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Old 11-08-2016, 09:32 PM   #26
Madeline Maple
 
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CHAPTER 12
Franny
January 3, 2014

Franny stared briefly at the red digits. "585," she read. Bracing her hand against the bedroom wall she stepped carefully off the scale.

Ever since her trip to the grocery store she hadn't been feeling that steady on her feet. So she just took it easy as she waddled around the house. She'd put a hand on a wall or on a piece of furniture as she went along. She was never really in a hurry. Only her need to sit down and give her body a break motivated her to quicken the pace at times.

Before leaving the bedroom she glanced out the window. Glistening icicles clung like stalactites. Yet another storm had dumped a few inches of snow on top of the several feet already accumulated. Franny shuddered at the mere thought of being out in that cold. She was glad to be inside and to be heading toward the cozy living room couch.

After swinging by the kitchen to grab some snacks she was ready to rest. She eased her massive rear end into the couch, flopping down the final two or three inches. As was her regular routine she arranged her snacks and opened her laptop.

The number on the scale didn't really surprise her. She knew how much she was eating these days. Plus, it had only been a month since she last weighed herself and there wasn't much change. A five pound gain in one month would be extreme for most people, but ever since last summer it had become the norm for Franny.

She looked but didn't see her desktop image, a photo of the wedding cake Mrs. Dalloway baked for her. Instead she was lost in thought.

Franny was thinking that she loved to weigh herself. In particular, she loved to weigh herself at home, when Stan was at work, when she could be alone. Her recent change in appetite felt personal. As if she were learning more about herself with every pound she gained.

Franny put her laptop to the side and reached down to grab her belly from below. It wasn't easy to stretch that far, and she had to lean forward. And to think I barely had a little bulge of a belly when I was in the 300s, she thought. Her body was changing in radical ways, and she wanted to be sure to take time to appreciate it.

Her belly dropped a few inches as she slowly moved her hands closer to the sides of her hips. Always the biggest part of her, the hips poured out on either side. She could barely reach their edges without leaning over to touch one at a time. Franny smiled as she lightly caressed her soft features.

The stretch cotton house dress was all she'd been wearing for the past month or two. She had a few other things that probably still fit, but they would be tight and uncomfortable, and these days comfort was a top priority. So once or twice a week she'd just go naked for a couple of hours while Stan washed it. At night she didn't bother with pajamas. They just got in the way.

A grumbling stomach led Franny to reach for a bag of pretzels. It had only been an hour or two that she ate a huge breakfast Stan made for her. Even a six egg omelet, several slices of buttered toast, and a package of bacon was only enough to tide Franny over to mid-morning.

Returning to her laptop she checked in on her blog. Every day she gained more hits and more comments. Recently she chose to include small ads on the margin, and those were doing so well she was considering other ways to monetize her site.

She planned to post something later in the day. A few ideas swirled around in her head, but so far there was nothing she could grab onto. Franny wasn't worried. She'd figure it out. She always did.

Her email awaited, but she was dreading it. She had already put off responding to a request to teach another online class. With everything going so well with her blog and with her writing, she didn't have a lot of spare time. Still, they were offering her a class on literature, so she was intrigued.

Out of habit she pulled on her ponytail to make it tighter. She drew a deep breath and opened her email. She knew she would have to accept the offer of an additional class so why keep putting it off?

Expecting to see the email about the class she instead saw a new email from the literary agent she hired to help her with her manuscript. The subject line read "Offer in the Works!"

Franny's heart raced as she read through the email. It looked like a publisher wanted her novel. She felt like jumping for joy but settled for raising her arms in the air and giving a spirited "Yay!" Ripples rang through the hanging flesh of her upper arms.

She cast away the empty bag of pretzels and reached for a package of Chips Ahoy as she grabbed her phone to give Stan the good news. Franny was already imagining the meal they would have to celebrate.
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Old 11-09-2016, 03:09 AM   #27
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My dreams come to life. Thank you
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Old 11-13-2016, 12:58 AM   #28
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Wonderful story
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Old 11-15-2016, 07:46 PM   #29
Madeline Maple
 
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CHAPTER 13
Stan
June 27, 2014

The edges of the pancake bubbled as Stan held his spatula at the ready. He surveyed his stovetop, observing the bacon, grits, and sausages that occupied the other three burners. The coffeemaker dripped black drops into the pot below, and Stan knew smells were wafting back to the bedroom. Won't be long now, he thought. Bubbles formed in the center of the pancake, and he flipped it with ease. He'd had a lot of practice as of late. These big breakfasts used to be weekend treats, but these days they were routine.

