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Old 04-12-2015, 11:34 PM   #176
StrugglingWriter
 
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It was sitting out in the middle of the bathroom floor, almost like it had been waiting for her while she was gone. And why wouldn’t it? It was exactly where she’d left it not even two weeks ago, when 184 pounds had seemed like an endpoint and not a waypoint. Since the thought had begun in the back of her mind every day since: I wonder how bad the damage is now?

Kelly would have to face it tonight. And she would, but not now. There was too much to do.

She left the door open behind her and retreated out of Gail’s room with robe in hand and to her iPhone, already charged to 54%, off the way it was and plugged into the wall and all. She turned it on, let her moist, heavy towel fall to the floor with a thud, and slipped on Gail’s robe.

She breathed a silent “Thank you” that it hung so loosely around her.

She was momentarily startled by the sound of her iPhone blowing up with message notifications, the vibration amplified by the hard subway tile of the kitchen counter. She noticed with irritation that the “Voicemail pending…” message was still hanging at the top of the screen.

Whatever, it didn’t have a lot to do with what she was doing right now. She gave her messages a quick glance: nothing really of any importance. Blurbs from Wade: “where u go,” “when u home,” “text me”—that kind of thing—and that was about it. Kelly wasn’t much for texting and everyone who knew her knew that. Why waste time spelling out words when what she really wanted to was talk?

“Dial Wade,” she told it. “Calling Wade,” Siri replied courteously.

“Hey, Babe. What’s up?” Kelly’s heart fluttered at the sound of his voice.

“I’m back, that’s what’s up!”

“Oh, cool. Uh, what time is it?”

“I dunno. “ It was 9:30. “Does that matter? Can you come over?”

“Sure. I’ll be right over!”

“No, wait! I’m not ready! Can you wait an hour?”

“An hour? Christ, Kelly.” Kelly hated when people said that. “OK. What am I supposed to do until then?”

“Gee, Wade, I don’t know. Think of something.” Kelly did. “Hey—why don’t you pick us up some sandwiches or a pizza or something? I’ve hardly eaten all day.”

“That’s my girl.” And he was gone before Kelly could retort. Not that she had a leg to stand on anyway.

That settled it was in to the bathroom to dry her hair and put on her make-up. But that had all been packed away, too. She poked her head with its towel tiara into her room, and sitting on the floor was all of her new luggage—and her old luggage as well. Along with her folded bedding and the pink plastic crates she used as storage bins, tidily packed with her jewelry box, picture frames and the like—and yes, her bathroom supplies, including her hairdryer. It looked like an awful lot of stuff piled all there together, though she’d thought of herself as living sparsely while at Gail’s that summer. I guess I should be grateful she took the time to do all that for me for my move back to the house. But she wasn’t. It just made her feel like she’d been an unwanted guest all summer.

“No time to worry about that now!” she told herself out loud. She fished out her dryer and her straightener, tossed her towels aside, and went to work on her thick, long blond hair. She finished about the time the buzzer went off on the dryer and bustled over to put on her clothes.

Wait! She covered herself by throwing her unmentionables in the delicate cycle. Then she turned with purpose and let out a long sighhhh.

She felt like she was walking to her sentencing hearing.

She stepped on without pausing and waited a few moments, then executed the gymnastics move of the bodaciously buxom. It hit her like a punch to the gut.

203.8

It wasn’t possible! 203.8. 203.8! Ohmigod. Ohmigod!

She checked it again and stepped backward off the scale, her hands to the side of her head. Twenty pounds in two weeks! Twenty pounds in two weeks!! No wonder nothing fit right. No wonder she’d filled the airline seat. No wonder she felt so big! Never had she conceived that she could ever, ever reach over 200 pounds. Feeling it on your hips, when you moved, in the mirror—that was all one thing. That looks fat. But seeing it in black and—er—grey? A whole different matter. There was no tranquility like before, no calm acceptance of consequences dutifully deserved, of quiet recognition of the need for change. 200 pounds meant fat. It meant she was out of control. For the first time she wondered if she could ever make it back. Why did she gain weight so easily?

Kelly Kingsley, you are hereby sentenced to a lifetime of being fat.

She flopped her hands against the wall, her head still in her hands, and despite all the willpower she could muster, sobbed harder than she ever had this long hard summer. It isn’t fair, it isn’t fair, it isn’t fair!!

Kelly didn’t know how long she stood there sobbing, but as she did, her thoughts started to turn away from how utterly defeated she felt to just exactly what her face was going to look like if she kept up. Big girls do cry, her mother had always told her, but not if it meant messing up their make-up. It was a line that had always made her laugh, and though it didn’t quite do that this time, it did help her ratchet them back a bit. She bent down and draped Gail’s fluffy pink robe over her shoulders, which helped her feel a little better, too. She gave her face a good wash with warm water, and by the time she was finished her tears had run their course.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:47 PM   #177
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Get a grip, Kelly. Nothing’s different than it was 20 minutes ago. Or whatever it was.

She walked past the dryer, which was still working on its load (a good sign), and began crossing the living room, when she was startled again by the echoing rattle and repetitive chimes of her phone blowing up. She turned back to look at it and saw that her phone had finally picked up her voicemail—and man, was there a lot of it! Three, four…six, eight messages, eleven. Eleven! All since Friday! She unplugged her phone and took it with her to the bathroom to plow her way through while she worked on her make-up.

The first couple were from Wade, just the voice versions of the texts he’d sent during those awful attempts at connecting while on the cruise ship. But shortly afterward was one from her mom. She punched it and listened while working on the dark bags under her eyes.

“Hey, Baby. I was hoping I’d get a chance to hear your voice when it wasn’t just a voice mail greeting. Just wrapping up here with your father in New York and calling to let you know I’ve missed seeing you and that I hope your trip has been even better than we hoped it could be! I’m so proud of you! You’re the best daughter a mom could ever hope for, and you’ve earned very right to indulge yourself a little—or a lot! Grab an extra dessert at the buffet for me! I love you!”

That made Kelly smile in wonder. Such a difference from the waist-pinching calorie counter she’d grown up with! She took a closer look at the messages and was surprised to see a message from Marla. Of all people! Of course, she was probably back in town with Rush starting, and they did have a nice time this summer—well, except for the whole Chip thing. Kelly laughed inside at herself, again anticipating tonight’s rendezvous with Wade. How could she have ever gotten worked up over Chip! Kelly punched play with her index finger and started working on smoking up her eyes a bit.

“Ohmigod! Kelly! This is Marla. You must be freaking out!! I wonder who would do something like that? Call me if there’s any way I can help. Or, call me even if I can’t! Thinking about you!”

Well that was mysterious! Who could do something like what? Annoyingly, all of the new messages had the same time and date stamp—just now, when the messages had finally downloaded from whatever dark, Mexican prison they’d apparently been stuck in all this time. Marla’s voice made it sound like it was really bad—but on the other hand, it was Marla, and she never seemed quite up to speed with how Americans should react to anything. Probably just the latest backbiting from Lindsey’s crowd about Kelly’s quiet exit from the house that summer. Well, I guess that’s to be expected. Still, it dampened her excitement a bit about the flak she might face from some of the other girls about having to move back in.

Speaking of which, it was a little odd she hadn’t heard anything about it.
One eye done, she scrolled up through the messages, deleting a few more hangups from Wade as she searched for a message from Sherry about getting established again over at the Phi Gamma house.

Nothing.

But there was a longer one from Wade: “Hey, Babe. Couldn’t stop thinking about your rockin’ hot bod and what I’m gonna do to it when you get back home. Hope you catch a workout or two in between the buffets, cause you’re gonna need to be fueled, rested AND conditioned for the workout I have planned for you! Oh, and Gail wanted me to help with your move back into the house. Uhhhh, I can’t do too much late this weekend, but Monday morning will probably work out. Just don’t give me too much work, OK? Camp absolutely kicked my butt this last week.”

He added a few things that made Kelly blush but that won’t go repeated here. However full Kelly’s hips felt before that message, a completely different fullness flooded across them after that message. That, and her dangling aereoles all but had her hanging breasts doing pushups off the ceramic sink as she leaned in to finish her eyes. All other concerns faded instantly from Kelly’s mind. She resisted the impulse to call him right away. Easy girl, you’ve still got some work to do here! She carefully brushed on her mascara, followed by a dusting of bronzer on her already bronzed skin before turning on her heel and back over to the dryer for her Kiyonna sundress.

