where the flaws were herself to try to get out prove wrong the typical stereotype of the female executive who naturally knows nothing about numbers.

Her phone rang. “Toni chérie, are you still up in the office, I’m down here waiting.”

“Sorry Philip, I can’t come, I still have to work on this thing here.”

“Well okay, I’ll come up then, no use waiting here in the rain.” Before she could protest, he had hung up and rung the door bell. Knowing it was better to tell him personally to go home since it would take too long, she let him in.

“Nice office,” Philip stated looking around.

“It’s the only bright point in the day that you finally came to see my office,” Antonia mumbled, leaning against him tiredly.

He gulped a bit and then looked at her desk. “Budget problems again? Can I help you with that?”

“I hate to say it, but I probably will have to accept your help with it again,” she groaned. “I don’t know anyone better, but I don’t want to burden you.”

“Stop being ridiculous, that’s what I’m there for.” Philip picked up the papers and scanned over them. “Wow, your new accountant is a bl***y idiot! You should’ve shown me this before you tried to represent, it’s god awfully unprofessional!”

“Thanks for letting me know you think I’m a professional failure!”

“Toni, don’t be absurd! You should simply ask for professional help in the fields you are not so good at before making and publicizing such mistakes.”

“Well who’s talking – Mr. I’m-so-perfect-at-realizing-where-I-need-help-and-accepting it!” she snapped at him, vaguely noticing she was venting her disappointment in herself on him unjustified.

Philip turned bright pink and did not meet her eye any more, only to collect the papers and stuff them into his briefcase. “Come on, let’s go, maybe we can look through this better in your sitting room in peace with a good red wine.”

“Only if you promise to sleep over, spend all night in my bed!” Antonia looked at him with a challenging glint in her eye.

“Umm …well…think it’s better, do this …Chopin and my piano… send it back … ready sometime..,” Philip muttered, hurrying out before she could say another word.


As she groggily boarded the Thalys to Paris the next morning for three days of fashion shows, shivering with cold, Antonia was full of remorse, even the nicely served complimentary breakfast selection in first class with fresh fruit and croissants as well as newspapers in six languages couldn’t cheer her up. She felt guilty for having seriously hurt Philip last night, for having been unfair. In addition she was angry at herself for her presumptuous belief she could assess the budget work of an accountant, for her unprofessional obstinacy at not getting competent advice and for making an archetypical female fool of herself in front of her board.

To at least start coming to terms with her failure, she sent Philip a SMS: “Miss you so much, love you, so sorry I was so mean to you yesterday. Thank you for always helping incompetent me out with financial stuff. Hope to hold you asap.”

Philip’s response came by e-mail late that evening together with the revised budget: “Miss you too! Come to me earlier next time in finance matters. Fire your accountant, I’ll take a look around & write you a short list of good candidates. Kiss you asap.”

His words together with the option of sending her board the revision so quickly calmed Antonia’s nerves and let her half way enjoy the shows despite awfully wet and cold weather. Getting ready on her third evening for the reception of the French Haute Couture institute, her mobile rang: “Bon soir chéri, grande surprise – I’m here in Paris too, out at CDG – flight back from Oslo was re-routed courtesy of Belgian air traffic controller strike! Where are you?”

“Getting ready to go to a reception. Can you come into town? Can we meet?”

“It’ll take a while till I’m in, but I can pick you up there – text me the address.”

Giddy with happy anticipation, Antonia almost skipped down to the Musée de la Monnaie where the reception was being held, slipped her high heels on there and went through the reception genuinely beaming at everyone, impatiently checking her mobile every few minutes in case she might have missed Philip’s call or text.

As the text came, she grabbed her coat and ran out, to be swept in the big teddy bear cuddle she yearned for. “I’m so so happy you’re here. Hooray for air traffic controllers on strike!”

Philip only gave her a deep, tender kiss and held her close wordlessly before asking after a long silence: “What now?”

“We can go somewhere – it’s a bit late for dinner, but we can get you a bite to eat at some bistro…”

“No, I’m fine; they served us all kinds of food to make up for the re-routing of the flight. Somewhere near here there’s supposed to be a Brazilian bar with good live music … how about that?”

“Lovely. What’s the address?

“Rue Grégoire de Tours, it says in Wouter’s text.”

“Oh, I know where that is, it’s not far at all. Just let me put on my walking shoes, these high heels are not made for Paris walking distances.” Balancing herself on his protruding broad belly, cherishing the feeling of comfort it gave her, Antonia quickly changed shoes before they set out.

Wouter’s recommendation turned out to be a good one and they were laughing and tipsy as they left the bar at closing at 3 o’clock in the morning after many fruity drinks and a lot of salsa dancing. Wrapping her tightly in his arm, Philip said: “I’ll walk you up to your hotel, so you get there safely. I can take a taxi to mine from there; it’s on the other side of the Seine.”

“You have your own hotel room here?” Antonia looked at Philip in disbelief, who blushed, nodded and looked at her uncertainly from under lowered lashes. “Is there still the option of you spending it in mine? After all that dancing together, I don’t feel I can let go of you just yet!”

A true smile with dimples showing, a nod and a kiss was Philip’s response.

The next morning Antonia set down the breakfast tray on their bed, waking Philip by holding a buttery smelling warm croissant under his nose. Starting to spread some baguette, she couldn’t help asking: “Philip- why is everything with us so much easier, less complicated when we are travelling together than when we are at home in Brussels? You feel that too, don’t you?”

“Ughugh,” Philip took a long sip of coffee and a bite of his croissant. “You’re right, but I don’t know why.”

“Let’s try to figure out what it is, yes? So we can make it work at home too, so we have a better, happier time together.”



“If I was Philip, I’d ravish you on the spot in that dress,” Heather teased, looking at Antonia in admiration as she hooked up the back of her complicated dress. “As far as my limited fashion sense can tell, it’s fabulous with the jewelry he gave you.”

“I think so too – I’m a big fan of monochrome outfits, with different shades and textures in one color. Remembering Gaultier has done a number of interesting pieces in all hues of silver I hunted down this vintage one in all the Parisian off-season stores I know of. “Antonia turned in front of the mirror, rather pleased with what she saw. The antique silver dress beautifully reflected the pearls, the complicated bodice, half corset, half Grecian wrap, showed a lot of cleavage and her classic up do gave the entire ensemble a formal touch. The only splash of color she allowed herself was a small dull-matt fuchsia clutch with matching lipstick. “Okay, I’m ready – now Philip can come!”

“Well, I’ll run then. Doing a girls outing to the hair dressers together was a good idea – talking while being pampered, we should do that more often.”

“Definitely, thanks Heather for helping me into this hellishly complicated dress!”

As the minutes passed and it was only five more until the scheduled time for the transfer shuttle to the annual reception of the Fashion Department of the Belgian Royal Academy of the Arts in Antwerp and Philip had not yet arrived, Antonia started getting nervous and tried to call him, only to get voice mail. She left him a message, sent a text, no response. The well-known icy dread once again started emanating from her abdomen as she saw the shuttle pull up in front of her house, making her have to leave.

On the entire drive to Antwerp, she hoped against hope Philip would call or meet her there, had maybe gone with Saskia but as she arrived, he of course was nowhere in sight.
The first person she ran into was Wouter Dehaenen, who cheek kissed her warmly: “Antonia you look ravissante, way too sexy for a royal reception! Where’s Philip? What am I supposed to do in case our piano player passes out again? Next year we’re actually thinking of having our band play here at this event, by then we should have enough practice.”

“Philip’s running a bit late for business reasons, I’ll tell him to meet up with you if he still makes it,” Antonia’s smile was slightly forced and she was grateful as someone else immediately addressed Wouter.

The next half hour before the fashion show was not too bad since many professional acquaintances greeted her in her function as EAFR’s Secretary General, none of them aware of Philip or his whereabouts.

Settling on her reserved seat for the fashion show, she watched it in a daze, an increasing mental numbness spreading through her. She hoped she could get away quickly with maybe two glasses of champagne and a minimum of honneurs, taking the first shuttle back. The plan was halfway working; she was already on her way out as she ran into a beaming, pink-cheeked Saskia accompanied by Arthur Trapper. “Here you are, I’ve been looking for you all evening! What a fantastic dress! Vintage Gaultier, isn’t it, maybe something like 1999? Where’s Philip?”

“Thank you Saskia, you look great too – ultramarine is the color with your blond hair. It’s wonderful to see you’re having such a good time.”

“Everything is perfect! Guess what, the royal academy is doing a special class and exhibit with female designers only – and I’m allowed to do one part on adapting haute couture trends to main street fashion! It was so stupid of me never to go to these events, I missed so much!”

“That’s the spirit. Now if you will excuse me, I still have to check on…”

“But where’s Philip?”

“Ummm, he couldn’t make it, was detained by some work related problem,” Antonia prayed they wouldn’t ask more questions, but no such luck.

Arthur’s eyebrows immediately furrowed. “Oh dear, hopefully no more problems with that Chinese order. Shall I call him? Or drive back to the office?”

“No Arthur, have a nice evening. Philip said he’d manage, said to tell you not to worry and enjoy your evening if he couldn’t come.” Antonia put as much sincerity in her voice as possible. “Excuse me now please; there is a member of the French trade association I still need to talk to.”


As she tugged hard to open the rickety foldable lattice closing the ancient elevator strongly resembling a chicken basket in her apartment house to reach her door, Antonia mind went blank as she saw Philip sitting on the steps. He looked weary and apprehensive, a half empty bottle of red wine next to him.