"Honey?"

Stan jumped at hearing his wife's voice. He rushed to the bedroom and smiled as Franny rubbed her eyes and yawned.

"It's almost ready," Stan said as he absentmindedly picked up the empty "value size" bag of M&Ms on the floor by the bed, a remnant of a midnight snack he'd left for Franny before he went to sleep.

"Do you want me to bring it to you here, or do you want to get up?"

It was a daily question he asked, and Stan noticed with more and more frequency that Franny was opting to spend the morning in bed. But today Stan guessed she would get up for breakfast, and he was right. He watched his wife swing her fleshy arms from right to left to help build momentum to propel her large legs toward the edge of the bed.

Stan held up a finger, saying "be right back." He rushed back to the kitchen and turned the burners on low. By the time he returned, Franny had worked herself to the edge of the bed with her left leg dangling off the side. Stan helped pull his wife to a seated position and slowly rubbed her back as she caught her breath.

"You ready?"

Franny answered with a quick nod, and Stan held out his hands to help steady his wife as she stood and with quick, short steps slowly waddled toward the living room couch.

Stan stole brief glances of his wife, watching her methodically make her way through the mounds of breakfast food he'd prepared. He smiled as he watched Franny eat a syrup-soaked sausage link in one bite.

After a while Franny's eating slowed. Stan was nibbling on a piece of toast as she asked, "When does her plane arrive?"

"11," Stan said as he put down the toast. "I'll have her here by 11:45...noon at the latest."

Franny slowly munched on a piece of bacon, lost in thought. After a minute, Stan spoke again, "Is there anything I should do to get things ready?" He stood and walked over to the kitchen. "I have the guest room all made up."

"Is my house dress clean?" Franny asked.

"It's all set and ready to go," he replied.

Stan had been anticipating this request. It had been more than a month since she wore her house dress, deciding instead to forego clothes altogether. All the grocery and food deliveries came in the evening, and Stan got them at the side door so no one saw her naked and so Franny didn't have to get up. It just seemed easier to go naked, and Stan didn't object since he always looked for a chance to see his expanding wife in all her glory.

On this day, Stan figured that his wife would want a little more modesty. He retrieved the large garment and presented it to Franny. He watched her run her fingers over the faded, stretched, floral print that had been the only clothes she'd worn for months before deciding to wear nothing at all.

Letting out a long sigh, Franny said, "Well, let's see how it goes."

Stan pulled his wife to her feet and helped steady her by gently pressing against the side of her voluminous hip. He pulled yard after yard of fabric over her head and slipped her arms through the armholes. Stan felt his wife grip his arm with an anxious squeeze, and he knew that was a sign that she'd soon need to sit down. The fabric bunched around Franny's midsection. Working quickly Stan pulled the fabric down, past his wife's enormous hips and thighs as the fabric stretched and strained. Miraculously, the dress remained intact.

Stan gave Franny a gentle pat as a sign she could sit down. She immediately flopped onto the couch to relieve her aching joints, and a soft ripping sound echoed through the apartment. Franny looked to her husband.

"How bad is it?" she asked.

Franny leaned forward. Stan lifted one of her hips and spied a long tear down the back of the dress, not even along one of the seams.

"To be honest...it could be better," he replied in a quiet voice.

"Well," Franny brushed away a strand of hair that had fallen out of her pony tail, "there's nothing to be done about it now."

Stan gave his wife a reassuring smile as he stroked her cheek.

"Anything else you need before I head to the airport?"

"No, that's it," Franny answered. "Thanks, sweetie." She flashed a kind, tired smile. Stan walked over and kissed his wife on her forehead.

---

The clock on the dashboard read "11:45" as Stan drove through the West Fargo suburb with his mother-in-law by his side. They exhausted their arsenal of small talk topics, and neither of them felt prepared to move on to more serious matters.

Stan could sense that Mrs. Steinfeld was worried about seeing her daughter again, and he knew she feared to find out how much weight Franny had gained. At least she knew better than to ask why her daughter wasn't there to greet her at the airport, he thought.

The car pulled to a stop in the garage, and Stan came around, opened the passenger side door, and offered his two hands to his mother-in-law to help pull her out of the seat. Mrs. Steinfeld still looked to be carrying a bit more than 400 pounds, but Stan noted how relatively small she looked to him since he was used to seeing Franny.