By now there were two messages left, one of them from someone she didn’t know. The other message was from Gail: “Hey, Kell, just want to let you know I’m out and about today and won’t be able to pick you up from the airport. I went ahead and ordered that limo again for you, so don’t stress out or anything.” Of course she hadn’t stressed out. She’d figured that would be arranged somehow or other. “Don’t freak out if you see your stuff sitting out and ready to go. We just have to—well, you’ll get it when I get there. I mean, hopefully I’ll be there on time, but if not, pull a bottle or two of the Chardonnay out of the fridge for us, will you? I shouldn’t be too late. Thanks! Loveya!”

Kelly had a pretty good idea of what “us” meant, and that “one or two” definitely meant “two,” but she pulled them for Gail all the same and set a few glasses in the empty space in the fridge for chilling. With that she grabbed her phone to investigate that last message and marched back to her bathroom for final inspection. She stood a distance from the mirror and looked herself over. From there it wasn’t her 200 pounds that was obvious: it was her cavernous cleavage and soft lines, heightened by the stretchy cut of her plus-size dress designed just so to highlight the most outrageous damn hourglass figure Kelly could ever remember seeing. She was as proud of how she looked in that moment than at any time in recent memory. She stepped forward and painted on her lipstick as she listened to the final message.

“Hi, uh, Kelly. This is Dustin. Uh, Lierman. Dr. Lierman. Hooboy, this really hit me by surprise. Like a ton of bricks, actually. I was really counting on you. Why don’t you—I mean, if you’re around, if you have the chance and aren’t back home or something. Stop by on Monday morning and let’s talk. Maybe we can find a way to do this thing anyway. It’s just really … disappointing. Anyway, I don’t know what we can do, but maybe by then either you or I will have thought of something. I mean, we can almost always work something out, right? Just call me on this number. It’s my cell. I’ll be in my office about 10 in the morning.”

Whoa.

Marla, Gail, now Lierman—all mysterious, even ominous. The same sense of dread she felt outside Lierman’s office two weeks ago took hold of her now. Was there a problem with her grade? Did this mean she wouldn’t pass this semester after all!? But he said he’d give me an A! She recalled there was some condition or other about working for him this next Fall, by helping out in some lab or something. Did that fall through or something? Ohmigod, he’s not gonna fail me just because he couldn’t get his stupid lab, will he? It’s not my fault!

She had to know. Now. She couldn’t call now, could she? She looked at her phone for the time: 10:15. Surely he’d be asleep. He’d be pissed. OK. She could wait. Whatever he wanted to do for her, she’d blow it if she made a call right now. But if she had to wait all night to find out, she might just--

Just then the doorbell rang. Wade!

Kelly all-but skipped to the door. If there was any better time for any better person to show up, it was Wade, right now. She swung open the door.

“Thank God you’re here!”

“Hi, Baby.”

Kelly stopped short. It was her mother.

“Mommy!” Even better!! Kelly stepped down off the threshold and stretched her arms around Elizabeth Kingsley’s rounded figure—astonished, like last time, how little her arms made it around. She then stepped back. “What are you doing here?”

Elizabeth gave a wan smile, its purpose clearly meant to hold back tears.

“I’m sorry, Baby. I left your father.”
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:13 PM   #178
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Kelly couldn’t believe it was her. And not just because she was so unexpected. Her mother had been bigger than Kelly was used to for some time, but even her most recent trip home could not have prepared her for just how fat her mother was now.

It was her face. Elizabeth Kingsley had always had big, wide eyes. Now, even at her age, her smile created puffy half-moons that threatened to obscure the bottom edges. Her dimpled cheeks were full and round, widening her face at the ears and fully obscuring the line of the elfin jaw that she had passed on to her daughter. Now, her chin was like a white island in a marshmallow sea of chub that rounded out her face from ear to ear—a billowing but still-firm double-chin that transformed her face from matronly to fulsome.

It was also her arms. Mrs. Kingsley wore a blue cotton sleeveless dress that fully exposed her fleshy, white, massive upper arms and shoulders, impressing upon the observer how truly wide she had become. Her arms didn’t hang to her sides—rather they rested on her sides at an outward angle and melded with the several little blue rolls that despite the pleats beneath her bodice were birthed by the pressure of a dress that she clearly should have discarded a number of pounds ago.

It was her breasts. Strapped in as they were, they lay at the joint of the fleshy, dimpled elbows that poked out from behind them at each side. That effect was accentuated by the stretched fabric pulling from each direction on each of the buttons clinging to her centerline, triangles of white tank top peeking out from the windows in stark contrast to the blue of the dress.

And it was her belly, roundly pressed against her thighs by the strained fabric, its plainly visible outline extending like a smile from one fattened hip to the other, its vast spherical shape highlighted by the curved line of buttons from top to bottom—not stretched to bursting like the bodice above but laid flat against the vast mound of flesh nonetheless. Clearly only the two unfastened buttons from the hem allowed her to walk at all.

Or sit, as she was now, caddy corner, one overstuffed arm lying on the overstuffed arm of the couch, the other arm squashing the oversized back cushions down to normal size. She’d unbuttoned one or two more buttons, revealing shaping shorts underneath that, despite the squeezed roll of flesh oozed out of the triangle formed by the strained, half-buttoned denim dress, was the only thing preventing full view of every bit of Elizabeth’s bloated thighs and her—well, Kelly was just glad it was covered.

Gail was straddled similarly in the other corner of the couch. With her mother as a point of comparison, Kelly couldn’t help but be struck by the sheer size of Gail’s belly. Whereas flesh from Elizabeth’s hips and thighs spread out to cover a full seat cushion and part of another, Gail’s wide hips seemed merely like a broader—but still firm—version of the typical woman’s. Her cheeks were full—fuller, it seemed than when Kelly last saw her--but that was hard to tell given the variations in the amount of alcohol Gail had consumed at any one time. But her belly, covered by a dark blue draped top as it was, sat on her lap halfway to her knees, looking a lot like Inky the ghost from the Pac Man arcade game in the basement of Kelly’s house.

Except, as Elizabeth was explaining calmly, it wasn’t Kelly’s house anymore.

“The house is in dispute.” As a result of the divorce action, everything was in dispute, the finances were frozen. “I’ve changed the locks, and it’s under guard, and all of your father’s stuff is out of it.” By what means, Kelly could only guess. “And by the time I’m done it’ll be ours, Honey.”

Kelly didn’t like the sound of “ours” in this context, knowing it didn’t include her father. But double triangulated by the three wine glasses on the table (only Kelly’s glass was still full) and three plates of pizza (only Kelly’s plate was untouched) was a manila envelope of pictures that made it indisputable that for some time her father had been consorting with other women.

A lot of other women.

There were photos of her dad with blondes, brunettes, younger women, women Elizabeth’s age, skinny women, chubby women—you name it, her father was with them. In clubs, restaurants, hotel lobbies. “I’m sorry to spring these on you. I thought you would need to see them to believe.”

Elizabeth was right. Kelly’s heart wanted to deny it. But her eyes, blurred as they were by tears, saw it clearly. Except….

Kelly looked up at her mother, the terrible question forming on her lips.

“I didn’t include the worst of them.” It was the first time tears had formed in her mother’s eyes since she arrived. Kelly had never really stopped crying, but the spiggot opened full with her mother’s words.

This inevitable moment, of course, had been the reason for Kelly’s diversion away from home. Elizabeth had explained about her trip to New York. About confronting Kelly’s father with the evidence, gathered on the sly the last few years by an expensive NYC private detective (on his dime, of course). There could be only one reason for Kelly's opulent vacation accommodations and the limitless credit cards: a deliberate act of financial revenge aimed at her father. It was also the reason for the collusion between Gail and her mother behind her back. And, for the prompt removal of Kelly’s things for what clearly was going to be her mother’s room for an indeterminate amount of time.

Kelly knew she should be compassionate. She knew she should be mad at her father and in solidarity with her mother. She wanted to be mad at him. But right now all she knew was that everything she had ever known about her life had just changed radically because of her. For as long as she could remember, when Kelly was upset, it was her Mommy she ran to for comforting words and a hug. And, usually, some sort of calorific comfort food. But the pizza in front of her was unappetizing and the thought of hugging her corpulent mother for comfort felt like a bitter act of betrayal against her father. So she sat and cried wordlessly, the only sound her repeated sniffling, trying to grasp what life had for her now, and trying not to lash out at the person who, though most victimized in this horrible situation, was the one person she most wanted to punish for causing her this sudden and wrenching pain.