“Good night Philip, I’m exhausted. I need time alone, please go home.”

“Toni, let me explain, I’m awfully sorry.”

Unlocking the door, Antonia shook her head. “Please, I can’t see you now.”
But with a quick move, Philip pushed his broad frame into the closing door. “Give me a chance to explain. I didn’t mean to…”

“Which convincing explanation might there be? You’re here now, so you’re not on your deathbed. I can’t think of one plausible reason why you couldn’t have been here five hours ago to go to the Antwerp reception with me.”

Antonia sighed and went into her bedroom, slipping out of her strappy sandals, putting the clutch on her dresser and taking off the jewelry to put it next to it. Philip had followed her and now wrapped his arm around her. “Don’t touch me. If you have something to say, do it at two arm lengths. You can’t cuddle everything away.”

Swallowing visibly, letting his arms hang, Philip kept his distance. “I was getting ready, then, well then … my dinner jacket didn’t fit!” he finally blurted.

“What? That’s your reason for not coming, for standing me up? Your dinner jacket didn’t fit? It didn’t fit last year either, and you looked great in your black suit! I can’t believe it! Even by your standard’s that’s the lamest, most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard! Why on earth am I putting up with this kind of crap?”

“It’s not like that!” Philip had turned dark red, looking mortified. “I wanted to surprise you…”

“Standing me up unfortunately no longer is a real surprise, Mr. Watherwood!”

“No, not that way. I mean by fitting into my dinner jacket, I wanted to surprise you, look good for you, make it better than last year – you look so beautiful tonight, next to you I’m ….,” his green eyes pleading.

“The best surprise would’ve been if you’d told me I look beautiful on coming here to pick me up so we could go together! We had such a wonderful time last year, you looked so good with the specially made shirt. Who cares about a stupid tux?”

“I had hoped to show you by fitting back into my dinner jacket that I was somehow improving, my efforts were working…. Do you know how awful it feels if something doesn’t fit, when you have to go an event, show yourself there, have people scrutinize you?” Philip muttered glumly.

Antonia exhaled, sighed then took a deep breath before asking very quietly: “Have you ever thought about how awful it might feel to be dressed up to the nines in a dress you spent a long time looking for to match the jewelry given to you by the man you love – and then he doesn’t come, with no word, no real reason? Instead you have to go to the biggest event of the year alone – and even lie to others about your man’s whereabouts, make up excuses for him?”

“Shit no, I’ve never thought about that!” Philip looked truly stricken. “I’m sorry; I didn’t want you to feel bad. But I was so inadequate again not fitting, I couldn’t..”

“For chrissake Philip, we all feel inadequate sometimes, not up to facing a situation! Grow up! You’re no longer fifteen; you have to be able to get over that. You’re not the only one with insecurities and sensitivities! Other people have them too, I have some too! Can you imagine that it hurts me if I’m constantly left in the dark, or waiting? That makes me feel insufficient, worthless – not like an honestly cared for girlfriend?”

“But I never want to hurt you! I love you so much, please believe me,” his voice was plaintive by now.

“That’s not the point,” Antonia sank down on her bed in exhaustion. “I believe you that you love me. But nursing your self-loathing seems to be more important to you than your love for me most of the time. Love is not enough; it needs a few more things like a certain amount of trust, commitment, reliability, patience, compromise to make a relationship work. I’ve tried my best with you, but it’s hopeless. You’re somehow not willing or able to match my attempts at patience and compromise with more trust or reliability on your part.”

“I’m honestly trying! You’ve helped me so much. I lost 4 kgs since I was in Alpsee, I know it’s very little, but it’s better than I’ve done on my own in a long time. We still have the option of surgery I’ll do that to make things work….”

“For pity’s sake Philip, you don’t even try to get it, do you? This is not about your weight! I don’t give a damn whether you lose or gain 4 or 40 kilograms! I can’t think of anything less important to make our relationship work than your weight! You know I love you just the way you are! I wouldn’t even care if you gained 40 kilograms as long as you were finally happy and content with yourself! Are you so simplistic to think weight loss surgery will miraculously make you satisfied and confident? If you don’t have food anymore as consolation, what would it be instead – maybe drink? With your attitude to yourself, you’ll flunk any serious psychological assessment done before ethically sound bariatric surgery! I’ve run out of patience and understanding for dealing with your negative self-obsessions, I give up! Go find yourself someone a hell of a lot more patient than me!” she started to sob struggling with unhooking her dress in the back.

“You can’t be serious? Here let me do that,” Philip had helpless shock in his glance, quickly unhooking and untangling Antonia’s dress strap, lightly running his practiced fingers over her back, up to the nape of her neck, pressing gently. He gingerly kissed her shoulders, his belly fully touching her bare back.

Antonia let out a small groan. “Don’t do that … thank you,” to pull the dress over her head and go into the bathroom.
As she came back out in her bathrobe, her hair down, running a large comb through it, Philip was sitting on her bed. “What’re you doing there- I thought you hate my bed? Go home, please will you! I’m beyond worn out.”

“Come here, you’re so tired…,” he pulled her down into his lap, his fingers expertly massaging her shoulders and the back of her neck. “Lie down,” as he turned her onto her stomach, pulling her bath-robe off.

She tried to raise herself, but he had already positioned himself behind her, his bulk lightly pinning down her backside as he in delicious firm slow motion kneaded up her back. “Stop it – I want you to go…”

“Shhh, it’s okay. Relaxing you a little is the least I can try doing, I’m so sorry about today,” he continued down her sides in circular motions, ending by pressing her buttocks against each other rhythmically. His warm body and talented hands had Antonia quickly melting physically despite the voice in her head which kept telling her to keep her cool and kick him out. As he massaged her buttocks, moving down to the back of her thighs, the tingles between them started getting insistent, throbbing, begging for his fingers or other parts of him to move in.

“Philip, don’t … I don’t want…” she turned on her back squirming only to feel the weight of his belly sink on hers as he bent done and started kissing and kneading her breasts, making her insides clench in anticipation. His lips wandered down to her stomach, while his fingers pranced along her groin, squeezing her pubic mound in titillating frequency, until she moaned and arched herself up, without means of controlling her excited wetness. “Stop, why … aughh,” a new lusty jolt in her privates left her inarticulate pushing herself closer into his competently burrowing fingers. As he leaned over her, she couldn’t help herself but went in for a hungry kiss, her hands frantically rubbing along his fleshy sides.

Feeling the eager anticipatory ache of her insides heighten sheer unbearably, all the while Philip kept teasing her, she grunted: “Now you’ve gotten me so far … uahh … get into me!”

“No, it’s okay… better now?” he breathed heavily against her breasts.

“Don’t act f***ing considerate … you’ve got me where you want me again, so do it right…,” Antonia snapped in frustration, tugging at his belt under the bulge of his stomach. Holding her tight with one arm, kissing her intensely, he used his other hand to alternately continue playing with her while undoing his pants, his erection popping out with a sense of urgency. But he deliberately measured his moves, pushing her thighs apart, pulling her onto him carefully.

“This okay for you?” he growled gently, pushing himself in deeply with exquisite timing.

“Mmmhmmmh,” she concentrated on matching his pace, her lingering resentment fueling her mind with an evil fantasy: Caressing his round, soft belly, she imagined what it would be like to feed him to bursting while he played with her – chicken drumsticks, pesto stuffed gnocchi, spicy Turkish köfte, succulent Chaource cheese on baguette, rich crème brulée, chocolaty éclairs – to them force him to get on the scale, show her how fat he really was and poke his stuffed gut making fun of him. She was dimly aware she was probably running his worst nightmare through her mind, but that only turned her on all the more, making her come twice in an ecstatic squeal.

With a deep sigh, she curled into his cozy flesh, only to hear his questioning: “Hmmmh….okay?”

Squinting up into his face, she saw real fear in his eyes. Not yet wanting to put him at ease, disturbed that his artful approach to physical intimacy, the heavy powerful abundance of his body were so irresistible for her, she didn’t say anything, rested her head back on his belly and for once was grateful she perceived the world around her just as a dim, darkly colored blur. Philip started carefully stroking her, finally clearing his throat to whisper: “Are you okay? Is there anything I can do for you?”

Lying there with a feeling of profound bodily pleasure, Antonia ruminated why her state of mind was more one of sadness and defeat –sadness because it looked like sex was the only 100% reliable element in their relationship and her purposes had once again been defeated by her inability to resist him.

“Toni… is everything okay?” he asked again, now with a quaver of uneasiness.

“Ummhummmh,” she nodded, before looking at him: “Isn’t this about the time you normally leave my bed, move over to the study sofa?” unable to keep the sarcastic edge out of her voice.

Blushing so strongly even she could see it, he shifted very uncomfortably a few times before softy answering: “If you prefer, I’ll stay right here as your pillow. I’ll do anything you ask me to.”

“Pillow isn’t a bad idea,” Antonia acquiesced, settling herself around him, his warmth, regular breathing and her own limp satisfaction quickly letting her doze off.

Awaking sometime in the early morning hours feeling cold and alone, she grunted trying to wrap herself into her featherbed as he settled back next to her. “I’m here, snuggle up if you want to, I’ll do anything for you, I need you so much…” she heard him murmur from somewhere far away, as he placed little kisses on her face. She pressed herself into his bulk, her hand around his middle, falling asleep again firmly hanging on to one of his love handles.

The loud chiming of the eleven o’clock Sunday bells woke Antonia with a start the next morning, to find her head on Mère Bear, who was holding a note in her thick white, paws: “Please forgive me. Need to pick up Chinese delegation from airport. Could we maybe talk late tonight?”