Stan watched from over his mother-in-law's shoulder as she entered the house and saw her daughter for the first time in three years. Stan knew that was roughly 120 pounds ago, and he had to admit that the recent weight gain to surpass 600 pounds had caused some dramatic changes.

Franny's hips remained her most outstanding feature, but the rest of her body was catching up. As she grew, boundaries were blurring between body parts.

It was no longer absolutely clear where the thighs stopped and the calves began, such was Franny's thick knees with folds of flesh that called attention away from the leg joints. Similarly, the definition between upper and lower arms was harder to discern. Franny's upper arms had developed a heavy, pendulous look with a crease of fat that folded over when she bent her elbow. The elbow itself was only visible as a dimple pulled deep within each fat laden arm.

If Mrs. Steinfeld was surprised by her daughter's transformation, she didn't show it. Rushing into the the room she draped her arms around her daughter's neck, and the two embraced for a long minute.

When Mrs. Steinfeld and Franny finished hugging, the two women sat in silence and smiled at each other. Mother and daughter shared an unspoken understanding, and Stan figured he would give them some time alone together.

As he turned to leave, Mrs. Steinfeld called out, "Oh, Stan? Please be a dear and get started on lunch." Franny's mom put a hand on her daughter's arm and said, "We are absolutely famished."

---

By dinnertime Franny had dispensed with the torn house dress. It seemed to Stan that his mother-in-law was handling her daughter's weight gain better than he expected, and Franny already seemed relaxed and happy to have her mother around.

It was actually Mrs. Steinfeld who noticed the tightness of the house dress and offered to help her daughter remove it. Stan noticed the grace and delicacy with which his mother-in-law handled her daughter's body. Mrs. Steinfeld let Franny do as much as possible, but she seemed to have an intuitive understanding of when an extremely fat person needed help. Stan made mental notes, diligently observing the caretaker techniques.

Stan expected they would keep up a pretense of modest meals while his mother-in-law visited, but after Mrs. Steinfeld asked for third helpings of the casserole he'd made for lunch, Stan decided to prepare a sizable feast for dinner.

Surveying the dinner table full of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with heavy butter, and an assortment of side dishes, Stan thought back to the incident that prompted the visit by Franny's mom.

It was a couple of months ago when a Skype call with Franny's sister led to the worst fight Stan had ever seen in his wife's family. Franny and Zoe hadn't seen each other since the wedding and had communicated only via brief texts and Facebook likes. Franny was tired of the tension and set up a Skype call to invite Zoe to visit. The call started bad and got worse.

Stan saw that Franny made an effort to frame only her face and shoulders, but Zoe immediately saw how much weight Franny had gained. In fact, it was easy to tell with Franny's fuller cheeks and added padding around the chins and neck.

Zoe chastised her sister for "losing control." In turn, Franny accused her of being a fat shamer and being obsessed with weight as the only thing that matters about a person. Zoe responded by accusing Franny of being addicted to food and in desperate need of an intervention. The sisters yelled at each other for several minutes until Zoe declared that she was going to get their mother to come and "talk some sense" into Franny. Franny was so mad she slammed the laptop closed. Then, a few weeks later, Franny got a letter from her mother saying that she'd be coming for a visit.

Stan's thoughts returned to the present as he saw how both women's plates were piled high with chicken bones. Mrs. Steinfeld was leaning back in her chair and rubbing her sizeable stomach while Franny was slowly chewing through one of the fried chicken legs that remained uneaten.

In-between bites Franny looked right at her mom and asked point blank, "So...did Zoe send you here for an intervention like she promised?"

Stan watched his mother-in-law grow tense at the question. "Your sister means well," she finally managed to say.

Expecting another huge fight, Stan sat in silence and waited for the shouting to begin. Instead, Franny drew a deep breath and said, "I know she means well." She set down the food and licked her fingers before continuing. "It's just that if she cared so much about my well being why didn't she come and visit herself?"

Mrs. Steinfeld looked at her daughter and gave a small shrug.

"It's like she thinks extreme fatness is contagious," Franny said.

Mrs. Steinfeld reached forward as far as her own belly would allow and patted her daughter's pudgy hand.

It was clear to Stan that there would be no fights that night. After a minute or two he asked, "Who saved room for dessert?"

Both women knew it was a rhetorical question.