The doorbell saved her. Wade! In the shock of her mother's arrival, Kelly had completely forgotten about anything else. “I got it!” she exclaimed.

She popped up—or rather, she tried to pop up. She had to rock back, then forward, then push her way up on the table. The momentary surprise was momentary, and she bounced her way to the door and ripped it open and flung herself through.

She only just avoided crashing into Wade. Now, if anyone could handle that kind of hit it was Wade, but it would have been disastrous for the pile of food containers he deftly shifted into the crook of one arm.

“Jesus, Kelly. I know you said you’re hungry, but—“ Then he saw her tear-streaked face.

“I want to go away. Get me out of here!”

Wade looked at his stack of food, then above Kelly’s head to the women on the couch, and hesitated.

“Please, Wade! Pleeeeeease get me away from here now.” She pulled the door behind her and grabbed Wade’s now-free hand, then led Wade back down the sidewalk toward his monster truck.

“Sure, sure,” Wade stammered, helping her with his one arm best he could into the truck then placing the food in the floorboard of the extended cab. “Where we going?”

“I don’t care,” Kelly snuffled, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. “Anywhere you can take me and fuck the shit out of me.”
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:48 PM   #179
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He did. On the bench of the cab, door open to accommodate Wade’s long form. Around the corner down the alley that ran behind the house. Kelly yelled and screamed at Wade to pound her harder, setting every nerve in her willing pussy afire. She let loose massive groans as one spasm after another hit her, each gripping her harder than the next, her back arching higher and higher as she crossed the threshold and back from ecstasy into pain, time and again cutting off Wade’s rhythm as she squeezed his cock with her vagina harder than she had ever believed could be possible. Still she cried for more and Wade pushed back again and again until with a violent push he came, and Kelly let out a high squeal, trembling with tension and tears before Wade collapsed on top of her and they panted together in the darkness, the ambient sounds of the city at night the only other thing in their ears.

Before long Kelly tearfully whispered to Wade to go again, and methodically, with long, firm strokes—the kind a young man could only do on his second go around—he slowly and thoroughly stimulated massaged every last part of her, one hand holding himself up while the other, with Kelly’s breasts still constrained by the scratchy constraints of her fashion bra, wandering across the soft flesh of her fulsome tummy to the exaggerated curve of her flattened hips and down to her thick thighs and back. He came again after a prolonged arch of his back and a violent final thrust, then pushed himself up onto one knee and began cleaning them both with a few of the fast food napkins that were scattered across the floor.

And though the tears had finally stopped, still Kelly felt nothing but emptiness and ache. She reached down beyond the bundle of the dress they’d hastily pulled up her sides and up and around the curve of her side, beyond that new flesh y bump of fat and down to her clit, where she slowly and gently rubbed herself to feel the warmth, the glow, the moisture, the soreness, and the biting, chaffing pain from their strenuous copulation. She focused on the gentle comfort of her own practiced, knowledgeable ministrations and let herself become aware of nothing else—not Wade or the truck or the alley around them, not fears about discovery or the inevitable return home or concerns about tomorrow. Kelly floated for a time in limbo, floating on some ephemeral Nirvana of numbness, detachment and contentment.

Until the bubble was burst by the sudden yawning, painful chasm of a desperate stomach, awakened by the smell of buttery, cheesy garlic bread wafting from the Styrofoam container that Wade had just opened. Her passionless escape was replaced again by her aching heart and the passionate needs of her yearning stomach. She reached up with both hands for a piece of bread.

“So then I guess you’re good and fucked?” Wade grinned, clearly hoping for compliments on what he clearly regarded to be an All-Star performance.
Kelly brought a finger to her lips to solicit is silence, the effort in the gesture and her still-heavy breathing her first recognition of the extreme workout she’d just had. Then she opened her lips and pointed her finger to her mouth.

Wade leaned forward and obliged her. Kelly filled her mouth with the crunchy, buttery, savory goodness of the bread, struggling to chew from the sheer enormity of the bite she had taken. She managed a swallow, and Wade leaned forward to give her more. Kelly used the occasion to reach up with her other hand to Wade’s now-clothed crotch to rub the flaccid penis behind his zipper, feeling rather than seeing him pull away from the gesture in pain. She pointed again for the bite of bread, this time reaching inside Wade’s untucked shirt to stroke his abdomen. She was surprised to feel some give in his stomach instead of the hard washboard she had become accustomed to exploring. The observation was lost in the next enormous bite of cheesy garlic bread, and the third much smaller bite he pushed into her mouth to polish it off. She smiled with her mouth full as she struggled to chew, then took her hand away from Wade’s abdomen and took Wade’s greasy hand in hers, guiding it down to her still naked genitals and inviting him to stroke the still-pulsing, burning, tingling lips.

They stayed that way for a while longer, Kelly greedily biting into first garlic bread, then pepperoni pizza, the only words Kelly’s instructions to Wade about what and where to touch and what he could feed to her next. Kelly provided Wade patient instruction, aided by his fulfillment of the other yawning hunger she felt just a hand span higher up her abdomen, until again her concentration abated from her surroundings and focused again on the pulsating heat between her legs and into her hips and pelvis. She shook and gyrated, giving him encouragement with increasing frequency until the convulsions finally came, punctuated by one last long arch of her back and a breathy, exhausted collapse onto the sweaty leather seat.

After due course Kelly sat herself up and put herself together, and Wade closed the door and started the truck with a rumble to run the air conditioning and beat back the muggy Southern night. They each ate their halves of the Italian sandwiches Wade had brought along with the pizza and bread, washing it down with the tepid Pepsi they swigged straight from the sweaty two-liter. They spoke nothing of what had just transpired and filled each other in on the minute details of their week apart, Wade talking about the rigors of camp, adjusting to life without the expectation of playing this upcoming season, and his time at the gym and the training table.

At first mention of the training table and his description of his progress toward his new playing weight, Wade winked and noted, “And I see you’ve been doing pretty good work at the training table yourself.”

To which Kelly smiled wanly and said nothing, taking another bite of her chocolate lava crunch cake, which she was again reminded had to be her favorite food in the world, despite recently abandoning this conviction at other times, in the heat of the moment. If there was anything Kelly couldn’t give a damn about right now, it was her weight.

Instead she told Wade about her time at Disney, which he already knew about, and the cruise, which he had pretty much guessed about. He’d heard about Jenny already, and he was surprised to hear that the young woman Kelly had been complaining about only a week before could suddenly be described in so different a light.

“My mother just moved in,” she finally blurted out of nowhere. “She caught my father cheating on her and is fighting him in a divorce.”

Wade paused. “That sucks,” he answered, as genuine as he had ever sounded. “That’s so humiliating. Man, that sucks.” He took a swig of Pepsi and passed it over to Kelly.

“Yeah,” she said, then took a swig herself, suddenly aware of the pressure the sugar and carbonation was placing on her satiated stomach. She breathed out a silent burp and lay back against the bench cushion. “I guess you should take me home,” she finally said. “Except my mother took my room, so I guess I don’t really have a home anymore.”

“No big deal,” Wade shrugged. “We’ll be moving you in tomorrow over at the Phi Gamma house tomorrow anyway.”

Kelly’s heart leapt. Not because of Phi Gamma, which was the first time she’d even thought of it since she first heard the doorbell tonight, but because she realized that Wade was already planning on helping her make the move, and the thought they were completing that task together filled her heart with joy. She knew in that moment that she was hopelessly, smittenly in love. When Wade said goodbye to her on the porch that evening, she put all of that love into the deep embrace and long, slow kiss they exchanged. Kelly didn’t know it, but it was their first and only kiss of the night—in fact, the only tender physical expression of affection they had shared all evening.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:29 PM   #180
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Default Regret

When Kelly walked inside, her mother and her luggage were gone, the faint sound of snores from behind the closed door of her room the only reminder she had been there. Gail was sitting at the computer station as if working, though it seemed clear enough she was waiting up for Kelly. Gail grabbed her glass of wine and slowly, carefully worked her way to sit down at the kitchen table, a sure sign that Kelly’s absence had been filled with copious amounts of wine—which, now that she thought about it, explained the snores coming from her—er, her mother’s—room.

“You could have told me,” Kelly said with a tinge of resentment, sitting down as tears started to well up again in her eyes.

“I could have,” Gail replied matter-of-factly. “But I know you’re just saying that. In fact, you’re glad we did what we did. All knowing would have done was extend the misery you’ve felt the last two hours by another two weeks.”