Shaking herself to try to clear her foggy mind, she put on her bathrobe and glasses and stumbled into her kitchen to make coffee. As she tried to pour the coffee into her mug, she let it slip, it crashing down to the floor into over a dozen pieces. Looking at it, she saw it had been her favorite bear mug, Heather’s first present to her, a big cuddly bear holding a little bear protectively in his paws, the image now broken in two. Sliding down between the shards, Antonia broke into gulping sobs, making it difficult to breathe, tears of hurt, disappointment, hopelessness and frustration, constantly swallowed over the past weeks, streaming over her cheeks.

Not aware how long it took her to get up, she did pour herself a new cup of coffee and hurriedly took it over to her study. Rummaging through her desk, she found the print-out of her Philip&Antonia Ltd. business plan. Grabbing a red ink pen, she skimmed through it, crossing out things that had not worked, red flagging missed business opportunities, creating a negative cash flow for herself before finishing it off with two posts it on the first page. One read: Antonia files for bankruptcy - patience assets insolvent – not able to run this business under chapter 11. Still- do not regret giving it a try, more luck with you next ventures.” The other said: Do not call me, text me, e-mail me, come near me or try to get in contact with me any other way. Leave me alone for the time being – I will inform you when I can face casual contact again.

Writing this was difficult since she had trouble seeing through her tears. As soon as she finished, Antonia put it into an envelope, called Brussels Airlines to reschedule her flight to Munich, planned for Tuesday’s business trip, showered, packed her bag and dropped the envelope into Philip’s mailbox on the way to the airport, hurrying like crazy to stop from thinking.

Last edited by Perry White; 12-18-2010 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:37 AM   #77
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Thank you very much - I appreciate your praise particularly since you are such a brilliant writer and I love your stories!

Somehow I have lost track of your blog address - is there anything new? Have you finished the Xander story?
Hope to see something new from you here or somewhere I can find asap, please!
Aww, such flattery! Thank you! And thank you for the new addition!

After about a year of refusing to write because I just hated everything, I've actually just started working on that story again - like, literally, two nights ago. So I should have some new stuff posted within the next few days. The blog address is in my profile.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:07 PM   #78
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AAAAAACCKKK!!!!!!!!

I hope you get lots of writing time soon, because I hate to have them hanging in that situation! You do a fantastic job of writing ups and downs into the story, it is just rough when a section ends on such a down beat, without knowing how long until the next section

But more seriously, thank you for the new chapters, fantastic as always
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:53 PM   #79
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agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!agouderia keeps pushing the rep limit!
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.... writing ups and downs into the story, it is just rough when a section ends on such a down beat, without knowing how long until the next section
Life mainly consists of ups and downs, doesn't it??

In Antonia's opinion, their story is over. She prefers a clear cut over trying to piece things back together, especially since she has lost faith in her ability and Philip's willingness to make him move forward in a positive way, while being afraid of her growing emotional dependance on his erratic affection.

So I guess that's the end ... isn't it?
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:23 PM   #80
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Life mainly consists of ups and downs, doesn't it??

In Antonia's opinion, their story is over. She prefers a clear cut over trying to piece things back together, especially since she has lost faith in her ability and Philip's willingness to make him move forward in a positive way, while being afraid of her growing emotional dependance on his erratic affection.

So I guess that's the end ... isn't it?
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:06 AM   #81
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Life mainly consists of ups and downs, doesn't it??

In Antonia's opinion, their story is over. She prefers a clear cut over trying to piece things back together, especially since she has lost faith in her ability and Philip's willingness to make him move forward in a positive way, while being afraid of her growing emotional dependance on his erratic affection.

So I guess that's the end ... isn't it?
I don't believe that you are that cruel!
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:45 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by agouderia View Post
Life mainly consists of ups and downs, doesn't it??

In Antonia's opinion, their story is over. She prefers a clear cut over trying to piece things back together, especially since she has lost faith in her ability and Philip's willingness to make him move forward in a positive way, while being afraid of her growing emotional dependance on his erratic affection.

So I guess that's the end ... isn't it?
Somehow I have my doubts on that

This part had me trying to read through my tears, too

Poor, Antonia.........
After reading this latest installment, I believe it is tough on both sides; Antonia trying so hard to understand and being supportive but not really, truly knowing what he goes through, and Phillip, having had such a horribly, scarring childhood, not knowing how to accept himself for who he is.....

Nope, there is a lot more to this story
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:47 PM   #83
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Allowing Antonia's anger with Phillip to boil over and manifest itself through sexual aggression and fat-related sadism is just so damn brilliant.

Ending the story here would be a brave choice - and no, not because we'd all rise up in rebellion - but because Phillip's brand of self hatred stems from parental child abuse, not just schoolyard teasing. He can't be so easily transformed, can he? This is not tidy like the typical BHM FFA romance story (me<---guilty) and for that reason, I can handle this que sera sera place we are now at.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:16 PM   #84
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Dear agouderia,

Ending this story at its climax would be cruel! Please tell me your just teasing us.

Signed,

Desperate in Dallas
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:02 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuefly pie View Post
Dear agouderia,

Ending this story at its climax would be cruel! Please tell me your just teasing us.

Signed,

Desperate in Dallas
I second this thought. "Available in all Sizes" is awesome, and reading it has been a highlight in an otherwise stressful month. Please, please tell me there is more.
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:30 PM   #86
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Hmmmh ....in my own self-perception, neither cruel nor brave would be adjectives I would credit myself with

For a while I had thought about letting this story end with Antonia simply giving up - since relationships do end that way with one party walking away and refusing more contact, on grounds outside observers find difficult to understand. Also I get the impression that some readers might have fallen into the same trap as Antonia, seeing Philip mainly as the poor helpless underdog in their relationship, underestimating how he uses this role to his advantage.

I confess, though I've had a different ending written for quite a while which I now only revised - let's see if this one receives more popular support.

Thank you everyone for your patience with this lengthy novella, the many kind words and support over the entire process, it kept me motivated to finish it. Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:50 PM   #87
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Default Epilogue - Part 15 - Plan A

Epilogue - Part 15 - Plan A

“Open up, here comes a bite of one of the best dark chocolate cakes on planet earth, maybe even in this galaxy,” Antonia steered a spoon of “Les Brigittines” signature dessert towards Matteo’s plump lips, who willingly opened his mouth and closed his eyes with a slight moan of pleasure.

Si perfetto, just as fantastico as I remember it! Having lived in Belgium, I confess chocolate is the one weak point in Italian cuisine,” Matteo smiled at Antonia, who tilted her head thoughtfully: “In general you’re right, apart from ice cream. As you know, I’m convinced Tre Scalini’s “Tartuffo con panna” is among the top 10 chocolate things in the world. It’s so good to have you here again!” She leaned against him on the dark wooden bench fondly patting his enormous belly, which had moved somewhat closer to his knees since she had last seen him, while he laid his arm protectively around her.

Matteo had been Antonia’s first boyfriend when she came to Brussels – they had had a two year wonderful uncomplicated affair, both being new in town, he on a temporary posting from his regional administration in Emilia Romagna, enjoyed fine food, fun and EU politics together. With their very different plans in life, it had been clear that they would part ways again but had stayed good friends after he returned to Italy to eventually marry his high school sweetheart. Now he was back in town on a two week assignment for the Committee of Regions; Antonia was grateful to have him around to talk to, cook for, snuggle against for warmth –finding comfort in his light-hearted outlook on life and sympathetic ear.

In the past weeks she had made every effort to block Philip out of her life: She had been on business trips as much as possible, had her calls at EAFR screened, no longer took calls without caller ID, deleted Philip’s texts and e-mails instantly, aggressively rejected all attempts of Jan, Heather and even Jean-Luc to speak to her about him, even though they all tried extensively. Keeping as busy as she could, the main result of this was she had the constant uncomfortable feeling of having a festering hole in some part of her body that ached with longing every time she got too close to it.

She continued feeding Matteo the dark chocolate cake, now and then pinching his abundant flesh while he related in comic length the problems the Catalan regional radicals were causing, until he suddenly interrupted himself: “Pardon monsieur vous désirez?”

Antonia turned – only to look up into Philip’s plump face, scowling at them. The sad yet angry expression in his green eyes sent a painful sting of guilt through her. “Good evening Antonia how are you?”

“Good evening Philip.” Antonia sighed. “May I introduce: Philip Watherwood, CEO ‘signC’ Europe here in Brussels - Matteo Bertinotti, Regione Emilia Romagna.”

Matteo looked up in keen interest, scrutinized Philip critically, who looked very uncomfortable half bulging out of one of his biggest suits, telling Antonia he had gained weight: “Ah, the Englishman who was so hard on carissima Antonia here!”

“Per favore Matteo lascìa!” Antonia felt her face grow hot.

But Matteo continued, shaking his head: “The problem with you English, you don’t know what’s good in life – food, drink, style, women. You find a wonderful woman like Antonia- but you’re too stupid to see what a ‘tesoro’ you found. You do not do everything to hold her. “

“Pardon me? Stupid?” Philip bristled. “No adulterous Italian is telling me I’m stupid! You’re wearing a ring, so you’re married – who’s hurting Antonia here, leading her on?”

“Philip, apologize to Matteo this second!” Antonia said in dangerous quiet. “You’re completely misinterpreting the situation. Matteo and I are old friends. I need a true friend right now. It’s none of your business anyway!”

Philip blushed deeply, lowered his eyes mumbling: “Sorry.”

“Is there a better adjective in English than stupid for a man who will not see and take the best he could have in life?” Matteo asked.