---

Mrs. Steinfeld sat in a kitchen chair, dish towel in hand, as Stan passed dripping dishes. Franny had retired to the bedroom to catch up on some grading as the two cleaned up.

After the mostly tension-free dinner Stan was keeping conversation light, but it soon became clear that Mrs. Steinfeld had something to say.

"You have a new responsibility now, Stan," she began.

He didn't quite know what she was talking about, but he nodded nonetheless.

Stan saw that his mother-in law was looking at him intently. "Franny is going to need you more and more in ways she won't even understand," she said.

He dragged a soapy sponge over a greasy platter as he waited for her to continue.

"When people get as big as Franny they often get afraid to ask for what they really need," said Mrs. Steinfeld.

Stan turned his head to show that he was paying serious attention, but he wrinkled his eyebrows to signal that he didn't quite follow.

Mrs. Steinfeld got the hint and waved her hand at him as if shooing a pesky fly. "Oh, they get very comfortable asking for things. They ask for help out of bed, to be given a glass of water, to have their hair washed. In fact, really heavy people have to ask for nearly everything." After a pause she added, "Believe me, I know."

Stan figured his mother-in-law must be thinking of her own grandmother, the happy, massively fat woman he saw in the photograph during their visit to Florida.

With a pensive look she continued, "When a person grows past a certain point they need love and attention, and judgment and criticism just makes things worse."

Stan nodded as he turned back to his sponge and platter.

"The thing is," Mrs. Steinfeld raised a finger to emphasize her point, "they get so used to asking for the little things that they have trouble asking for what's most important."

Stan handed over the platter now ready to be dried and asked, "What's so important that they have trouble asking for?"

Mrs. Steinfeld answered immediately, "Their dignity."

Stan stood thinking for a moment before he turned back to his mother-in-law. "How can I help?" He asked.

The large woman smiled as if she had been waiting a long time for the question. "First, I'll need some sheets, preferably with a nice print." Mrs. Steinfeld set down the platter and clapped her hands together. "Second, I'll need your sewing kit."

---

Stan woke to the strong smell of coffee. Looking over to a sleeping Franny he took a minute to admire the way her rounded shoulders gently rose and fell with her breath.

Taking care not to jostle the bed, he headed for the kitchen to find his mother-in-law sipping coffee perched over an iPad.

"About time you rolled out of bed," she said smiling. Stan saw that the clock on the microwave read "6:45."

Reaching for a mug of his own Stan saw a large blue and red shape covering the dining room table. He went for a closer look and saw it was a massive tent dress made of the sheets he provided the night before.

"What do you think?" Mrs. Steinfeld called out from the kitchen.

"Looks great!" Stan answered emphatically. He had to admit that the garment was impressive. It was sewn with beautiful sheets of a high thread count featuring ornate rose blossoms over a periwinkle background. The design was simple. It featured a flat front and back with reinforced shoulder straps at the top. He noticed that there were long pleats at each side that started small at the shoulders and grew tremendously wide at the base. It looked to Stan that this dress would actually fit Franny's hips and give her room to grow. Furthermore, each seam was triple-stitched so it would be hard to tear.

It looked to Stan like the dress was lovingly crafted by a mother for her daughter. He figured that Mrs. Steinfeld must have been awake half the night to finish so quickly, and he wondered how it would be received.

"Hey, Stan! Do you have a contractor you recommend?" Mrs. Steinfeld called out.

Stan returned to the kitchen and topped off his coffee.

"A contractor? Why?"

With a wide smile Mrs. Steinfeld said, "We've got a lot of work to do."

Stan took a big gulp of coffee and nodded silently.

"And we'll also need an engineer," his mother-in-law added.

"Um..." Stan was a loss for words but finally uttered, "An engineer, too?"

"But of course," Mrs. Steinfeld replied. "How else will we know which walls we can knock down?"

Stan's eyes bulged as he dropped his coffee mug.

---

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of activity. Stan was impressed by the energy level of his 60 year old, 400 pound plus mother-in-law who never seemed to stop working. It probably helped that she was never without a cup of coffee in her hand.

Before noon Mrs. Steinfeld had a contractor come by to discuss widening doors to the bedroom and bathroom. She also pointed out places for handrails and the small steps that needed permanent slight incline ramps. But the main renovation was to make a large walk-in shower with an extra long nozzle and a reinforced seat.

Franny took the time to work, updating her blog, responding to student questions, and line editing one of her latest manuscripts. She only took a break for meals and snacked as usual throughout the day.