Gail couldn’t guess how little misery Kelly had been free to experience the last two hours, but nevertheless Gail’s assertion washed away the mild bitterness she harbored like a subtle spell. All that was missing was Obi Wan’s slight wave of the hand (although Kelly would have never understood the reference). The truth was, like usual, that Gail was right, and what was clear was how much she, and her mother, loved her and had her best interests at heart.

“Yeah,” she finally said. “I know you’re right. And I know Mommy is, too. It’s just that I—I just spent two weeks reaping the benefits of my Daddy’s name, and suddenly….I love my Daddy, too, you know?”

“Yeah I do,” Gail muttered non-committally.

“I mean, I can’t just start hating him.”

“Nobody’s asking you to, Kelly.” She sighed. “Let me tell you the best thing anyone told me when my parents split up.”

That got Kelly’s attention. She didn’t know Gail’s parents were divorced.

“It has nothing to do with you. There’s nothing you did to make it happen, and there’s nothing you can do to get them back together. It’s about them and their relationship—even their mistakes. There’s no point wallowing in misery. All you can do is love each of them despite it all and move forward with your life.” Gail tossed off her half-glass of wine, then leaned over the table so she could push back her chair and push herself up. Kelly could see that Gail’s jeans were unbuttoned.

Move forward. “About that,” Kelly started while Gail rinsed out her glass, “I saw you got all my stuff together—and I really appreciate it.” She didn’t—or, she hadn’t earlier—but sometimes you just have to say things. “It must have been a lot of work. But, does that mean you’ve talked to Sherry?”

“Talked to Sherry?” Gail stepped carefully over to the fridge and reached in, pulling out a couple of beers.

“About moving back into the house. I haven’t heard anything from her about it.”

Gail sat down and popped each of the beers, sliding one over. She opened the pizza box and pushed it Kelly’s direction, too.

“No thanks,” Kelly said. “I already ate, and I don’t really feel like drinking.”

“It’s a tough night. A drink might do you some good.” She took a strong pull from hers.

Kelly took a small sip out of deference but had no intention of drinking more.

“I haven’t talked to Sherry since that night you and I talked to her together on your phone,” Gail offered. “Hadn’t talked to her before that for years, not until she called me about you.”

That wasn’t what Kelly was hoping to hear. “Do you think that means they’re not gonna let me back in?” Being back in Phi Gamma wasn’t so much her concern at this point as it was having a place to stay.

Oh, God! It hit her. I don’t have a home!!!

“Don’ worry, Kelly,” Gail assured her, the slightest waver in her voice clueing Kelly in (but, had anyone been here, likely very few other people in the world) that Gail was drunker than she let on. “You have a home here if you need it.”

“Thanks.” Home hadn’t sounded so good to her for quite a while. But there was the other stuff, too: those strange voice mails.

“But there’s some other stuff, too. I got some strange voice mails. From my friend Marla, like someone had done something bad to me. You think it could have been someone from Phi Gamma? And there was one from Lierman, too, about how he was disappointed and that we should have some emergency meeting or something tomorrow morning to figure something out.” Now that she was recounting it, she felt a little panicky again.

She felt even more panicky when she saw the look of dread that crossed Gail’s face, like she was about to break her some bad news. Which, Kelly speculated as her stomach fell, was probably tonight’s reason for drinking too much.

“I don’t know anything about what your friend might know, and I could make a few guesses about why Sherry hasn’t called you—though none of them would be very nice. But I’m pretty positive why Lierman wants to meet with you tomorrow.” She pulled a tri-folded piece of paper out from behind the napkin holder and pushed it over. “It’s a tough night.”

The letter was addressed to her on that all-too-familiar university letterhead.

“We regret to inform you that as a result of your unsatisfactory academic progress, consistent with university policies of which we informed you in May, we are writing to inform you that you have been expelled….”
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:50 AM   #181
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Default Expelled, shmelled.

“So that’s it, then,” Kelly murmured. After this evening, Phi Gamma, or even college, just didn’t seem all that important. But she couldn’t forget this also meant she was losing out on her housing for the fall, not to mention the money flow from her dad. And just the thought she had failed. That the word “expelled” suddenly applied to her…

“I guess I’ll just get a job, maybe at a gym or something. I could get back in shape and still earn some—“

“That’s it?” Gail interrupted, sitting back heavily in her seat. Her head bobbed unsteadily a bit with the motion. “Two weeks ago you had this thing in the bag. Now you’re ready to just give up.”

“No!” Kelly reacted instinctively, then paused. “Well, yeah. I failed. There’s nothing else to do. At least now I know why Sherry hasn’t called me.”

Pfft!” Gail exclaimed, which with the wine and the late hour came out more like a raspberry. “Sherry hasn’t called you because she’s a—“ Gail stopped herself, and Kelly wasn’t at all interested in learning he details about Gail’s clearly negative opinion of Sherry. “Sherry hasn’t called you because she’s barely thought of you, and that’s just the way Sherry is.”

Kelly wanted to argue with her. Well, she didn’t, but that was only because she felt defeated in every way. It was pretty much undebatable that even as her sorority big sister, Sherry had done next to nothing to keep up with her progress all summer.

“It doesn’t matter. If she doesn’t know I’m expelled, she will soon enough.”

To that Gail reached across the table and held up the letter by its corner. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” She had a little twinkle in her eye.

“You have a plan,” Kelly guessed.

Gail smiled.

Of course she does.
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:28 PM   #182
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Default

The key component of Gail’s plan: “You need to get to Sherry’s copy of that letter before she does.”

That meant getting over to Phi Gamma soon as possible. But there was one hurdle to overcome before even that: meeting with Lierman.

10:20 am the next morning, stuffed into her newest pair of jeans (one of two that she could button), Kelly walked into Lierman’s office. That was because when she arrived at Lierman’s old office, she found he’d been moved to another, larger, slightly nicer office upstairs—BUT on the other side of the building. Stacks of books, papers, and office supplies were still lined up against the walls after the move.

“I don’t know what happened,” was what Kelly told him once the niceties were exchanged.

“I don’t either,” Lierman moped, rubbing his expansive forehead. Kelly was figuring out this Lierman was a pretty emotional guy. “I thought I had you all set up for success, too!”

“No,” Kelly said. “I really don’t know what happened.”

Kelly explained receiving the voice mail and the letter last night, and Lierman stared at her kind of blankly for a moment. “Oh! You mean, you don’t know why you were expelled?”

“Yes. That’s what I’m saying.” She felt a little irritated at the misunderstanding, all the while wondering if people felt the same way about her from time to time. “You told me you were gonna give me an A, but, what, you changed your mind or something?”

Again, Lierman just kind of stared at her a moment. “Changed my—I didn’t change my mind. I gave you an A just like I said I would. Not only that, I already made all the arrangements to get you enrolled as my assistant next semester, and then….”

Kelly was completely at a loss, almost disoriented. Lierman was still talking, but her racing mind was headed somewhere else. Marla had called about being undermined by somebody. Kelly knew people got expelled for misconduct. Could somebody have gotten her expelled? Spread some kind of rumor about her? Who would do something like--

Lindsey. It had to be. Somehow, Lindsey knew she had been meeting a lot with Lierman and maybe jumped to conclusions, the same way Caleb and Gail and Kelly had last summer. But wait, that didn’t make sense. If I were in trouble for that, Lierman would be in trouble, too. And the last thing he would be doing is talking to her. Or sitting in an office labeled Department Head, even.

Kelly was completely baffled.

“So why was I expelled?”

Lierman looked back at her, seemingly just as baffled. Apparently he had just explained this. “Well, for your grades, of course.”

How was that possible? Kelly just kept looking at him.

“Your grades, Kelly. Haven’t you looked at your grades?”

Why would she have looked at her grades? It’s not like anyone had ever handed her a report card or anything. Maybe it got mailed separately from the letter?

Lierman was explaining anyway. “Kelly, the way to check your grades is to log in through Aphrodite and look at them. You mean you haven’t done that?”

Um, Aphrodite? Kelly knew better than to ask.

“So I guess that clears up for me why you don’t know what happened.”

For the record, I still don’t!

“Otherwise you’d have known that I wasn’t the one who didn’t give you an A.”

“Oh.” So who then?
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:08 PM   #183
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Default The beginning and end of sorrows.

“Kelly, I want you to know that you were a great student to have in my class. I mean, as a person. You’re quite a pleasure. So it isn’t that. But we both know that you didn’t really come out of my class with a very good grasp of how to really cook.”

