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Old 07-31-2017, 02:05 PM   #301
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Some day I intend to spend a whole afternoon re-reading the complete story and enjoying the illustrations.
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:47 PM   #302
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Thanks, guys. Hope you're telling him directly on his site.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:05 PM   #303
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Default Will she or won't she?

“A dozen please.

“Let’s see.” Kelly had already identified the filled doughnut with the bright green icing (and the puff of whipped cream and drizzle of white icing) as the Key Lime Pie. She knew two of those were going in the box for certain, but she had a plethora to choose from for the others.

“Two glazed.” Always a favorite, there were plenty of people who wouldn’t want anything particularly exotic.

“Two chocolate iced.”

“Cake or yeast?” The college-age, ash blonde girl with the ponytail and the Pinkbox hat waited somewhat impatiently, but she seemed nice enough. Her name was Katie. Kelly figured they’d be seeing a lot of each other the next week, so they might as well get acquainted.

“Not the cake.” Actually calling them yeast…ycch. But people would want them for sure. Then came the hard part.

“One Oreo.” It was another filled doughnut with cookies and crème whipped filling with chocolate icing and a dollop of whipped cream in the middle. Oreo cookie pieces were scattered across the dollop.

“A Tootie Fruiti.” A cake doughnut with yellow vanilla icing under a coating of Fruity Pebbles.

“And a Choco Loco.” A chocolate cake doughnut, chocolate icing, Cocoa Pebbles.

“Five to go.” Actually, three.

“One cherry iced.” Easy enough.

“A Samoa.” Sure enough, it was under the section of doughnuts labeled Gourmet.

“A Hazelnut Mocha.” Another filled doughnut with hazelnut mocha crème, chocolate iced with what looked like caramel drizzled on top, a dollop of whipped cream, and almond(?) shavings on top.

“And two Key Limes.” Kelly was standing on one leg and bouncing her other leg in anticipation.

Katie skillfully flipped the long pink box (extra long because the doughnuts sat face up instead of on their sides) and checked Kelly out—a fairly long process, since Kelly had to present her with the tax exemption and Katie had to figure out how to record it. “These aren’t for me,” Kelly was sure to note. “It’s for the subjects in our study.”

“Well, too bad for you!” Katie smiled. “Maybe you’ll get the chance to pilfer one for yourself.”

“Maybe!” Absolutely!

Because Kelly had earned that Key Lime Pie doughnut. Not just this weekend. All semester long.

That morning she’d weighed in at 195.8. Eight weeks in, ten pounds down, now solidly below that 200-pound threshold she’d thought destined her to be a fat girl forever. She felt more secure about the future of her place in Phi Gamma than she had for months.

Lindsey Huntington, eat your heart out!

She thought of that Key Lime Pie doughnut as her reward.

I know I will!!!

***********

She didn’t.

It took an exhausting, every-minute-a-mental-struggle effort to earn that ten pounds that the freedom not to eat that Key Lime Pie doughnut was more freeing than the near-orgasmic pleasure she knew she would experience from eating it.

And then there was the mental refit it would take to hop back on the wagon after it.

Kelly felt the same freedom not eating that doughnut she felt on the House Mother. Truthfully there was nothing about Kelly’s weight in itself that bothered her. She didn’t feel it put her in some kind of spotlight or anything: she’d been noticed primarily for her "size" since she was 13. She didn’t feel heavy, or bulky, or encumbered. Even her thighs didn't seem to rub much, or cause the trouble walking without a waddle the way she'd seen some girls have to do. The way she'd seen her mother have to do.

Even the fashion—as much as she wished she could wear any look from a magazine she desired—didn’t bother her. She would always have to adapt to her body shape no matter what her weight, and if there was anything she felt competent at it was creative adjustments for fashion, given the resources. She’d done it most of her life.

No, if Kelly allowed herself to consider it—and she’d be completely embarrassed to reach this conclusion—it was almost entirely about acceptance in Phi Gamma. Almost.

But Kelly had been able to maintain almost smack dab at 123 for almost a year because of her largely single-minded immersion in cardiovascular fitness. It was where she felt free—free to enjoy her body and what it could do, free to achieve, free from the constant presence of others that she would otherwise feel the hunger to feel.

At 200 pounds there was only so long exercise could make her feel that freedom before it morphed into nothing but pain and effort and struggle. And though she was coming to enjoy her time with the weights more than ever before, the experience just wasn’t the same. It was the one thing about the weight itself that weighed on Kelly: it stole away her time of oneness with the House Mother.