Before dinner an engineer came by and approved the demolishing of one of the bedroom walls. The plan was to make an extra large sliding glass door to make easy access to the outside and to give Franny a view of the garden and woods out back while she was lying in bed.

Stan could tell his mother-in-law was a little nervous when she presented the dress, but Franny took it graciously and immediately asked for help to try it on. The pleats kept the fabric from bunching too much or stretching, and by later in the day it was clear that the dress was a welcome addition.

Stan never knew his wife would want clothes, and he cursed himself a bit for not asking her. At the same time, he was so used to Franny asking for everything that it didn't dawn on him that he should anticipate her needs. He made a mental note to consider things more from her perspective.

By the end of the day, Stan was exhausted and his mother-in-law was already asleep in the guest room. He helped Franny out of her dress and eased her back into bed, positioning her supporting pillows with care.

He saw a curious look in his wife's eyes and asked, "What's on your mind?"

"I'm just thinking about how happy I am to have my mom here," Franny replied as she took a sip of water from a glass on the nightstand.

Stan smiled and tucked in a sheet around the bedside.

"And..." she added with a devilish grin, "I'm happy to have you here." Franny took her husband's hand and slowly pulled him in for a deep kiss.
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Old 11-16-2016, 07:33 AM   #30
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great story. I can see mom moving in and the author letting her expand for us older guys.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:07 PM   #31
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Awesome!
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:01 PM   #32
Madeline Maple
 
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CHAPTER 14
Franny
June 3, 2016

"T minus 15 minutes!" Mrs. Steinfeld cried.

"I'm almost done with makeup!" Susie shouted as she smoothed eyeliner with the side of her thumb.

Franny's mom was running around trying to be helpful, but she was mostly just in the way. Franny noted that Stan had the good sense to stay to the side and let the spectacle unfold.

The conference production assistant put the finishing touches on the lighting design and turned her attention to clipping a microphone to Franny.

Her friend Susie came over with a mirror. "What do you think?"

Franny saw herself with her new makeup and hair style with a fancy new blouse courtesy of her mom's sewing skills. She looked good, and she felt like she could accomplish anything.

Handing the mirror back to Susie she said, "Thanks for helping me with all this."

Susie patted her friend on the shoulder. "It's not everyday you get asked to give the keynote speech for the National Association of Online Educators."

Franny smiled.

"And you'll have...what? 20,000 people from around the world watching you in a few minutes?" Susie added.

Franny glared at her friend. "Geez, Suze, way to take the pressure off."

Susie waved away her friend, "As if you couldn't handle the pressure." Susie smoothed the ruffles on Franny's blouse. "And what was your gig last week? Some other big shot deal?"

"You mean my call-in interview for NPR with Terry Gross?" Franny replied.

Susie gave her a dirty look. "Do you know how many writers would kill for the opportunity that you just mentioned like it was a dentist appointment?" Susie smiled, but Franny could tell that she was a little envious, and honestly Franny didn't blame her.

The past couple of years had been very good to Franny. Her second novel was published to even better sales and reviews than the first. Her online teaching blog was one of the most respected in the industry, and it was so successful that she had to hire a small staff to help handle the commercial applications and social media tie-ins.

The conference PA yelled, "We go live in one minute! Everybody out of the shot except for Franny."

Franny smiled to herself. At 730 pounds she couldn't get out of the shot in less than a minute if she tried. She looked down to her spreading hips and sweeping thighs and couldn't resist surreptitiously moving her fingers until she found the edge of one of her tummy rolls, pinching it softly. She loved being built for comfort not speed.

The PA counted down, "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three..." and then mouthed the words "two" and "one" before pointing to Franny.

Franny saw a red light appear on the front of the camera. She smiled, gently released her tummy roll, and began her speech.

---

"You nailed it, girl!" Susie exclaimed as she squeezed Franny's arm.

Franny saw Stan smiling broadly as he walked into the bedroom carrying a large tray carrying an assortment of desserts. Her mom came over and gave her a big hug as everyone found space to sit on the bed around Franny.

Noticing the conference production assistant dismantle one of the lights, Franny spoke up. "That can wait. Please, join us."

The young woman turned and saw the tray full of food. "Don't mind if I do!" She licked her lips and grabbed an eclair.

Franny noticed small rolls of fat protruding from the young woman's sides. Those rolls won't stay small for long, Franny thought as she saw how the woman eagerly bit into her dessert.