It was now 11:15. The pudgy, gray-steaked Mrs. Lennox looked worried as she spoke, perhaps about Kelly’s feelings or starting some kind of bureaucratic battle or just discomfort with conflict. Kelly felt just as uncomfortable. Lierman had suggested checking in with Lennox ASAP to see if she might change her grade.

“I say that because, although I knew Dennis really worked hard to get you into this class and I knew you needed to do well, I didn’t know that earning an A was such a do-or-die situation for you.”

So does that mean….

“But even if I had known, I still would have been compelled to give you a B.”

That kind of statement really flustered Kelly. Like there was some kind of high principle she was upholding by not handing out A’s willy-nilly for a cooking class?

“Ms. Lennox,” she said evenly. “I thought my final exam was really good. I never would have believed I could do it, but I worked at it and worked at it and I thought I pulled it off. I mean, you even told me, “Well done!”

“It was good, Kelly. You should be proud of yourself.” Principles, principles! What about my grade, though? “You incorporated all five processes. You planned a full menu and executed it quite well. It was well-cooked and flavorful. That’s why you got a B. But remember, to earn an A you had to demonstrate creativity.” Lennox paused, pulled off her glasses, and rubbed the bridge of her nose.

“I noticed you’re Phi Gamma,” she continued. “I don’t suppose you know a young lady named Gail Hedges?”
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:33 PM   #184
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Default Figures.

Kelly had walked around all morning with an ache in her gut, kind of like someone had punched her there, the lingering pain of last night’s terrible news. And the anxiety about what she had to pull off today. It still didn’t discourage the yawning hunger that set in as she made the trudge back to Lierman’s office to share the bad news, so she detoured to the Snack Shack on the way. Closed.

Figures.

She trudged on wearily to Lierman’s, weighed down by the summer heat, the Southern humidity, and her own bleak thoughts.

Failed because of Gail. And, Why didn’t I wear shorts?

Because she didn’t have any. That fit. Anymore.

Lennox’s question had, of course, been rhetorical. She had grown accustomed to seeing streams of Phi Gamma girls in her Home Ec class preparing the Phi Gamma Slamma, the dish her star student Gail had first devised more than half-a-decade ago for her own Home Ec final exam. It was the reason Lennox had added the creativity component to the exam in the first place: to insure her students were learning from the course, and not just cramming for the final exam. She figured it was also the reason the flow of Phi Gamma girls into her class had stopped for a time—until Kelly had come along.

Kelly knew it wasn’t Gail’s fault. Without Gail she’d have never even passed the final. Never would have had a chance of passing any of her other classes either. Why, without Gail, she wouldn’t have even had a place to live.

Kind of like now.

Even that that thought was a lie. Gail had already told her she’d be there for her.

Kelly knew all that, but a deep black negativity totally foreign to anything Kelly had ever felt kept repeating those words through her mind. Failed because of Gail. Failed because of Gail. Kelly felt destined to fail. She was destined to fail. She’d been dealt aces in the hole, only to find out they were losers on the river.

Not that Kelly would have understood the reference.

A glum, tired, hungry, hot and moist Kelly fell heavily into a chair at Lierman’s office just before noon. She spared him the full explanation, explained how Lennox had felt obligated to stick to her grading criteria.
Lierman sighed. “Yeah, Jenn’s always been a stickler like that, but she has mellowed a tad over the years. I thought it was worth a shot.” He reached into his drawer for something and Kelly’s heart (and stomach) lept as she remembered the candy bars he used to keep there.

Her heart (and stomach) fell in disappointment as he realized he was only getting his keys. She licked her lips involuntarily, realizing she hadn’t brought anything to drink with her either. Her eyes cast about the sundries from Lierman’s old office stacked against the walls, but there was no sign of anything over there.

“Well, that’s that,” Lierman said with another sigh. “I really, really wanted to get that project off the ground this fall, but I guess that just isn’t to be. But listen to me: just thinking about myself when the true person hurt in all this is you! You know, a lot of people fail out of college”—those words felt like another punch to the gut—“and go on to do just fine—even better than they would have if they had made it through. It probably seems like the end of the world, but it isn’t. You can go home for the Fall, see some friends, get a nice part-time job—just relax for a bit and figure out what you want to do. Maybe enroll in community college next Spring and see where that goes for you. It’ll all work out.”

Home. And where was that exactly? Gail’s (admittedly comfortable, as she’d discovered last night) couch?

“Yeah,” she muttered noncommittally, her head down. “I don’t know, Dr. Lierman.” He was talking with an air of finality, and she suddenly couldn’t bear the thought of losing his guidance—not after just losing her father. She struggled momentarily with what to tell him. “I—right now I don’t—I mean, I can’t go home. It was gonna be the Phi Gamma house, but now it looks like it’s going to be Gail’s couch.”

Lierman got a strained look at his watch, looked at a blank space on the wall where maybe a clock would wind up some day, then looked at his wrist watch. “Oh! This is a terrible time. We need to meet again and talk about this. But you’re saying you won’t be going home? That you’ll be staying in town?”

Kelly eyes brightened and she nodded her head hopefully, not because of his questions, but because he’d said they’d be meeting again. And that meant options.

“I can’t believe it! I’d just assumed that—Kelly, I might have an option,” he smiled, his hands shaking a bit in apparent excitement. “If you’re willing to stay in town—Gail’s couch, or whatever…there’s no reason you have to be a work study for this project of mine. If I could get the University to hire you—now, it couldn’t be much. I mean, not much at all. Probably not enough to even cover the rent. But it’d be something. Do you think you would do it?”

“Yeah, sure,” Kelly said. What’s a work study, anyway? “I mean, yes, of course!” she corrected herself, aware of her inappropriate lack of enthusiasm and gratitude.

“OK!” he exclaimed, glancing again at his watch. “If I can just get this meeting over by—forget it! Forget it! I can get it done. Kelly, I’ve gotta go. I’m really glad you stopped by today! I’ll call you. Thank you!”

“Thank you, Dr. Lierman!” Kelly called after him as he steamed out the door, apparently unconcerned that he’d left Kelly in his office unsupervised.

The blackness Kelly had felt before had lifted, and even the lingering ache in her gut had receded for a moment. But the gnawing hunger was still there. She pushed herself out of her seat, this time aware of her hips brushing against the steel arms of the utilitarian university chair on the way up, then poked her head around the door to see if anyone could see.

No one was there. She slipped around the desk and opened the top drawers, then the three side drawers in sequence, desperate for a candy bar. But all the drawers were completely empty.

Figures.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:52 AM   #185
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Default Fancy meeting you here!

“Kelly Kingsley>Hey…I’m gonna be over there in a few minutes. You ready to meet me there?”

All of Kelly’s irrational irritation at Gail left about the time Kelly slipped behind the steering wheel of her steaming hot Beamer and remembered the afternoon’s plan: get a hold of that letter.

“You’re just gonna show up tomorrow and move in like nothing is any different,” Gail had said. “As far as you know, nothing about moving in has changed. Hopefully they won’t know anything either.”

When Kelly got to the Phi Gamma house, the curbside was filled with cars of various sizes and shapes, but all just about filled to the brim with odds and ends. The girls standing outside, some of whom she recognized, usually watching as other people (most of whom looked like fathers) unloaded their vehicles, had almost no variety in size or shape or even dress. At 123 pounds, it was a model her curvaceous form could approximate. At 200 pounds, it was a model her curvaceous form could only obliterate.

That was the reason for the second part of the plan.

It was the Anthony Robertson plan, except this time Anthony was Wade. “Walk in with him on your arm the only thing they’ll feel toward you is jealousy,” Gail had asserted. “You could be three-hundred pounds and they’d still be thinking you should be Phi Gamma president, for God’s sake.”

Problem was, Wade was nowhere to be seen, and he hadn’t even responded to Kelly’s text. That was 20 minutes ago (factoring in the stop at Taco Bell she’d made along the way).

Now, Kelly waited at the curb, motor running to run the air, a few feet away from the path to the door and wishing to God it was more. But the street had been completely packed except for this spot. She did the best she could to slide down in her seat but was surprised—as she so often was these days—how difficult a task that turned out to be. Her little belly (which, she was discovering, while seated pooched out much further than she had realized) wasn’t the problem. It was the extra padding on her tush and thighs that sat her higher in the seat than she had realized. It took lowering the seat as far as it could go and leaning the chair back a good bit before she could slide her legs past the steering wheel.

Kelly checked her texts: no answer. She called his phone: no answer. No text, no return call in response. She waited more. She texted again: “Where r u? Waiting.” (She decided to edit out the three exclamation marks before sending.)