Maybe she’d have that once again, but she knew it might be as much as losing another forty pounds before she could approach that coveted sense of freedom again. Forty more pounds! She figured she was game.

Besides, as popular as these doughnuts are likely to be with the subjects, I need to hold off eating one to make sure 12 is enough.

That one thought might even be enough to sustain her mental fortitude through the first half of the day.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:47 PM   #304
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Default Consummation.

She made it all the way to Wednesday.

The doughnuts weren’t nearly as popular as she imagined they’d be. Was it timing? Too close to lunch? Too soon after? Perhaps they made for sticky fingers while working on the computer. But then you’d guess they’d disappear on the way out the door. Too difficult to eat them then? Or perhaps they were so frou-frou that guys wouldn’t eat them.

But uneaten doughnuts stared at her all morning, three days in row. Eight left on Monday. Seven left on Tuesday. Nine left on Wednesday.

It was inevitable.

The decision was instant. She pulled out the Key Lime and took a voracious bite out of it. Sour lime goo filled her mouth, so sweet her teeth hurt instantly. She didn’t take the time to savor it, or to swallow it, before pushing the next bite of doughnut in to feel that squish again. The goo spilled out onto the rest of the doughnut, so she twisted the doughnut to save it with a third bite. The doughnut melted in her mouth, but there was still too much for her to swallow without straining her mouth to get on top of it, swallowing what she could so she could chew it without it spilling out, then finally swallowing what was left. For all its delicious density, it felt like it disappeared before hitting her stomach. So she twisted the doughnut again and pushed half of it in the side of her mouth, then pushed in the other half on the other side of her mouth with her extended forefinger. She smiled as she did so.

She felt naughty. And relieved. And unsatisfied. It was sooooo yummy! And she’d done nothing to savor it and enjoy it before it was gone.

She knew she’d bought two. She knew the other had already been eaten. But she checked anyway, just in case.

No matter. The Bavarian Crème beckoned.

This one she slowed down and savored. Even if that wasn’t the plan, she would have had to: it was filled with thick, gooey custard, like a Boston cream pie. She let it ooze out to her cheeks, feeling the coolness against her teeth. The chocolate from the top smeared against her palate. She swished her tongue from side to side and rolled the flavors together, chewing the fresh pastry only as much as she had to, then finally relenting to let each bite slip down into her tummy. She closed her eyes and finished the last bite with a satisfied sigh, paused to feel pounding from her heart and the sensation of adrenaline through her gut that had just the faintest undertones of orgasm.

Wow.

If she was gonna find a way to stay off those, Kelly might have to find a way for a little more time with Wade during the week!

Or maybe find a dorm room of her own. Or take longer showers.

For now, though, it was a reward well worth it. She knew what she had to do with the rest of the doughnuts, just like she had all week. She swept up the box and zipped down the stairs a little breathless and tingly, then—just as she had all week—dropped it into the wide-mouthed trash basket outside the entrance to the psychology building.

With a cringe. It wasn’t just lust for doughnuts, either: she’d spent her check, and most of the next one was spoken for, too.

But not before rescuing a single glazed doughnut first. Because this was the essence of the doughnut. The bare bones. The foundation. If PinkBox was truly to be considered the standard by which all doughnuts should be compared, this was the one that really had to pass the test.

It did. Before Kelly reached the house. She never felt an ounce of shame. And it never once occurred to her she might care who saw her eating it.
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:36 PM   #305
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A short chapter, but a good one! That inflection point we've been waiting for, I think
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:10 AM   #306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tad View Post
A short chapter, but a good one! That inflection point we've been waiting for, I think
No promises. This story is the AMC of weight gain fiction.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:40 PM   #307
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The dress was $160. It was the only one that came close to working.

Early Wednesday evening was a rare midweek chapter meeting, and an important one: pledges were to be confirmed for initiation, members only in attendance.

It was a surprisingly dry affair. As big as initiation was with its secret rituals and even more secret location, the confirmation meeting had no kind of ceremony at all. Lindsey ripped through the list of pledges in alphabetical order to confirm each pledge had fulfilled her pledging responsibilities.

“Okay. Rules and Regs requirements.

Ankita Archaya.”

Emily Dunn, the permanent replacement Pledge Coordinator for the missing Brittney Dorsey and the subsequently missing Kerry—uh, the one with the complicated Eastern European name—called out to affirm Ankita had attended each Rules and Regs meeting and tested sufficiently, and did so for each subsequent name on the list.