Philip glared at him, shook his head, turned and walked away heavily.
Antonia closed her eyes, sank back against Matteo’s shoulder with a small moan, who gently stroked her hair murmuring: “Ecco- the problem in Brussels, you always meet the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time.”



The rain pattered against the window pane in dull monotony, a look outside was like a study on shades of gray. Antonia leaned her forehead against the frame, tried to convince herself to get going, at least get dressed to go out for normal staples shopping on this dreary Saturday morning. She had just answered Stefaan Pauwel’s text message, inviting her to a ‘Pankoken’ lunch in Leuven, with a polite ‘no thank you’. He had been intensely fawning over her ever since he found out about the break-up, but she had no intention of raising his hopes by letting him offer her an otherwise welcome, easy-going distraction. The awful weather was the perfect excuse to stay inside and mope around – doing nothing was what currently seemed most appealing. She keenly felt the void Philip had left in her life: Even though they never made it to a fully functional relationship he had occupied her intensely for a good year with work, emotions and worries. She missed him more than she even admitted to herself, talking to him, doing something for him, asking his opinion. And she craved his intense physical closeness, his unique aptitude at warming, calming and exciting her all at once. Now she needed to find something new, hopefully more achievable to obsess about, to get over him.

The inner door bell rang – probably her neighbor, who continuously forgot to buy her own coffee, so she grabbed her coffee tin, opened the door, only to see Philip, red in the face, breathing hard leaning against her doorframe, a large folding box in his hands.

“What are you doing here?”

“Can I come in?” Philip panted. “This box is slightly heavy! I had to carry it all the way up – your elevator broke down again.”

“If you have to. What on earth is in that box? Why are you here? I’m on my way out!” Antonia felt a strong unwillingness surge in her to re-start communication with Philip, who went into the kitchen setting the box on the table. Taking a closer look, Antonia was irritated to notice it contained a wide assortment of groceries. She stared at Philip taking off his backpack, his big belly heaving with labored breathing unpacking several “Pain Quotidien” parcels.

“Could I please have a glass of water and a cup of coffee before we start packing some things away?” he asked, not looking at her.

Mutely, Antonia handed him water and coffee to watch him gulp it down.
As he handed her a pack of French cheeses to put into the refrigerator, she shook her head: “I would like an explanation why you come here unannounced, against my explicit wish loaded with unasked for groceries before I start packing anything away.”

Philip sank heavily on a chair that creaked dangerously, hung his head with a bit longer hair, shaggy because of the humidity, fiddled with his hands, starting: “I wanted to…” before sighing deeply, shaking his head and getting back up, pulling Antonia, who went rigid, in a bear hug. He didn’t let go until Antonia said: “Philip – this does not answer my question.”

Looking at her through lowered lashes, he said quietly: “Please give me a last chance to act like a nice, normal bloke around you. There never has been anybody I wanted to be part of my life as strongly as I want you to be. I don’t want to, I don’t know how to live anymore without seeing you, talking to you, being with you, touching you, have you touch me…” ending in a helpless shrug.

“Why all of a sudden? Why do you come here like a, indeed, normal bloke on a weekend, go grocery shopping … like any regular, thoughtful guy? What did you have to drink this early in the day?” Antonia sighed, crossing her arms in front of her chest with an abrasive look, her defenses going up.

“I haven’t had a single drink since we met at ‘Les Brigittines’,” Philip’s voice was calmly determined, making Antonia exclaim in astonishment: “But that’s almost three weeks ago!”

“I had to think a few things through,” Philip eyed her from the side. “Drink isn’t my addiction, you know that. It’s food – here are 3kilos more in the past 3 weeks from compensating anxiety with too much chocolate,” sticking out his belly even further, patting it to Antonia’s intense surprise. “Want to feel how heavy it is?”

Antonia impulsively stretched out her hands, only to pull them back, clasp them behind her back in the last moment: “Oh no, you know I can’t resist, but you won’t get me that way! What did you need to think about since we had that meeting I would choose to forget?”

Philip took a deep breath folding his hands over his belly: “When I saw you with this Italian bloke having dessert in the restaurant, I was so jealous. You both seemed so happy, content, enjoying yourselves - he’s even fatter than I am. It looked so easy, I realized it could, it should be me sitting there, being fed and petted by you, not caring if everybody sees I’m a fat man who likes eating.”

“What made you realize that? Why can you suddenly talk about all of this? I’ve never heard you call yourself ‘fat’ before – you’ve only made vague references to your weight before when you were more or less drunk!”

Philip looked at her candidly: “I’m seeing that therapist you sent Saskia to for overcoming her shyness. And I met Heather and Benedict at the College of Europe Bruges Alumni event yesterday evening.”

Antonia’s eyes almost popped out of her head: “You went to Solange? Why?”

“Now that’s a surprising question,” Philip grinned at her faintly for the first time. “I thought you were convinced I need therapy badly…” making Antonia blush and not meet his eye. “Please Toni, can we put away this first – there’s Marcolini crème brulée ice cream in here.” Antonia shrugged undecidedly, packed away fruit, vegetables, a chicken, ice cream, anything he handed her.

“Would you like another coffee?” Antonia asked, pouring him one as he nodded. “We might as well go over to sit in the living room.”

Philip shuffled his feet a bit in front of the couch looking under himself: “Can you sit here next to me? It’s easier for me to explain if I don’t ….- I can’t stand the situation of someone sitting across from me, observing me, talking about personal matters, it brings back terrible memories. Please?”

Antonia sighed, settled next to him, hanging on tightly to her favorite Berlin bear coffee mug. Philip immediately wrapped his arm around her, in the process tentatively slipping it the gap of her bath robe, sliding it around her waist, brushing over her naked skin, making small shivers run down her spine.

Burying his face in her hair Philip murmured: “You understand I’m unable to talk about myself, my feelings, my weight. But I have to. Try to get one last chance. I know nobody has cared as much for me as you have – not even my own family. Nobody has ever accepted me as overweight as I am. I can’t comprehend why you do, why you even seem to like me being this … heavy. But I don’t have to understand it. It’s enough if I am simply very grateful for it. And that I in turn have to learn to live with myself so I can openly, consistently show you that you mean everything to me.”

“Why are you telling me this now? What made you go to Solange? What did Heather say? Can you imagine this is difficult for me because I’m in the process of closing the book of Philip?” Antonia sighed, yet set down her coffee mug to slip her cold hands in automatic mode under Philip’s sweater to warm them, running them under his soft belly overhang, making him inhale sharply, finally nestling them in the folds over his love-handles resting her head against his fleshy chest. Philip held her tight breathing an almost imperceptible sigh of relief.

“Seeing you and this Matteo showed me I had no more time to lose.” Philip lightly nuzzled her neck. “You might find a new guy any day, somebody who immediately recognizes that you are the best that could happen to him. Matteo calling me stupid – and being right about it was what hurt the most.”

“Stupid? It hurt you Matteo called you stupid?” Antonia sat up, incredulously.

Philip shrugged: “It sounds odd – that was the worst. Nobody has ever called me stupid. My feeling of self-worth has always been founded on my confidence in my intellectual abilities, my academic credentials – that’s my anchor. I’m used to people calling me fat, tubby, porky, lard-ass, glutton, undisciplined, repulsive, gross, whale, what have you –even though it still cuts deep into life-long wounds every time, I’m not able to brush it off. My consolation has always been that I knew I not only have a bigger belly, but also more brains. That’s what kept my head above water, so to say. Now someone shows me I’m plain stupid because I do not try to understand or make a serious effort. I went to Solange the next day after I talked to Jean-Luc.”

“Why did you talk to Jean-Luc?”

“He’s known me longer than anybody else here has. In his very discreet, reticent manner, he’s always been a good, reliable friend for me.”

“What did Jean-Luc say then?” Antonia asked as Philip didn’t continue.

“I asked him whether he too thought I was stupid.” Philip gave her half a crooked grin. “He answered that he actually thought I was unbelievably stupid – even worse that he had seriously lost respect for me. He said I hadn’t matured emotionally at all since he met me in college – and that was an extremely poor showing for someone with my intellectual potential. You know Jean-Luc’s cool, quiet voice – when he says things like that, it stings worse than if someone shouts at you. Then he asked me how I would judge him if he spent his life whining about the fact that he was short and bald and hadn’t married his wife because of that. He wouldn’t let me try to explain – he said blaming everything on my weight and the awful way my mother treated my size was slowly getting grotesque at my age. That I now was in the process of losing the love of my life, the woman with whom I could be really happy, over my obstinate refusal to develop adult coping mechanisms. It was long overdue that I came to terms with myself – and that did not mean having weight loss surgery, but developing some auto- emotional intelligence. Then he simply ended: ‘If you’ll now excuse me, I have a meeting with our CEO and head accountant,’ curtly letting me know that was all he was willing to discuss with me in private. Right afterwards I looked up Solange’s number, called her for an appointment. After all, her work with Saskia has been pretty successful- it was the best I could think of on short notice.”

Antonia was too confused to say anything, quietly rubbed his soft round stomach mound, which let out a hungry growl: “You didn’t have breakfast as usual, right? Do you…”

“Yah,… too nervous about talking to you,” Philip cut her short. “Now I want to finish what I have to say …. then it would be wonderful if we could make lunch together with some of the things I brought. I’m starved for your cooking. Afterwards I would enjoy a nap on the most comfortable bed I know, if possible with you in my arms.”