In the meantime, while various dads and boyfriends unloaded the various vehicles onto the side of the curb, the Phi Gammas themselves greeted each other with excited waves or embraced each other in sisterly hugs before lingering on the lawn or walking lazily back and forth across the sidewalk looking for whoever else they felt they should greet. It was just a matter of time before someone would look inside and see her there, and part two of this version of the Plan to Save Kelly’s Future would be shot.

Where is Wade? The longer she sat, the more anxious she felt, the mounting pressure of the now empty large diet Pepsi she’d had with her burrito and the bottle of diet Coke from the vending machine she’d thirstily downed on her way to the car. The longer she sat in the car trying not to be noticed, the longer she was gonna get noticed for sitting in the car trying not to get noticed. Every minute that passed was less chance to get inside and get that letter. And all the while the urgency in her bladder got worse and worse. She closed her eyes and tried to relax, tried not to think about needing to pee, or waiting for Wade’s text, even trying a little of the deep breathing she’d learned in her psychology class that she never, ever thought she might need.

It didn’t work. This plan wasn’t working. It was time for retreat. And for a bathroom. A run back to Taco Bell would take care of both. She was just opening her eyes and reaching for the power controls of the seat. Her heart jumped.

It wasn’t Wade.

“Hey, Kelly!” the muted voice called out from the other side of the pane.

“Just the girl I needed to see!”

It was Lindsey Huntington.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:59 AM   #186
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Default The House Center

Kelly exited the car with all the grace she could muster, which under the circumstances wasn’t much: she’d forgotten she’d lowered the seat and, what with the awkwardness of the curb and Lindsey right next to the door, Kelly found it harder to get up from the lower position than she was accustomed.

It was her worst nightmare and more.

A gaggle of girls (Jennifer, Kayley, and her best friend Kaylie) to her right had looked her way with Kelly’s name, and they stood there sort of looking at each other and looking back at Kelly. The same to her left (Kelly and Emily), and one girl from the social committee (Kerrie Lipscomb) with her hands full kind of opened her mouth and closed it again before turning back up the path. It was like some kind of movie.

Lindsey actually said it under her breath: “Dear God, Kelly.” She gave her that disapproving look up and down that had become her trademark greeting for Kelly. “Come with me,” she said, turning on her heel, where it became apparent she was holding some sort of clipboard. “We should talk upstairs.”

If anything, the slender Lindsey had lost weight. Her khaki shorts sort of fell off her hips, and her skinny legs advertised that thigh gap that was becoming more and more popular, a kind of status symbol of the genetically blessed or the superiorly disciplined. Her waist was Audrey Hepburn thin, and when Lindsey looked back to see if Kelly was following, her angular chin and thin neck looked more pronounced than ever, tendons sweeping like columns to her ears on either side. To Kelly’s eyes, her face looked wan and pale, but she wondered if that was the effect of the bright sunlight off of Lindsey’s fair-freckled skin in contrast to the bronze of Kelly’s recently California-kissed body. It seemed like all Kelly could hear was the swish-swish of her decidedly ungapped, denim-clad thighs with each step, and all she could feel was the shimmer of her muffintop, squeezed up and out by last week’s jeans, announcing its presence under the draped Kiyonna sleeveless blouse she’d picked for the hot day.

The yard had started moving again, and where before Kelly’d had all eyes upon her, now none of the women she’d called friends just three short months ago even looked her direction. The way Lindsey marched her up the stairs and across the porch, in whatever official capacity that clipboard she carried might designate, Kelly might as well have been headed to her room to be grounded—which right about now sounded pretty good to her.

Instead, her eyes caught the door of the bathroom and her elimination distress flooded back to memory. She breathed an apology as she slipped past the door, remotely hearing Lindsey mention waiting for her in the first floor office. Kelly bolted to the stool for immediate relief for her body, if not her soul, and sat long past the time she was done, breathing deeply in a desperate effort to calm herself down. Soon the anxious ohmigods going through her brain settled down and slipped into that black place she’d found earlier today, where the thought It’s worse than I ever thought it could be was waiting for her.

Kelly was quickly learning to hate that place. She pulled herself to her feet and got herself arranged, trying to remind herself that the only one who could see the vice grip her pants had around her hips was her. She was just finishing washing her hands when the voices of two of the housegirls (just who she couldn’t tell at the moment) floated down the stairs and into the room with her, clear as day, as if they were standing right in the loo with her.

“Ohmigod, that was so awkward!”

“What are you talking about? What was awkward?”

“Kelly Kingsley just showed up. You didn’t see it?”

“Oh, yeah. That. Wait. That was Kelly Kingsley!?”

“Yup! I forgot—you weren’t here this summer.”

“Why? What happened to her?”

“You saw what happened! One day she disappeared and then one day she showed up busting out of her clothes and bringing all sorts of attention to herself, hanging onto some Black football player. You know how they like ‘em thick and all. You mean nobody showed you?”

“Showed me what?” The voices grew softer quite suddenly, and Kelly figured they must have stepped away from the stairwell sounding board.

“You’re not…believe…on the….” And that was the last thing Kelly could make out.

My God, am I always the topic of conversation around here? She was as much amused as amazed at the talk she continued to overhear about herself in this bathroom, and for a moment it took her out of the blackness and brought her back in touch with her cheery self. She washed up and stepped out into the stairwell. She wasn’t surprised at this point to see no one around her, but it hadn’t stopped her from looking anyway.
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:31 AM   #187
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Thanks for this incredible story, happy to see more of your work
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:03 PM   #188
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Thanks. It's a labor of love. It means a lot to hear that others love it, too.
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:55 AM   #189
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I think the lack of recent responses is due to you doing too well. Only so many times you can say "Great job! I love this story. Can't wait for the next chapter!" So consider your recent lack of feedback to be a form of positive feedback.

Though since I'm a dedicated lurker, I haven't said it yet. Great job! I love this story. Can't wait for the next chapter!
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:23 AM   #190
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Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.Tad has ascended what used to be the highest level.
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I’m curious about how far you expect this story to run? I admit that my original impression was that it was going to be the story of one transformative Summer (physically, obviously, but also in other ways), but now it looks to be continuing on into the new term. You know how when you are reading a physical story you know how many pages are left, and it kind of informs your expectations with regard to the plot? (as in: “OK, it looks like they are about to solve all their problems, but there is a hundred pages left in this novel, so I know it will all fall apart again somehow.” And therefore anticipating things falling apart). And have you ever read a book that you didn’t realize was part of a series or trilogy or whatever, and you were anticipating things wrapping up by the end, only to find that things are only really falling apart, and there is another book or three worth of resolution coming still?

In a format like these board, we don’t have that ‘where are we in the story’ kind of indication. I was anticipating her returning to school after her time with Jenny and having some wrap up with dealing with her sorority and getting comfortable with her new view of the world, and instead we have her newly single mother showing up at Gail’s door, she’s failed out after all that work, she is in a bit of a spin … it threw me for a bit of a loop, kind of like the unanticipated discovery that I’ve embarked on a trilogy instead of a stand-alone book. Mentally, I’ve kind of classified everything since she returned to Gail’s as the start of volume two, and while I know I liked volume one I’m still feeling out how much I like where volume two is going – as is so often the case it seems to be a bit darker than volume one.

So I’ve not said much later because I’m kind of all over the place with how I’m feeling about the story at the moment. I really enjoyed it up to here, but I’ve not yet made that emotional investment in the rest of the ride.

Sorry for such a long, and mixed, piece of feedback. That I’ve thought about it this much, and written this much, I hope you’ll take as a sign of how much I like this story. I’ll probably return to more open enthusiasm in a while when I’ve caught my second wind
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:12 AM   #191
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… it threw me for a bit of a loop, kind of like the unanticipated discovery that I’ve embarked on a trilogy instead of a stand-alone book. Mentally, I’ve kind of classified everything since she returned to Gail’s as the start of volume two, and while I know I liked volume one I’m still feeling out how much I like where volume two is going – as is so often the case it seems to be a bit darker than volume one.
Not to be cynical - but could the problem be that this saga has been going on for too long?

It'll be 5 years in February - that's an awful long time for any series, also in the real world. In books this would - as Tad pointed out - have meant several volumes of one series. Or in TV shows, it's mostly the time when wrapping it up after the season is considered.

StrugglingWriter - writing long stories myself recreationally, I feel for you regarding all the issues with time, motivation, etc. to finish a story.