It was essentially the same for the other group pledging requirements. This time Emily’s best friend Kelly Johnson was in charge. She had attendance logs for all the mandatory socials, as well as the short stack of pledge books with each member’s signature—every one of which had been earned to one degree or another, with a chapter song or a silly dance, or something just embarrassing enough to not get the chapter in trouble for hazing with the university Panhellenic Council or, God forbid, the national office.

The only thing Kelly had ever required was a few moments chatting to learn more about the pledge, a hug, and a promise to share a drink or two one night out on the town.

Once Kelly actually started going out on the town again, that is.

The only moment with any entertainment value at all was, to Kelly’s surprise, the public report from the Bigs about each member’s individual pledge requirements.

A moment that for Kelly also turned into a moment of embarrassment.

Again, Ankita was called first. This time Ankita’s Big, junior Kerrie Lipscomb, stood up.

“Individual pledge.”

“She had to wear her sari to class all day and tell anyone who asked they were her pajamas.”

A chorus of soft laughter filled the room. The pajama haze probably stretched back as long as co-eds no longer had special dress code standards. And this one had a special personal twist.

“Ah! Embracing multiculturalism!”

“Exactly!” Kerrie laughed. “She did great.”

“Elektra Boyd.”

Two seats down, the other side of Marla, Brittney Shore and her long black hair and even longer frame stood up.

Of course! They’re perfect for each other!

“Individual pledge?”

“She hosted a Victorian tea party for us right across the street from the Aqueduct.”

More laughter this time. Perfect!! The Aqueduct was the name for a series of arches framing the entrance to the north side of campus. On the other side of the street was downtown, famous for its counterculture music and its punk-looking “townies”—a look, Kelly realized, was probably right up Elektra’s alley.

“You got pictures, right?”

“Of course.” Brittney held up her iPad and slowly scrolled through pictures while turning back and forth for everyone to see. Elektra had gone the full monty, with a genuine British tea set, Victorian tea dress, gloves and bonnet.
She was in character for every shot, even while Brittney and two of her friends, donned in silk tanks and khaki shorts, must have (judging by the phots) continuously lapsed into giggles every other second while Elektra served them.

The members laughed and twittered to each other. Clearly they all knew Elektra and her personality well.

“Outstanding job, Brittney. I expect no less from you!”

Brittney curtsied with her soccer shorts as she sat down.

“Crystal Cakes.”

Ohmigod! I have to follow that?

Kelly rose to her feet slowly.

“Individual pledge?”

Oh, no.

“Yes.”

“And what was it?”

“She was my chauffeur.”

“Well, of course she was.” That was just kind of standard for Lil Sis's--usually as a designated driver. Lindsey’s face got that sour look of hers and seemed to be saying, I sure hope there’s more to this.

“And she was—uh, she was my personal chef.” That part past her lips, Kelly was still worried it might be enough. Certainly her pledge wasn’t as creative as the other two. “On, like, seven occasions.”

She regretted it the second she added it.

A couple of sniggers went up from the members behind her. Lindsey’s eyes momentarily rolled, and she caught her breath before pursing her lips, exhaling, and drumming her fingers on the table once.

“So I take it they met with approval.”

It was healthy food you catty bitch.

“Absolutely,” Kelly answered steelily in defiance. “They’re the best. You may remember.”

Kelly sat down hotly while Monet patted Kelly’s arm.

“Bitch!” Kelly whispered.

“And then some,” Monet whispered back.

Kelly smiled, but she didn’t relax. She had one more Little Sis to certify, and she had to wait to the end.

“Jenn Wilson. Individual pledge?”

“Personal health food chef.”

“Right. That's it. So, Brittney’s passing out the program for Friday night. And if you’re rusty on your Lore you’d better bone up. No programs allowed. Your uniform is …”

White dresses. Tea length. No sleeves. Dismissed.

For all the confidence and optimism ten pounds had given her, this shopping trip sobered her up. She and Marla and Monet had gone to the mall together right after chapter, where they browsed the racks of the major department stores—Dillard’s, Belk, Macy’s, even Penney’s. They stocked up each Fall for this occasion, and Kelly imagined she and her two roommates would be at least shopping from the same rack.

It was not to be.

Kelly’s best chance was at Belk. There were three racks of white dresses, all ranging from a few size 2s to several 6s and 8s, ten dwindling up to 14s, which Kelly knew enough to not even try any lower. It was exactly two 14s, by the way: one for each style—except, of course, the one Kelly liked the most.