Antonia looked at him in amazement. “Okay, I know you like my cooking. I always was pretty sure you enjoyed our love-making – no matter how reluctant you were about admitting it. But from some point onward you inexplicably rejected my bed, although you had at first said how comfortable it was.”

Philip let out a small moan hiding his face in his hands: “That was because I discovered the special construction of your bed – the normal and the heavy duty frame and mattress under the joined mattress cover. I wanted to buy one for myself, because it indeed is the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. I was so embarrassed when I found out what kind of set up it is.”

“But why Philip, why?” Antonia let out a groan of frustration. She pulled Philip’s hands from his face, looking him in the eyes. “It’s normal to physically need certain products, sizes, whatever. Everybody is different. Look at me, I’m almost blind without thick glasses or contacts! But why should I hate contact lenses because of that? After all, they help me. You see negative and critical things that objectively don’t even exist! My cousin and her husband, they’re 60 kg and 85 kg, they have the same bed with two different frame/ mattress sets. It’s the orthopedic concept of the bed to make everybody as comfortable as possible by taking into account even small differences in height, weight and build! I have this bed because I love having a big cuddly guy in it – and want him to feel great when being in it with me. I don’t want a 75 kg skinny herring! Why can’t you simply see it as something that’s good for you?”

Taking a deep breath, Philip cradled her close. “You couldn’t be more right. I’m trying to learn to see that. Rationally I know that, but emotionally I’m not able to relate positively or even realistically to anything that has to do with me being fat – which unfortunately is an awful lot in life. That’s the core of my problem says Solange. Do you know what she made me do? She asked me to write a list of all moments in which I had felt physically content, comfortable in my body. Only terrible episodes came to mind. So I wrote those down, try to exorcize them, talked to her the next day…” Philip paused, picked up his coffee pot to drain it.

“What did Solange do with your negative list?”

“She took only one glance tore it up and threw it away,” Philip chuckled lightly, making Antonia woozy with pleasure as she felt his abundant belly vibrate against her. “She said constantly wallowing in negative memories was not going to get me anywhere; they’re overbearing anyhow. She sat me down, prodded my memory, got me to write a positive list. What came up as the most content physical moment in my life, when I had felt happiest with myself and my body?” looking Antonia deeply in the eye until she shrugged her shoulders: “No idea.”

“The first morning I woke up here in your bed – I had slept so well, was physically so satisfied… then you came with that wonderful breakfast tray, we had more sex, showered together...,” Philip kissed her softly, longingly on her temple. “I felt fantastic that day, like I could finally start a normal happy life – until I got home where I saw the scale in my bedroom. That immediately made me feel guilty, like I had no right to feel good about myself. And when I got on, it telling me I was fatter again, I was all miserable, inadequate once more, like I was being duly punished for feeling too good about myself…

“Funny, I’d always thought the situation you felt best about yourself would have been the EAFR-finance disaster sex we had in your office…”

Philip laughed: “That came in second. That was fabulous, you, great sex, good food, wine and really messed up finances – all my favorite things in life in one parcel. Almost everything about me feeling content, comfortable with myself has to do with you. Do you want to squeeze my fat roles?”

“Excuse me?”

“Well … I understood you want to grab and squeeze my fat, that it’s a pleasure for you – while anybody pinching into my flesh is one of my phobias. I have to overcome them. You’re the best person, because I fully trust you mean it as something positive, so please do.” Philip guided Antonia’s hand to where his belly was overhanging his belt and willed her to squeeze it.

Inadvertently Antonia dug her hand in deep, instantly tingling with desire, automatically letting her other hand wander up his fleshy side in kneading motions. She could feel he had put on quite a bit of weight over their break up, he was softer, rounder to touch and she reveled in his more pronounced roles and bulges. Losing herself in the physical sensations she reached up for a kiss to which he quickly responded by teasing her with his tongue, pulling her tightly into his body with his meaty arms.

As his hand touched her naked breast, caressing it, she jumped back as if scorched, pulled out her hands, untangled herself from his embrace to settle next to him and wrap her arms around her knees, breathing deeply a few times to regain her composure. “No Philip, no, stop it. Whatever physical insecurities you might have, you know full well I have trouble resisting you. Your warm strong softness turns me on far too much – I can’t keep my hands to myself or think straight. You’re far too intelligent to not have noticed that, actually I think you’ve been exploiting my weakness to your advantage over the past months. This is no way to start over it’s just sliding down the same muddy, rocky slope once more.”

Blushing guiltily, Philip gave her a naughty smirk: “Pleading innocent might suffer from lack of credibility! Apart from the fact that I’m mad about touching you, I noticed you probably feel the same way about me. After I had convinced myself my imagination wasn’t deluding me, I admit to having used this to my advantage. You’re not angry, are you?”

“No, it’s as much my fault as yours. And all is fair in love and war,” Antonia sighed, frustrated with herself that she had let herself literally get wrapped up in Philip again so quickly, against her resolve, while his stomach let out another loud hungry protesting growl. Standing up, she gave his belly a reassuring pat: “Okay, we need to change the order of things. It’s past 12h00, I’m getting dressed then I’m going to cook you lunch, you need healthy nourishment. You can talk to me while I cook.”

Antonia went into her bedroom, pulled out a simple empire line lilac sweat-dress and after some pondering did put on the matching lace bra and French knickers underneath, purposefully refusing to acknowledge why she chose these. Pulling her hair into a pony tail, she put on contacts and went into the kitchen.

Checking the supplies Philip had brought, Antonia quickly cut a few slices of multi-grain baguette, spread them with olive paste, tomato, mozzarella or apple, camembert, walnut, grilling them and handing them to Philip on a small plate together with a few vegetable cuts: “To tide you over while I cook. As a quick fix: how about radicchio risotto and as salad mache Nantaise with marinated champignons and seasoned ham?”

“Thank you, I’m really hungry. Menu suggestion sounds perfect,” Philip took the plate adding with a wry smile, “You love being in charge, don’t you? You’re not really comfortable if you can’t control the situation?”

Antonia took a few deep, gulping breaths and chopped shallots furiously for a few minutes before answering: “You’re right … one of my faults probably is that I’m obsessed with doing things my way, often thinking too late what this might mean for others. I’m immensely afraid of losing my independence – in every respect. That’s also why I have doubts about us starting over ….or finally starting a real relationship, whichever way you want to see it. I’m worried I would impose things on you again, making you start to evade me if you’re not comfortable with it….What really hurt me, made me realize our case is probably hopeless was that you once compared me to your mother…” wiping some tears off her cheek which followed readily from onions and emotions.

Last edited by Perry White; 12-22-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:14 PM   #88
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Default Epilogue - Part 15 - Plan A

Philip stepped next to her, carefully dabbed her cheeks with a tissue and lightly stroked her back, saying softly: “I regret that most because it’s so awfully wrong. You only have one thing in common with my mother – you both told me what you think I should do. But while my mother put unbearable pressure on me to change ….,” he swallowed very hard, unable to finish his sentence, before he inhaled and continued: “You’ve only been incredibly loving, tolerant, supportive and patient; I cannot tell you how patient you’ve been. Everything you did, bought, made me do was nothing but good for me. You encouraged me to live a normal life being as big and fat as I am… in some ways, I’m much more near-sighted than you are, because I refused to see that. All I hope for is you have some of that tolerance, support, love and patience left for me.”

Not knowing what to say, Antonia started cutting the fresh mushrooms into their marinade before she set to cleaning and washing the salad. Philip’s massive physical presence next to her was making her uneasy, so she gently asked: “Would you mind sitting down at the table? The counter here is a tight fit, I’m afraid of spilling something all over you.”

Continuing to stir the risotto while washing and arranging the salad, she glanced over at Philip fleetingly every now and then. Despite him being as heavy and handsome as ever, she observed a few subtle differences that appealed to and cautioned her simultaneously: His increased girth wrapped itself thickly around him, the big mounded belly pushed his legs apart – new was that he leaned back instead of hunching over, his powerful shoulders in line with his thick thighs, making him look broader, adding an air of command to his appearance, while he as accustomed let his elegant fingers dance over the table. He no longer seemed like the plump cuddly teddy she had fallen in love with, this was more a big strong bear, biding his time to catch her with a strike of his paw like a hapless trout. Corresponding was the unfamiliar line of determination in his chubby jaw and the challenging spark in the usual eager, adoring look in his green eyes.

To end the uncomfortable silence, with only the background noise of running water and blubbering risotto, she asked: “You mentioned you met Heather, what did she say?”

“She said two things – one of them brought me here today. First she said what she had told me several times already: That it’s my job to find out how I can be comfortable with myself, how I can handle being fat. That nobody can do that for me, not even you and that it was long overdue I tackled that.” Philip interrupted himself by drinking some water and eating three olives. “Second she told me that you still love me, I better hurry up getting back to you, prove to you that I’m working on my issues, as she says. She’s never seen you love any other guy as much as me, invest so much – I must make the most of that before it’s gone.”

“Tattle tale,” Antonia muttered indignantly. “So much for best friends! What makes her come to the conclusion I might still love you?”

“Heather said you refused to talk about me. She said that only happened when something was very important and sensitive for you, when you were not over someone or an incident yet.” Antonia felt her cheeks burn and furiously grated parmesan before frying the small cubes of seasoned ham and sprinkling them over the salad she placed before Philip.

“Would you like some white wine with lunch?”