But from a moderator perspective though, I would advise to maybe split the story, come to a conclusion of the first part and then repost the beginning of a second part in a new thread.
It also makes it a lot easier to read and simply handle online for viewers.
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Old 09-15-2015, 06:58 PM   #192
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I'm a terrible critic. I wouldn't say it's gone on too long. Some of my stories have gone on a long time too. I like this story, but what I would like to see is much longer episodes and a lot more gaining weight. I will admit that some of the shorter posts have been torture because I want to see where this is going and I really really want to see her get there.

And I agree, probably splitting it into parts would be a good idea.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:37 AM   #193
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I love the fact that this is still going; it's always a treat when a new installment pops up!
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:32 PM   #194
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Thanks, all, for taking the time for contributing to the thread.

It's interesting to me that the issue of thread comments became identified as a problem. It certainly wasn't my intent in posting a reply to a bit of praise. I do wonder from time-to-time if the audience for this story has been lost due to its length or some other reason. I mostly just wanted to emphasize that for me it's gratifying to read something every now and then from someone stating he or she is still enjoying it.

But the story is long simply because it went long. Part of that is my style, but the length of the tale mostly reflects where the story continues to go. I do know the time it has taken to tell it is taxing, as well as the short updates. When I started the story I never dreamed it would unfold like this, and a lot has happened in my life since I first decided to write that has taken my free time away. The story continues to stay in my head whether it makes it into text or not, and because of that, the story continues to be written. There is actually economy in the story, which I'm reminded of when I re-read every now and then. Each part accomplishes specific goals, and I can see that each part moves the story forward. I notice that it doesn't take nearly as long for me to read a chunk as I think it will. I guess my impression reflects the slow writing process.

To answer Tad's question, this will be a story in three acts, and we are currently in act two. I know most of what is to be included in act two and much of act three, even its resolution (unless the story should write itself elsewhere). I don't anticipate act three going very long. I expect that act two will go on a good bit more before act three is able to unfold to its logical conclusion. As for weight gain, she's gained eighty pounds in less than four months! OK, so it's actually five years, but who's counting? Yeah, I know: you and me and most of the other readers.

Anyway, that's far more a discussion than this little fantasy story probably merits. But when I say it's a labor of love, I mean it. This story keeps pushing me to write it, and as long as the forum is still open I'm sure I'll still post it. Again, I appreciate hearing your thoughts, and perusing your works as well.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:21 PM   #195
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I'm glad it's going to continue. I didn't realize she put on that much weight. I know when this is finished I'll be starting over at the beginning to read it again so I can do it all at once.
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:33 PM   #196
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The Phi Gamma Psi office was on the corner of the first floor, away from the commotion in the center of the house and offering the best view of campus. Kelly had been there often, but she’d never seen it like this.

Usually there were papers in piles on the several desks in the room. And on bookcases. And on the dorm refrigerator that usually housed nothing but bottles of water. Office supplies were everywhere, and boxes of files—typically the Phi Gamma study files of past tests in various classes—were stacked haphazardly or pulled out onto the floor. It was a cinch that Sherry was too disorganized to have caught up with Kelly’s innocuous-looking letter. In fact, Kelly had figured the sheer amount of clutter would be the principal barrier to actually finding it.

But not now. Most of those surfaces, if not completely cleaned off, were organized. Papers and envelopes were neatly stacked as if ready to be opened and filed, as if someone were just at the end of a long process of sorting and organizing prior to getting everything put away.

But most of all, there was no Sherry. Lindsey sat at the President’s desk, her head down working on some paperwork, her officious clipboard beside her. Pictures of her in various party pics were clipped to her photo board. It was pretty clear Lindsey had taken up residence there.

“What happened to Sherry?” Kelly remembered back to the Fourth of July party—the one apparently she’d made such an impression at—where Lindsey had told her Sherry had stepped away for a time. “Is she all right!?”

“Sherry is … away. For the semester,” Lindsey hedged. “And as junior officer, that makes me acting President,” she added, knowing how obvious that would be to anyone in Phi Gamma, but beaming with self-satisfaction as she said it.

Lindsey as Phi Gamma President made Kelly immediately uncomfortable, and she noticed Lindsey’s answer about Sherry hadn’t been an answer. Kelly couldn’t see the point of keeping it a secret, and she was more than a little hurt that Sherry hadn’t called her to tell her. And she noticed that Lindsey didn’t seem the least surprised that Kelly hadn’t known.

Ugh, this is a nightmare! Wade, where are you?

Kelly acknowledged the information, though, with a quiet Oh and shifted her feet uncomfortably as her gaze began to flit around the room, drawn to the stacks of paper and envelopes. Her eyes landed on one particular envelope at the top of one stack.

It looked exactly like the envelope from the Office of the President informing her she had been expelled. Kelly’s heart quickened and she started edging that direction, hoping against hope that her guileless face wouldn’t betray her.

“It’s a good thing, too,” Lindsey continued, still a hint of excitement in her voice. “I mean!” she said, catching herself. “I’m not happy she’s gone or anything. But this place was a disaster, and look how I’ve been able to straighten it up!”

“Yeah. It looks really good.” The letter was sitting on a ledge under some of the mailbox cubes, in front of Lindsey and to her left. Kelly was standing next to it, and her heart quickened even further as she saw that it was opened.

This had a shot of working!

It wasn’t possible to move further forward without crowding Lindsey’s space. Kelly put her hand on her left hip and pushed out her right to obscure the letter from Lindsey’s view, smiling internally that at least there was some benefit to them.

“So, I guess you’re probably wondering with Sherry gone for the semester what you’ll be doing for a Big Sis,” Lindsey continued. Kelly wasn’t, but she figured she would have eventually gotten around to it. “That’s one of the things I need to talk to you about. As you know, we usually have an even number of girls in the house, but with Sherry gone, well, now it’s not even. So, I sent out a memo asking if anyone wanted to take on a second one and, well, no one has stepped up.” Lindsey was tapping her finger on her desk as she did so.

Kelly leaned a little more into the cabinets. Big Sisters in sororities are a big deal, and in no sorority more than in Phi Gamma. She knew this was something she should have cared about, and maybe she would later, but for now she just didn’t.

“I see,” she murmured. “Well, maybe someone will step up.”

“Maybe,” Lindsey smiled. “But I’m just telling you now so it doesn’t come as a surprise later.”

“Mm-hm.” Lindsey seemed so smug, like she was enjoying telling her the bad news or something. How could someone really be like that?

“There’s something else you need to know, too,” she added, a little more solemn. “While you were out this summer, you were replaced on the social committee. Now, you were really good on that committee. We had a lot of good parties that you were a big part of, so maybe you’ll be able to work your way back on at some point. But you were suspended and, well, we’ve got standards to uphold, you know? I mean, that’s a pretty prestigious position and it should go to someone who represents us well.”

That one stung a bit. Kelly had figured she’d step right back into her role right in the middle of things. It was like the only thing she really felt like a natural at. Someone who represents us well? That’s what her service on the committee was all about!

“So who made that decision? You?” The words were out of her mouth before she could think not to say them.

Lindsey paused, a sour look on her face. “No. Sherry. Before she left. And the rest of the council. It isn’t personal, Kelly. You were suspended. I would think you could at least acknowledge that.”

“Yes, I do.” But not my expellation, if I can help it. “But I was good at it! I was good for Phi Gamma. I mean, think about this summer what I did for the Fourth of July party! You need me!”

Lindsey sort of almost opened her mouth, then almost shut it again and looked at Kelly in an odd manner. “Believe me,” she said, seeming a little irritated, “the Fourth of July party is exactly what I’m thinking of. I don’t need that kind of help, thank you very much.”

What could that possibly mean? I saved that party!

Kelly took a deep breath and took a second to refocus. The mission, she reminded herself. She lifted her hand like she was shifting position and put her hand on top of the letter stack. Lindsey glanced at the stack for a nervous second, but just looked back up at Kelly.

“Look. I didn’t really think you would like this news. That’s why I did you the favor of telling you here and not outside.”

Yeah, Lindsey. That was a very gracious act, parading me around in front of everybody.

“No,” Kelly quipped, with effort. “I get it. This probably isn’t easy at all. I recognize that.” She turned toward the cabinets and leaned her head against it for a second, like this was hard for her, then cupped the letter in her hand before leaning her back against it.

“Thank you. It isn’t.” She exhaled, kind of like that statement might even have been true. “Everybody likes you, Kelly. I like you. But you can’t blow it the way you did and just waltz in like everything’s exactly the same right away. We have standards, and you’re gonna have to prove that you can bring yourself back in line with them.”