But that was OK. Getting into a 14 would be enough of a win in her book.
The three girls snapped up their dresses, but not before Marla pulled out a water bottle filled with brown liquid from her purse and spread it around it wasn’t the first time the girls had shared in a round of swigs from Marla’s bottle of Phi Gamma “Tea.”

“Oh, gawd I need this,” Marla intoned with her usual histrionics. “I hate shopping for dresses!”

“Oh, stop it,” Kelly answered after taking her swig. She definitely needed it! “Dresses are made for your body!”

“Not since I put on five pounds!” Marla answered as she closed the door to her dressing room stall.

“Five!” Monet answered from her stall. “I put on eight!”

“Crapsicles!” Marla had been saying that for a week-and-a-half. “I knew the 4 wouldn’t fit!”

“If only,” Monet answered.

If only! Kelly’s A-line 14 was too tight around the upper hips. Kelly knew she’d shed plenty of inches the past two months. And yet she still had never had hips like these before. She’d have thought they’d be the first to go.

Ten pounds of effort, all for nothing!

Kelly’s second dress was a quick fail. She was dressed in time to help the girls critique theirs.

“It’s definitely the best of the three,” Monet was saying. “It’s just this little spot pooches out.”

“That’s not the dress,” Marla teased with her normal tact. “That’s you!”

“Stop it, Marla!” Kelly retorted. “It is the dress. We’ll take it to Mommy tonight. She’ll totally make it right.”

“By what? Filling that pooch up with more leftovers? That’s how I got in this mess to start with!”

Kelly made the call to mom.

Five of you now? We’ll have dinner ready.” Jenn and Crystal were already there with their black dresses.

And though fixing Monet’s dress (Marla’s 6 fit perfectly) would be a piece of cake, the plus-size pickings for white dresses for Kelly in all four department stores were, er, slim. The only one, in fact, that accommodated both her boobs and her hips would need a complete rebuild, unless Kelly planned on looking like she was dressed in a used flour sack.

For $160.

“Look,” she told a very officious middle-aged store person, whom Kelly could tell was on to the truth of their Phi Gamma tea. Kelly explained her problem.

“No, I can’t hold it until tomorrow, Miss.” That’s when Kelly would get her next check. “You can put 20% down for layaway.”

And so she did, with her last $35, and left it behind for its rebuild tomorrow night. Because she had to.

*******

Dinner was damn good.

As expected, with four master cooks doing the work.

Kelly indulged. Had the 14 worked out, she might have done so as another reward for a job well done. That night, though, she was just too tired to play mental gymnastics, and everything looked so good, and it was going to be a long night.

Kelly and Elizabeth didn’t even start until 10:00 and worked early into the morning.

And all four dresses looked damn good.

As expected, with two master seamstresses doing the work.

A wide-legged Elizabeth balanced herself in front of the sewing machine while Kelly did the reaching and the measuring and the squatting. This time, Kelly noted with some satisfaction, it didn’t take anything nearly like the kind of exertion it had the last time Kelly had made Jenn and Crystal presentable.
Elizabeth was as clear-minded as Kelly’s recent memory could recall, and with the girls there, conversation was relaxed and enjoyable. It was about 2:00 am before the girls were gone and Kelly broached her problem.

“Oh, Baby, I wish I could help with that. But I’ve been way over budget on clothes myself.”

Which surprised Kelly not at all. Not to mention, Kelly imagined, all the wine.

“But are sure you checked on all your options?”
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:26 PM   #308
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Hail, Phi Gamma Psi! Hail! Hail! Hail!

Kiyonna called it the Tantalizing Twist Dress: a V-neck that dove around her breasts, hefted by halter straps above and horizontal rouching below that provided the function and illusion of a midriff belt. Not that Kelly needed that illusion, as smooth as her waistline was for a girl her size. And good thing. Because what Kiyonna offered in first-rate plus-size style it often lacked in first-rate materials—as Kelly’s overworn and pilly wrap dress from that summer could attest.

And Kelly was in no position to afford shapewear.

The dress hung off Kelly’s wide hips without bunching, thanks to the numerous small pleats that created a draping effect almost to her knees, disguising the occasional and inevitable bulge of thigh against the skirt--unless Kelly stood exactly so. She did her best.

The only drawback was the open shoulders, all the rage in current plus-size fashion. They highlighted the pleasing curve of softened plus-size shoulders while hiding the bane of all women (but especially that of the plus-size woman): “batwings,” that inevitable sag of skin and flesh that bedeviled the confidence of all but the most toned of women.