Philip shook his head slowly, inhaled, and then said in a small voice: “I want to be honest with you Toni. It’s the only way things will hopefully work between us again. You asked whether I had anything to drink because I can talk about my weight and such…. well I didn’t. But I did take one of these light anti-anxiety pills Solange prescribed for days like these. They’re supposed to help keep my stress level manageable when I have to face situations, topics, words I dread – let me stay calm enough to think rationally, not overreact in physical panic. They’re part of the initial phase of the therapy; to see some progress before we move on to other, non pharmaceutical methods of stress relief. It’s considered unsafe to have alcohol with them, so I’m staying off drink.”

“Okay. But I poured a shot of wine into the risotto, is that a problem?”

“No, of course not. That’s very little and it’s cooked.”

Antonia leaned her head against the kitchen cupboard, closed her eyes and gulped silently. Philip’s confession made her awash with two wildly conflicting emotions. His words had sent burning hot love and pity flooding over her, knowing if she turned around now, looked at him, the next thing would be she’d be back in his arms, hugging and kissing him, telling him she loved him and would do anything to make his therapy work, make him and her happy. On the other hand, the idea of a serious, medicated therapy intimidated her because she had little confidence in her abilities at handling such a situation, icy fear trickling down into her stomach. She knew she was good, caring and supportive with normal everyday problems, but she felt awkward and incompetent around real medical issues, had always left these to her little sister.

Noticing she had been manically stirring the parmesan into the risotto, she quickly added the radicchio with a final few turns and then gave Philip a plate, who had already eaten over half his salad. “Mmmmh, delicious as always, nobody makes as good a risotto as you do, I never order it in restaurants anymore because I’m disappointed every time,” he rolled his eyes and quickly spooned down a few big bites.

“Thank you,” Antonia murmured and tried to get her constricted throat to swallow a spoonful herself. “And thank you for being so open and telling me this. It’s very brave of you.”

“Don’t know whether brave is the right word,” he shrugged. “It’s more a mixture of desperation and determination.”

“Desperation and determination? In which sense?”

“You breaking up with me left me pretty much in despair, can’t you imagine that?” he looked at her openly while she couldn’t look back, just nodded, shrugged and blushed all in one. “Yet I was determined to get you back. You’re the most wonderful person I’ve ever met, for once I couldn’t simply run away from a difficult situation because then I’d never get another chance. Even if it’s hopeless, I want to make a serious effort, not have to blame myself later for not at least trying. The only thing was I didn’t really know where to start.”

Philip finished off his plate of risotto at high speed. “Would you like a second helping? You don’t need to tell me anything if you don’t feel comfortable with it, I understand it’s difficult.”

“Thank you, more risotto is more than welcome. No, I want to tell you about … well … about what I’m working on so we might have a second, or is it a third chance. You always told me I should talk about everything. Solange says the same; she wants me to talk about myself. She put up with me writing down things because I couldn’t say them at first. We spent my entire tenth session practicing me saying: I am fat. It is okay that I am fat. It took me over half an hour to say the sentence straight for the first time.”

“Pauvre chéri, pauvre chéri,” Antonia murmured, stroking through his hair before sitting down.

“Do you know what – it’s easier for me talking to you than to Solange. You always listened so patiently, even to the things I couldn’t say. You’d hold me when you tried to make me talk, that made it seem so much safer. You’re the first person to ever give me the idea I might be not be a failure. There actually were days, like when we were together in Rome, or in Paris, or our last days in Florida when you made me forget that I’m an ‘Untermensch’ as you say in German because I’m fat. I was simply content to be myself and to be with you.”

“I tried to show you that you have every right and reason to feel good about yourself… seldom got the feeling with any success.”

“The thought was alien to me all my life. Growing up the only message was: Nothing is worth anything if you are fat – being thin is the only thing that matters. It was not only my parents, at school, doctors, society in general does not make growing up and living as a fat person an uplifting experience,” his voice was full of bitterness. “My mistake only was I had imbibed this belief so strongly, I couldn’t see beyond it, develop my own set of criteria for assessing a situation, something I’m normally good at when it isn’t about me. I let my mother’s paradigm guide and judge my life long after it no longer was adequate in any respect, except for making me feel miserable.”

In the meantime, Philip had finished his risotto and salad, while Antonia was still picking at hers. “Hey, you’re not eating; you should finish your risotto.”

“No, I’m fine, I had a late breakfast. Do you want to finish it, as well as my salad?” she indicated at the two small, barely touched portions.

“Hmmmmh, I never should, but I would like it. It’s my first meal of the day, it’s healthy, it tastes fabulous, so give it to me,” Philip sighed, and then smirked at her. “You know how much I weigh, don’t you?”

“No, I don’t … and I don’t need to know,” Antonia muttered blushing.

“Of course you do. Your calculation on my first day at ‘signC’, when you set Franck’s estimate in stone right in kilograms, was within the margin of statistical error. I actually thought you must be good with numbers at that point,” grinning at her fondly, making Antonia utter a muffled groan of embarrassment. “So, how much do I weigh today?” Philip leaned back comfortably, stuck out his belly and patted it, but Antonia shook her head, only briefly looking up. “Antonia, please, show me the only calculation you seem to be good at.”

To her surprise, his eyes were teasing so she mumbled: “About 20% more. Sizing is the only type of calculation I can handle.”

“Again within the margin of statistical error – I might be able to teach you numbers after all,” he patted his belly again. “That’s one thing you taught me, being fat is easier to bear if you regularly pat your belly, it’s soothing and calming, before you started doing it, I never dared. Despite that number, my first decision was I would no longer pursue weight loss surgery to win you back.”

“Why did you ever think that would help win me back?”

“As I said, that belief had determined my life until now. After you had scorned me for it and literally everybody I talked to about it said it was the wrong approach, Solange, Traudl, Jean-Luc, even Wouter…”

“You talked to Wouter about weight-loss surgery?” Antonia’s voice went high-pitched in surprise.

“Well, not directly. On the first Thursday I was in Antwerp with the band after you breaking up with me, I got drunk, I mean drunk. Wouter noticed something was wrong, he’s a good guy, all in all ….so hmmm… he got me to tell what happened. And I told him I was flying to Baltimore to research weight loss surgery to win you back. He shook his head that would be the measure least likely to win you back. Instead he said I should think about what you had said, what I should do, what would be good for me… follow that path.”

“Pewh, now I’m full,” Philip had cleaned Antonia’s plates; leaned back even further, rubbed the big curve of his tummy. “Do you maybe have an espresso?”

“Naturalmente. With a spoon of sugar and a shot of milk?”

“Yes please. After I sobered up, Wouter’s words set me thinking. Before starting a business you collect all information you can get regarding its success chances. Should all different sources you tap into – no matter under which aspects they study your case – tell you that your business will most likely fail, naming similar reasons, then it’s not worth starting it. Whoever I had talked to – my physicians here and in Britain, Traudl, you, Solange, Jean-Luc, Heather – everybody said I would most likely not get the desired results. In addition, I’ve never had surgery before – I’m afraid as shit of actually being operated on. So I gave up on the idea. It’s the first time I applied my business knowledge to my own life.”

He looked at her expectantly and she showed a small smile: “I’m honestly relieved to hear that. So you decided to go to Solange instead?”

“I made that decision a little before I saw you in the restaurant. I was totally at a loss what to do at that point in time. Then I met you and this Matteo … yah, and that made me go to Solange.”

A leaden silence followed in which Philip finished his espresso, took Antonia’s hands into his, lightly rubbing and kissing them. “Chopin misses you and the polar bear family so much. He refuses to sit anywhere in my flat except on my bed - and there only on your pillow.”

Tears started dropping out of Antonia’s eyes, making her blink hard and stare out the window, before she choked out: “What do you expect from me? It can’t be a good idea going through all this therapy because of me!”

“Toni chérie, it’s not only because of you. You and hopefully soon again us is only one reason I’m doing it. Where I come from, therapy is still not considered to be serious medical science; it’s something for wimps and at best women. Seeing how Saskia has been developing in a very positive way for herself, her career and ‘signC’ as a company has shown me that there might be more to it. Let me get you a tissue,” he got up and lumbered back from the bathroom with a box of tissues in his hand, rubbing Antonia’s back while she blew her nose. “I’m doing it for myself. I’m tired of feeling rotten all the time, of being afraid of everyday situations. I don’t know whether I’ll ever reach a normal weight, I mean, I’ve never been below 120 kgs in my adult life for long. But I finally would like to have a state of mind that corresponds to my actual circumstances.”

“Circumstances?”

“Well, you always told me I have a good life – I do, especially as long as you are part of it. You Americans have the right to the ‘pursuit of happiness’ – but for my old world self, happiness is too big a word. Your Kraut-part probably understands that better, since you Krauts are champions at having ‘Angst’ and being unhappy, genuinely reveling in those lousy feelings. So, simply being proportionately content would be good.”

“That’s a good goal,” Antonia sniffed and nodded. “Ja, Angst … that’s part of what I feel now. Angst … because I don’t know how to patch a relationship back up. Angst … I might not be able to help you in with your therapy, might do something wrong, not have the necessary patience. Angst…. we might have all the love, but no real trust in each other anymore – after all, I’ve run out on you twice. You’ve made me happier as well as unhappier than any other guy. You’re the most loving, considerate man I know – and at the same time you can be the most unapproachable and unreliable. It’s also Angst … that I can’t handle our emotional ups and downs anymore.”

“Toni, I know I’ve not done my part in our relationship – what I’m asking for is the chance to show you I can learn to do it. I can’t promise you miracles, all I can promise is I’ll try my very best,” he clasped his hands around hers. “I’ve seen couples get back together were much worse breaches of trust happened … be realistic, is there really that much mending necessary in our case? Don’t we still have enough of a common ground to concentrate on the future – like in any good business, where the prospects count?”