"I love what you did to the place." Susie gestured to the large window with a screen door that let in soft natural light and a scenic view.

"That giant door might be big enough for both of us to squeeze through!" Susie chuckled as she grabbed the top of her pendulous belly that shook past her knees.

"Don't flatter yourself, girlfriend!" Franny said as she wagged her finger. "Maybe a few years ago we could've fit, but I think we've packed on too many pounds since then."

"You may be right." Susie leaned over and grabbed a brownie. "So what's next, Franny?" She took a little bite and continued, "Another book? More media appearances?"

Franny finished chewing as her mouth was full of profiterole. "Well first I gotta say thank you for importing Mrs. Dalloway's treats!" She gave a long sigh of contentment. "And to answer your question: it's all of the above."

Franny wiggled her toes and absently stroked the top of her hip through her blouse. "I'm making progress on the third novel, and next month I'm doing a virtual TED talk on the future of higher ed."

She grinned and raised her fleshy arms above her head. "The sky's the limit!"

---

Gripping the hallway railing with one hand and Stan's arm with the other, Franny made her way from bathroom to bedroom. She shuffled her feet as quickly as her tremendous body would allow.

As she made the turn and passed through the extra wide bedroom door, her husband said encouragingly, "Almost there, sweetie."

Franny let out a long sigh as Stan helped her sit on the edge of the bed. He slowly rubbed her back as she regained her breath.

Holding one hand on each hip, she looked down at the cascading folds of flab that hung from her belly to thighs to calves to feet. She thought that her body was a wonderful place full of mystery and variety. She felt the warmth of her husband's hand on her back, and she was glad to have him there to help enjoy what her massive body had become.

It took several minutes to get Franny in the right position where she felt comfortable to sleep. Once the ritual was complete, Stan sat on the edge of the bed with his feet dangling off the side.

"You did an amazing job with your speech, baby." He tenderly rubbed the edge of her flowing hip, so full of fat and bulging far from the rest of her body.

Franny smiled and enjoyed her husband's touch. "Susie got off alright?"

"On her way back to a Iowa," Stan confirmed.

"And mom?" Franny spoke with her eyes closed.

"Asleep in the guest room," Stan replied.

Franny felt the weight of her body sink into the soft surface below her. She loved the fact that she lay in the center of a giant bed yet her body was so large that it nearly filled the entire mattress. She felt powerful and safe, but more than that she felt sexy and sensuous.

She lifted her arm and watched the flab that hung low as her arm extended. She caressed the arm fat, feeling its weight beneath her fingers as she raised and lowered the hanging flesh. Franny noticed Stan watch as she played with her own body. She gave him an inviting look.

Stan smiled and moved closer. Franny slowly directed her husband's hand across her massive thigh down between her legs where she could no longer touch herself. She gently rocked her pelvis, a movement that was nearly imperceptible given the girth of her hips, but Stan sensed the rhythm and moved his fingers accordingly. Franny's breath quickened.

---

Flipping through a twitter feed, Franny munched on a donut careful not to get powdered sugar on her laptop.

"They are amazing, aren't they?" Mrs. Steinfeld replied while sitting on the edge of the bed. "Stan picked them up this morning from some mom and pop place that just opened."

"Just in time, too." Franny licked her lips. "I was going to scream if I ate another one of those gelatinous globs that pass for donuts at Dunkin'."

Mrs. Steinfeld quickly replied, "Oh your sister would agree! She always complains about Dunkin' Donuts."

Franny grew tense at the mention of her sister Zoe. Her mother noticed the change and looked at her daughter with compassion.

After a moment Franny spoke, "Did you invite her to come?"

Mrs. Steinfeld nodded.

"And what did she say?" Franny asked.

"Oh...you know...this and that." Franny's mother tried to look busy and rubbed talcum powder under a fold of flesh on her daughter's thigh.

Franny opened her eyes really wide and spoke in a condescending tone, "No, I don't know. What did she say exactly?"

Mrs. Steinfeld looked at her daughter and said in a soft voice, "Zoe said she didn't want to see you in your condition."

Franny slowly closed her laptop and sat quietly. After a minute a couple of tears trickled down her soft cheeks. In a shaky voice she said, "We haven't even talked for two years."

"I know, sweetie." Mrs. Steinfeld moved closer and hugged her daughter as Franny's tears turned to sobs.