And there it was: the Code. In code. “We have standards.” “Bring yourself back in line.” In other words, she may be back in, but no one around here’s gonna accept back with welcome arms some chubby girl.

Kelly flooded with rage. OK. Great. Can I go now?

“I understand,” she panned, still angry, but reminding herself that grace was the only way she could come out looking good in this situation. She stood up straight again, her arms behind her, her prize pressed against the small of her back. The gesture filled her with defiance, like she suddenly possessed a secret that symbolized some sort of devious revenge against the woman in front of her who’d just stuck a knife there.

“Thanks at least for telling me face to face,” Kelly managed. “I, uh, you know, I’ve got to go back down and see if my boyfriend is here with my stuff.” Fat chance! Her phone hadn’t buzzed even once since she walked into the house. Kelly turned to go, sliding the letter with a smile around her waist and to her front, slipping it underneath the tufted fold of her shirt and against her still-sweaty tummy.

“One more thing, Kelly.”

Kelly turned back around. Oh, God, does she know? Surely not, or why would she have gone through all this? Still it gave her heart a start.

Lindsey turned to her clipboard, flipped through some pages, and pulled one out with her name on it.

“All the girls need to sign here so I can give you a key for your new room.”

Uh, new room?
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Old 10-14-2015, 02:11 PM   #197
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It was what the girls referred to as The Attic. Fitting, because that’s what it was: basically a converted attic a few steps up from the third floor in the back of the house with only a tall, thin window looking over nothing but an irregular roof, an alleyway, and the back of a dingy, failed converted loft apartment building. Like all the other rooms, it housed three girls in as many beds, but there was room only for bunks, and in half the room only the shortest of girls could stand without bumping their heads. The closet was a little cubby way that was all but unusable, and despite adequate floor space, the slanted roof only left room for the most sparse and utilitarian of furnishings. Worse, the ventilation and air conditioning was far from adequate. The sweat started streaming down the middle of Kelly’s back anew as they clattered upwards in the heat and humidity of the sunlit stairs.

The air grew even hotter as they climbed the last three diverted steps up to the right, terminating at an extra tall door sitting atop a tiny landing. Kelly was well-acquainted with The Attic. Even at her smallest (which compared to most girls in Phi Gamma had been far from the smallest), perching on that landing without fear of tipping over was never a secure feat. The enormity of her breasts now made it all but impossible. She stood now on the top step with one foot only resting up on the landing while Lindsey knocked on the door. The size of her denim-ed thigh next to Lindsey’s pale, slender legs was sobering, and the reality of her status in Phi Gamma came clearly into focus.

She put me in The Attic. The Attic! As Sherry’s Little Sis, as the star freshman Phi Gamma blessed with the rare opportunity of moving into the house just about the moment her pledge-ship had ended, Kelly had always enjoyed a privileged room on the corner second floor. A privilege that had been revoked. Kelly knew what this meant. That means I’m the—

The door opened inward and someone behind it had to maneuver around the knob just to poke out her head.

Kelly already knew who it was going to be.

It was Marla.

The token Asian. And I’m the token fat girl.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:52 PM   #198
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“I…this is…oh, wow. This is just … scary.”

Kelly was sitting at the one desk in the awkward room, with Marla standing behind her. Kelly’s other roommate sat on the top bunk across the room. All were watching as she scrolled through photos on a facebook page. Kelly’s page.

Except, it wasn’t.

But the photos were.

Someone had lifted photos from her own barely-used facebook page, starting with a few pictures of her during her slimmest high school cheerleading days (junior year, maybe 135 pounds) and various Phi Gamma pics of her in her dorm room, or party pics, or sorority function pics—about 8 or 10 of them—from throughout her freshman school year.

That was troublesome enough. But there were a host of other pictures as well. And those weren’t as innocent.

Two sets of photos dominated the site. One set of photos was of her at the Hillbilly Bash, way from the start of summer. There were a few full body shots showing off her costume, outrageous boobs and all. But the vast majority of them were zoomed in close to her breasts, doughy cantaloupes squeezed for maximum cleavage. That was par for the course: Kelly Kegs was on display! Of course that got attention. But another picture from below focused entirely on a smidgen of bulge under her chin—from below!

Who could have possibly gotten below me to take a picture of THAT?

The bulge itself didn’t bother her. She’d been in enough pictures in her life to know that any camera shot can exaggerate a shadow into an unflattering, fattening experience. What bothered her more was the focus on her hips, baby love handles poking out above the bandana she thought she had strategically placed there. Ten photos alone on each of the handles from angle after angle. Boobs were one thing, but who could possibly be interested in love handles?

No one. Someone was interested in humiliating her.

The second set, of course, voluminously documented the exploits of Kelly at the Fourth of July picnic. It was instantly clear what the girls on the stairway had been gossiping about, and what Lindsey had referred to with an attitude of contempt less than an hour ago. Again, a few full body candids were present, which juxtaposed to the photos before made it eminently clear just how much weight she had gained. Her face was fuller in the cheeks and around the chin, and her boobs were massive and sagging halfway to her waist, despite the industrial-strength underwire Kelly knew she had been wearing. But beside those was picture after picture of her playing beer pong, her rounded abdomen poking out above her beltline, her hands occasionally caught in the act of attempting (futilely) to pull her red shirt back down into place. There were side angles exposing her thickness from back to front, documenting the swollen love handles squeezed in half by shorts that Kelly hadn’t realized could have possibly been so tight, and focusing on her thick, solid, but subtly wavy thighs. The crowning photos documented her strewn out on the ground, her massive boobs flattened to cover the fullness of her chest and more, the top pf her aereolae subtly visible at the edge of her lacy bra, her shirt fully rolled up to expose her rounded, ab-less belly, spread outward as she lolled on the ground with her drunken smile, her shorts squeezing the middle of gelatinous thighs, even her upper arms flattened out to look soft and round. Nothing about all those close-ups, though documenting an obvious change from one month to the next, had made her actually look fat—until that picture.

And since that time, she’d gained as much all over again.

“It’s disgusting,” said Monet from her perch on the top bunk. Monet was the bookish but fit, well-spoken African-American girl who served as Phi Gamma’s token Black, rooming with the token Asian girl. And now the token fat girl. Kelly could have taken the meaning wrong, but she knew what Monet meant: she was an earnest person with a good heart. “It’s terrible what that person did to you.”

It wasn’t just the pictures either. Random pictures showcasing her expanding figure were posted out of the photo section and into the timeline, and most of them had captions like, “PHI GAMETES!” “BEAUTY AND THE BEER” or “SUCK IT IN, BABY!” or “WHAT ARE THEY PUTTING IN THE WATER OVER THERE? CORN SYRUP!?” and “THEY FEED THEM WELL OUT AT THE FARM!” And underneath in the comments were things like, “Whoa!” “Holy shit, what a rack!” and “Man, she blew up!” or “What a waste!” From the looks of it, all guys pictures, though if someone was a boyfriend of a rival, who might have put this whole thing together, who would know it?
But the worst caption of all was under the top picture, the one of Kelly lolling on the ground. It said, “Phi Gamma Psi: PIGS!!!”

“Everybody knows, don’t they,” Kelly murmured.

“Yeah,” Marla said. “Everybody.”

Now Kelly really knew what Lindsey was so upset about with the Fourth of July, and what she meant by having someone who represents Phi Gamma well.

“Bunch of crap, that’s what it is,” said Monet, who, like Kelly, was well-known for her aversion to cursing. “I think you look beautiful. What they did to you? That’s awful. I don’t care if all the other girls give you crap. No matter what anyone says, I’m here for you, girl, and I’ll say so in front of everyone.”

At that moment, Kelly’s phone went off from her back pocket. She squeezed forward, her breasts pushing the keyboard back across the desk, and fished out the phone.

“THEBodie>>Sorry, Babbe. Got tiedup. Ommw.” On my way, with more than Wade’s usual typos.

Now he comes!
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Old 10-26-2015, 05:38 AM   #199
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Just thought I'd mention how much I am enjoying the story. I came in a couple years ago and have no problem with the slow pace -- I'm the same way with my own writing. It also makes the "XWG" dangling there in the header that much more tantalizing. Keep up the good work! =)
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:48 PM   #200
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Just thought I'd mention how much I am enjoying the story. I came in a couple years ago and have no problem with the slow pace -- I'm the same way with my own writing. It also makes the "XWG" dangling there in the header that much more tantalizing. Keep up the good work! =)
Thanks for the encouragement. Glad to hear people coming in later who catch up with the whole thing.
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