Antonia shrugged, shaking her head and nodding in small uncoordinated movements before murmuring: “This is a new idea for me, I was just trying hard to forget you. I need some time to think about it, maybe see how you manage with your therapy, how I might fit in. Please, give me some time.”

“Of course you can have some time. I came today because of what Heather had said – and because I’m leaving tomorrow for 10 days in Asia, business trip with Craig and the US colleagues to check several new manufacturer options.”

“Do you want me to take in Chopin while you’re gone?” this came out without thinking, making her blush.

“Is that a serious offer?” a sweet wondrous smile of surprise made the dimples appear in Philip’s round cheeks.

“Why not? Why should the poor kitty suffer because we’re at odds? I can do my business on day trips, come back from places like London and Düsseldorf in the evening, in that time period.” Antonia tried to sound as nonchalant and uninvolved as possible. “Would you like another espresso?”

“You’ll have a very happy cat here – and I’m very grateful. I’d prefer a cappuccino now, if that’s possible.”

“Sure. I’m sorry, I don’t have any real dessert, don’t make them for myself only. Do you want me to fix something? A plate of fruit?”

Philip shook his head. “I’m no longer trying to diet; Solange said therapy with medication would be stressful enough without a diet. That’s generally her approach, find ways to reduce unnecessary pressure, concentrate on relevant things. So two days ago – on her advice - I threw out my scale and all clothing that doesn’t fit me right now. After all - there is nothing easier in our business than getting new clothes – is there?”
Antonia grimaced and nodded, making Philip grin slightly. “Looks like you’re currently getting more samples than even you can handle. Solange also advised to play piano an hour a day, she said that probably was best for me; it would save us a lot of time and trouble finding new means to decompress further on. One part of the therapy naturally is learning to listen to what my body needs, eat three healthy meals a day until I’m full, satisfied, not stuffed – that does mean a lot of food, you know my appetite. Can we maybe go for cake, or so later, I loved that with you in the afternoons?”

“Here’s the cappuccino. Solange’s approach sounds very good and sensible. But what about your therapy if you’re gone for ten days now?”

“You don’t believe I’m serious?” he sighed wearily. “In the past three weeks, I’ve done the initial round of 20 therapy sessions. Normally that’s done in a clinic, but I couldn’t get away, also I’m done with clinics in this life. And I preferred Solange as a therapist. For my business trip I’m scheduled 5 telephone sessions with her as well as made sure I can play piano in every hotel for an hour at the bar. When I get back I’ll continue going twice a week for a minimum of six months, and then we’ll determine the interval to the end of the twelve month period. Is that good enough for you?”

“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to be critical…. I do get the feeling you’re serious…”

“Toni – what’s really the problem? Do you already have another guy?” She shook her head violently, sending her pony-tail flying. “No, of course not, no!”

“You say that you still care for me, and our problems are solvable. Why do you worry so much about whether you’ll fit into my therapy? That’s borderline absurd - I know nobody better than you to help me. You’re the best eating therapist I’ve ever had. Remember last summer? When you were still at ‘signC’ and we were revising the strategy – shit, that seems centuries ago! You’d take care of our meals; I’d eat only the food you’d prepare since we had such long days. And it worked for me – you had such a fabulous variety of dishes, nice portions, I didn’t feel I needed anything else. I didn’t lose much weight, but I didn’t gain any either – and when I got to Alpsee on summer holiday, I had a very good blood test; Traudl praised my better eating habits. That’s one reason I was so shocked when you left ‘signC’ as I came back….”

Tears were welling up again in Antonia’s eyes, so she got up and started to clear the table, stack the dishes into the dishwasher, half muttering under her breath: “I never had the impression I was getting anywhere meaningful with my efforts to support you, make you feel good ….”

“I didn’t understand what was really good for me, what I needed. So I couldn’t show you how much everything you did means for me.” Philip sighed, once gain had the so familiar look of helpless discomfort in his eyes. “Don’t look at me like that! Don’t be so defeatist! Don’t think I’m not worried too this therapy will be another failure – that I’ll never be able to handle food half-way normally. I’ve always loved to eat, had a big appetite, here in Belgium I learned a lot about good food … but there’s also … well… food was always ‘bad’, made me fat, was forbidden… I’m absolutely f***ed up as far as that goes.”

“Philip, I think this therapy with Solange is a realistic and helpful approach, but as you said yourself, it’ll need time, patience, work, overcoming set-backs.” Antonia once again felt love and tenderness battling the fear of history repeating in her. “What makes me a bit uneasy is well … it’s so absolute again… it’s … how can I say … what’s your plan B?”

“Plan B?”

“Yes, plan B. You’re plan A is to go to therapy in combination with – if I understood you correctly – of us getting back together. But what if I say ‘no’ definitely, what do you do then, what’s the plan B for that situation?”

Looking shell-shocked, Philip had the expression she knew so well, the one he mostly had before he bolted out of the room. Now he stood in the middle of the kitchen, hung his head and took a few very deep breaths before he looked up at her uneasily. Yet the streak of determination in his jaw line was back as he shook his head: ‘I don’t have a plan B. I don’t want to need a plan B. I don’t know what I’ll do if you say no. I’d probably not stay here in Brussels. Maybe I would have the bariatric surgery done and then start over somewhere else, differently…. Are you just giving me the definite ‘no’?”

“No, no, no – that’s not what I meant,” Antonia couldn’t stop shaking her head. Philip yawned and rubbed his eyes to step behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist, cradling her breasts from below, pressing himself against her so she leaned comfortably into his big pillow of a belly, resting his head on her shoulder, swaying her slightly in keeping his balance. Closing her eyes, she was overwhelmed by the customary feeling of being loved and protected, her body telling her it wanted to stay in this embrace forever. “There must be more to a relationship than perfect physical harmony, Philip! You know you can get me to jump out the window, do anything for you when you hold me like this… but that’s not enough as a foundation….”

“Solange seems to disagree with you – she was seriously shocked to hear we had no problems whatsoever with physical relations…”

“She was shocked we have sex?”

“Present tense?” Philip’s eyes lit up, while Antonia turned beet red and shook her head again. “No – when we talked about when I had felt comfortable with my body, she was extremely surprised it was often related to actual physical relations with you – she said this was very unusual, mostly that's the last step in developing a positive body image. But it showed that you must be a very loving, sensitive women; the ideal match for me. And that it increased my chances of developing an overall realistic self-image tremendously if this aspect did not need to be worked on.” He yawned again and leaned heavier on her.

“That’s all good and well, but we can’t spend our life together in bed. We have demanding stress full jobs, two households, diverging social lives, I have family on the other side of the Atlantic….,” Antonia twisted herself out of his embrace. “Maybe all these factors also got in our way, may not be the adequate fit for a relationship between us…”

“That’s part of plan A…” Philip tried to stifle another yawn.

“You’re pretty tired, aren’t you?”

“Ummmhugh, didn’t sleep very well in the past days, thinking too hard about what to tell you… and these pills do make me a bit sleepy…”

“I need to think about a few things you said in peace and quiet too. Why don’t you go take that nap in my bed while I bake us a cake? It’s still pouring outside, so no fun going out – and I have a new recipe for a Venetian apple cake with orange marmalade and Grand Marnier I want to try out.”

“Don’t bother Toni, that’s too much work. Or do you want me to help you? And I still have a few things we need to talk about… that was not all…”

“Let me first digest what you told me on my own,” she gently shoved him out of the kitchen into her bedroom, where she pulled out his set of bedding and quickly put on fresh cases. “You rest while I bake. Baking is therapeutic for me, like playing the piano for you. It’s creative, it’s a manual activity, but I can let my mind wander and sort itself out.”

He started to undress, shyly as always turning away from her. Wanting to respect his privacy, she went back towards the kitchen: “Philip, only one thing. Please give me the actual physical space and distance to think things through as long as I need to. Please don’t try to coerce cuddle me back to you, okay?”

Last edited by Perry White; 12-22-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:17 PM   #89
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Default Epilogue - Part 15 - Plan A

After putting the Venetian apple cake into the oven, setting the timer Antonia wandered into her bedroom, stood at the foot of her bed watching Philip sleep. He looked so peaceful, so adorable, his long lashes on his rosy round cheeks, his hair tumbled, his belly – more expansive than she had ever seen it – spread out fully relaxed, softly rising and falling in the rhythm of his breathing, his boxers had slipped down a little showing a ready to grab portion of soft ass cheek. Feeling emotionally drained, she craved nothing more than to snuggle up and fall asleep, but resisted since this would definitely lead to her giving in to him again. Despite knowing it would be best to go lie down on the sofa, she curled up on the far end of her side of the bed to take a short nap until the cake timer rang.

Antonia woke with a start, fearing her cake had burned smelling warm baking in her apartment. The warmth she felt was not the oven, but she was half draped around Philip, cheek pillowed against one of his fleshy man breasts, her arm over his belly mound and one leg flung across his thick thighs, secure in the nook of his arm.

“My cake… why’m lying like this?” she mumbled drowsily, struggling to sit up.

“Shhh, it’s okay, the timer rang but you didn’t wake up. I took the cake out of the oven and set it out on the grid to cool. Was that right?”

“Uughh huh,” Antonia stretched a bit, an uneasy mix of physical comfort and mental discomfort rising in her. “Why am I in your arms again?”

Philip chuckled, intensifying the feeling of physical comfort as his flab quivered under her. “I can’t answer the why question; you have to answer that for yourself. But I can tell you how. After you didn’t wake up when the timer rang, I went for the cake. As I got back into bed, you rolled over and snuggled against me shivering. Thought it was my duty to warm you,” lacing his other hand with hers on his belly, squeezing it gently.