Mother and daughter held their embrace. Franny felt the hole in her heart where her sister used to be.

Mrs. Steinfeld used a tissue to dry her daughter's eyes. "I have an idea," she said.

Franny cocked an eyebrow.

"I think you should call Zoe." Franny's mom rummaged through her pocket and pulled out her phone. "Use my phone. She's sure to answer."

Slowly taking the phone from her mom she asked in disbelief, "You want me to call her now?"

"Well, why not?" Mrs. Steinfeld replied.

Franny sat for a while holding her mom's phone. Before she knew it the phone was ringing.

She heard a voice say, "Hey, mom, how's it going?"

Franny didn't reply.

"Hello?"

Finally Franny mustered the courage to speak. "It's me," she managed.

Zoe didn't respond right away but finally said, "Hi Franny."

The two held an awkward silence until Franny spoke, "You haven't been returning my calls....or my Facebook messages...or my tweets..."

Zoe said nothing, but Franny continued, "I know it's because of my size." Franny drew a deep breath. "I know it's hard for you to see me get this fat."

Franny thought she might have heard the sound of muffled crying on the other end of the line, but Zoe still wasn't speaking.

Finally, Franny spoke, "Remember when you lost all that weight after that 'reality check' you had?"

Franny paused mostly for dramatic effect and went on. "We'll let me give you another reality check. I currently weigh 730 pounds, and I'll probably gain even more. I am very very fat, and it's a huge part of my life, no pun intended. I spend almost all of my time in bed, and I can barely stand without help. My husband takes care of me, and I haven't been out of the house beyond my backyard for three years."

Zoe was audibly crying now, but Franny was on a roll. "But you know what? Even with the weight I can honestly say I'm happy. I have a loving, devoted husband and a great sex life. And I have a thriving career. I assume you know about the books. And I'm highly respected in online teaching. I live a full life, even though I'm forced to live it from my bed."

Franny smiled to herself as she reflected on her current lifestyle. "And you know what, I also eat delicious food and by and large I don't feel guilty for what I put in my mouth."

The two women, separated by miles but connected through the phone, sat in silence. Franny drew another deep breath and continued. "But my life is incomplete because I don't have my sister."

At that Franny started crying again until she heard a soft voice say, "I'm so sorry, little sister."

Franny was overcome by surprise to hear Zoe apologize, and right away she was now crying tears of joy as she said, "I'm sorry, too, big sister."

The two sisters held onto the moment, and then Zoe spoke. "And there's something I have to admit."

Franny sat patiently waiting for her sister to speak.

"I'm a little jealous of you," Zoe said with a smile.

Franny blushed.







EPILOGUE

Franny types furiously on her laptop while her sister Zoe sits on the corner of the bed doing a crossword. One year has passed since the two sisters reconciled.

Zoe is visiting her sister for the second time in a year. She's slipped a bit from her constant dieting and carries a burgeoning belly. She's learned to let go of some self-hate and has even started dating a guy who admires her curves.

Franny continues on her career path. Her third novel, dedicated to her sister, is due next fall. Her weight gain is starting to plateaux, only adding twenty pounds to her 730 pound frame over the last year. She and Stan are closer than ever. It's not a perfect life, but it's her own.

Zoe looks up from her crossword. "Hey, Franny?"

Franny looks briefly at her sister while continuing to type, "Hey, what?" She says.

"The clue is 'chronically misunderstood.'" Zoe squints her eyes a little and looks to the ceiling. "Nine letters," she adds.

Franny raises her eyebrows and counts on her fingers.

She looks to Zoe and says, "Fat people?"

The two sisters smile in unison.

THE END
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:06 PM   #33
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Thanks to everyone who read Reality Check and thanks to those who left encouraging comments especially Dave the Brave. Big thanks also go to Conrad Blickenstorfer who's brought untold happiness into the world.

-MM
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:44 AM   #34
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Amazing story. Such a complete and unbiased portrayal. Thank you.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:55 AM   #35
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Thanks for the story MM!
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Old 11-23-2016, 12:26 PM   #36
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Such a wonderful story. I'm sad that it's finished now.
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:53 AM   #37
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What a wonderful, full story! I love the way the writing portrays a complicated nature of extreme fatness. It's more honest, and truthfully, hot.

Thanks for the shout-out MM! I can imagine a decent amount of time went into this, but I have to say I can't wait for the next one!
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:56 PM   #38
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This was wonderful. I look forward to more writing from you.


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