Moaning, Antonia pinched his belly hard making him flinch, “That’s my problem, your physical closeness always outsmarts my conscious by illicitly teaming up with my subconscious.”

“That’s because your subconscious is smarter than your conscious, it knows best what’s good for you…” Philip teased, his lips grazing her cheek.

“You’re moving pretty fast from ridiculously unfounded insecurity to hubris,” Antonia grumbled.

“I hope your final assessment someday will be more like healthy, realistic confidence,” he smirked. “You asked me what my plan B is, which I don’t have; do not want to have. In my opinion, my plan A as a re-launch of your Philip&Antonia Ltd. is the best one I’ve ever developed. But I haven’t finished telling you everything about it yet…”

“Okay, let’s get it over with…”

“I’ve told you about my personal plans, what I need to do for myself and us. I want us to stay together, really together, emotionally, physically and in daily life. I’m willing to do anything for that, I’ll go to therapy as long as necessary … and hope you’ll continue helping me as you have all along, maybe even do a few couple therapy sessions with me … would you do that?”

“Ummm, I need to get a better picture of all parts of plan A first….”

“The second part of plan A is the chapter real estate…”

“Real estate?”

“You were right when you noticed everything worked so much better with us when we were travelling, not at home here in Brussels. You know what my flat looks like. I’ve never had a happy home. It’s always been better everywhere but home. Your flat here is a real home; it’s chic and stylish but also comfortable and cozy, even the bear-y over-population is somehow welcoming. I was such a gigantic idiot to get this mattress phobia, it’s bl**** unbelievable…..”

Antonia gulped in surprise: “Wow, okay, thanks, for the compliment.”

“Now the big flat two stairs down in this building is for sale. It’s a good neighborhood by local standards. If you agree, I’ll buy it, and it would be wonderful if you could turn it into a home for us…” Philip made a pregnant pause.

Antonia sat up and stared at him, lightly shaking her head in disbelief before she finally asked: “Does your plan A have more equally shocking chapters?”

“The shock hopefully is more that I went about this like a normal, reflective adult or as professionally as I would with a real business plan, not the content,” Philip rolled his eyes. “Plan A does have a third chapter – professional life. To be honest, me coming to ‘signC’ as CEO was all in all a mistake…”

“Are you serious?”

“Yah- apart from being with you which is the best that ever happened to me. But have you ever thought about how much easier things might’ve been between us if we had just met again in private to solve the damages after I spilled coffee on you at Arts-Loi?”

“Hmmm, you might have a point there. Would you’ve honestly had the nerve to meet me again in person?”

“I would’ve been quaking in my shoes, but I’d have tried to meet you again. After all, you’re the first and only woman who has ever really flirted with me … I needed to find out more about someone who is so crazed…,” Philip leaned down to kiss her intensely.

Antonia gave into the kiss, slipping her hands under his t-shirt to fondle his fleshy chest, “I was only the first to be so blatantly obvious that my flirting managed to penetrate your armor of warped self-perception,” she chided him. “What about plan A professional? There seems to be more than I expected.”

“As I said, ‘signC’ was not right for me, for two reasons. Even though things are better now than they were with Franck, the fashion culture kills me. I always feel totally déplacé, hate the looks I get when fashion people see my size. It’s not a good environment at all for seriously trying to come to terms with my fatness. Also – you sometimes tease me I’m just a finance bloke. That’s true – numbers and notes are the two things I like most, am best at. I don’t care for all the CEO, general manager fluff; it doesn’t interest me or is difficult for me.”

“You’ve really worked hard on thinking about yourself, what you want in life. That’s a very good thing. So what do you plan on doing, go back into finance?” Antonia couldn’t help but look up at him in fond admiration.

“Maybe. Right now I actually have 2 new job offers. One is head of M&A at this Franco-Belgian bank here they just bailed out – very similar, but with more responsibility than what I did at Green*Star. The other one is again a CEO/CFO of European operations position for another US company…”

“Didn’t you just say you weren’t interested in that type of work?”

“Normally not, but this would be the EU CEO/CFO for Cosmos Music!” Philip looked at her with shining eyes. “That’s the one product I would love to market, I know something about, an industry I can relate to. Plus – in the music business there are enough big fat blokes as musicians and producers, I’d no longer feel like the lone hippopotamus in a herd of gazelles. Their operations are also a lot bigger than ‘signC’, something like eight times the turnover.”

Antonia felt as if a hard knot inside her was dissolving, seeing how excited he was by these prospects, stroked his chubby cheek and through his hair. “That sounds fantastic for you! So that’s what you’re doing?”

“I haven’t made up my mind definitely yet, even though Cosmos Music is the much more tempting offer.” Philip hugged her so tightly it almost hurt. “There’s only one thing I’ve decided on – I’m definitely leaving ‘signC’ – and I’ve already selected my successor and talked to Craig.”

“Who is it? Jean-Luc? Or Arthur?”

“No- it’s the most qualified person I know – Ms. Antonia Langley.”

“But, but ….,” Antonia struggled to get out of his embrace, but he held her tighter than ever. “Let me go … I have a job….”

“Shhh,” Philip kissed her playfully but did not loosen his hold. “Listen to me, don’t kick – this is also something I’ve put a lot of thought into.”

“Why me? I’m not a CEO, I have my work at EAFR….”

“Oh yes you are,” Philip let loose a bit, turned Antonia on her back and rolled the full weight of his belly on her, his fingers expertly playing over her under her dress like on a piano. “From my start at ‘signC’, when I watched you work, I kept thinking you would be the much better CEO. With the exception of finances, you’re just as good and in most crucial fields much better than I am.”

“Are you serious? I was always worried I was being overbearing…”

“No, you were simply behaving like an executive who knew what she was doing. I was glad you went ahead with many things, since you knew more than I did. Also you often overstepping your competencies gave me more options of working directly with you, something I wanted more than anything even back then…..” Philip leaned over her heavily for another kiss. “I’m not squashing you, am I?”

Antonia dug her hands deeply into his belly to wobble it energetically. “You’re a manipulator! You know I’m wild about feeling all of you on me. How am I supposed to say no to your crazy plans while you’ve got me blissfully smothered in your sensational bulk? Especially now there’s even more of you I’m finally allowed to really cuddle! This isn’t fair! You said it yourself, I’m clueless about finances, so I can’t be CEO… anyway, I’ve been with EAFR only for half a year…”

“Total bullshit, Antonia, stop belittling yourself. Look at all the things I was clueless to completely incompetent in at ‘signC’. Sure, you’re about as awful in finances as I am in communications, but Urs is a great accountant – and I’ll be there to help you with the financial reports. That is – if you in turn stay around to help me with personal and professional communications …..,” he grinned down at her lovingly.

“Regarding EAFR, you’re already getting bored and restless there, aren’t you? As far as protocol goes, it’s a great position – but you know better than I do that there isn’t all that much work you can actually get done. EU legislation doesn’t offer much leverage in the field, it’s still either national markets or cross-national retailers and franchisers – not enough for you to do as an association. Whereas with expanding ‘signC’, you can really make things happen. As an EU-American, with your knowledge of the markets and the pleasure you take in fashion, you’re the perfect fit for the position, and the entire team will love working with you..”

Looking up at him in awe, Antonia didn’t say anything. “What’s wrong, haven’t I convinced you of the merits of plan A?”

“You’ve really planned a whole new life for us together, haven’t you? You’ve also thought a lot about me, what might work best for me…”

Philip shrugged and nodded bashfully: “At least I honestly tried. You’ve always done so much for me and us, I feel I needed to do something too to make our little business together really work and be profitable. So, what’s your assessment of plan A? Can you finally see yourself investing in it?”

Last edited by Perry White; 12-22-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:57 PM   #90
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Thank you so much for continuing I did realize two things though: 1) you were right, sometimes two people just don't end up together in real life. Why wouldn't a story maybe end that way, too? 2) As I was reading the very beginning, I came to a startling realization. I didn't necessarily want Antonia and Philip to end up together....I just wanted to know she was happy I think with a story this incredibly good you get caught up in it and want it to end romantically with a happy ever after. If this is the end, I will draw my own conclusion! Happy Holidays to you and yours as well
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:00 AM   #91
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Thank you so much for the early Christmas present!

I agree, they did not have to end up together, but closure of some sort was needed.....this works
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:33 AM   #92
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Le sigh.

I hate to see the story end. I think I could follow these two into their old age. But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and this story was a very good thing. Thank you for telling it.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:48 PM   #93
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How and why did I ever miss this lovely story??

Isn't there any way of sorting the archives here according to authors ... like in the old library?
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:12 AM   #94
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Yes, it is quite easy actually.

You can get all stories by any author by
1) clicking on the Library link at the top left of the screen ( immediately after the words and symbol Dimensions Forums > )

2) clicking on the "search this forum" link on the far right of the title bar (note that this is not the same as the "search" link, which will survey all forums, not just the library)

3) enter the desired author's name - which must be at least four characters long,

4) initialize your search.
One caveat on this: all story posts involving the author - even those made to someone else's story - will be displayed. But generally these will be few enough in number that you can disregard them.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:36 AM   #95
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I only recently discovered this story, and my god, the characters are so beautiful and well-developed. I have to choose to believe Antonia says yes. Utterly exquisite. I want to be able to buy a bound copy and lend it to friends.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:10 AM   #96
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Reread his. *contented sigh* good read...
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