Kelly looked around the half-circle of white clad girls and knew she looked absolutely stunning in the midst of an absolutely stunning group.

But they looked stunning. She looked plus-size stunning.

The thin girls—and that was all of them—were clad in contemporary A-line or sheath-cut dresses, just a step away from something they could wear at the club. They were efficient lines where Kelly was elaborate curves, and uncluttered lays where Kelly was all pleated and rouched. And none of them had open-shouldered sleeves.

If they wore sleeves at all. Bare shoulders ruled the day.

Initiation felt a lot longer than she remembered its being last year, when she was the one kneeling in the black dress pledging fealty to Phi Gamma Psi. Of course this year she had to stand a lot more.

And, this year she felt a lot hungrier.

She shouldn’t have. Kelly really had intended to jump back on the diet horse Thursday morning. But the late night and the early morning run to PinkBox sabotaged her resolve, and those doughnuts smelled so good, and that bright green icing with the dollop of meringue teased her with such remonstration that she truly hadn’t given Key Lime Pie the kind of attention it deserved.

A problem she fixed before she opened the lab—a couple of minutes late.

But that didn’t fix her. It was a good thing she’d—as was her habit—completed her schoolwork already that week, because the doughnut only whet her appetite, to the degree that her mind could hardly focus on anything else. Long after the green goo was gone from her tongue she felt the tang of limey tartness lingering on her palate, so that by the time she closed the lab that afternoon she’d snuck down two more—not counting the two she been compelled to squirrel into her backpack for her community college classes that evening.

She had to! Because the night before she’d just spent $68 on a Kiyonna Tantalizing Twist Dress. Plus $17 for overnight shipping. And wasted $35 for a tent on layaway at Belk. And that meant that for the next week she was completely broke.

And though those five free doughnuts brought their share of regret, it didn’t weather the remorse she felt in the middle of language lab: that she hadn’t packed away two more.

From there it was a late buffet with Wade, who was off on the first of three straight weeks of road games that night. As was their wont, those doughnuts and their empty Calories had melted away to leave undented hunger in their wake. Restraint was off the table for Kelly that night: somewhere you have to get real nutrition, you know!

And don’t forget, you went a whole two days on your diet even after 195! There was always tomorrow.

Problem was, there was. She didn’t even have excuses for herself, except for the lamest one there is: I’m gonna blow it tonight, anyway, so why not? This time it was two doughnuts in the morning. Three more, on the sly, by the time she was ready to close the lab down.

As he sometimes did, Caleb showed up right before closing to check in.

“Wow,” he noted as they were heading out together, gesturing at the two doughnuts left in the box. “They’re finally catching on.”

Kelly just shrugged and grunted noncommittally.

“You know,” Caleb mused as they left the lab and locked the door and the doughnuts behind them, “I figured if I just gave it time they eventually would.”

**************

Kelly’s feet had been hurting a while before that the last “Hail!” rang out through the basement (not in the Phi Gamma house, which curiously enough didn’t have a basement), and Lindsey—clad in a white pencil skirt with matching bolero-ish blazer and shimmery white silky blouse, set apart like the high priestess, separate from the masses, that she seemed to think she was—declared the pledge class full members with arms extended to the Heavens, like some kind of pagan sacrifice ritual. From there she stepped forward and became everyone’s favorite plastic local politician, stepping with a beauty queen’s smile into the black-clad ranks of the new members to confirm her blessing on each one.

As she did, the room exploded in applause and sorority hugs, starting with a black Gordion knot of mutual congratulation, then expanding and dispersing among the white-clad upper classmen like some globular chess board as the Little Sisters gravitated out for hugs with their Bigs. Jenn and Crystal squeezed Kelly simultaneously in a Phi Gamma sandwich, their eyes tearing with more emotion than she would have thought possible, given how much they had more or less kept to themselves throughout the pledging process.

“Thank you soooo much!” Crystal laughed.

At least she was starting to get the language down.

“You look incredibly stunning!” Jenn followed. She was starting to catch on, too.

“Thank you, thank you. You two look absolutely fabulous, if I do say so my—“

“Oh-my-Fuh-king-Gawd, Kelly! You’re a goddamn fucking knockout.”

It was Elektra, looking just as sophisticated in her own sheath dress as she sounded unsophisticated with her speech. Her dress, though providing complete coverage, revealed everything there was to see about Elektra’s form—particularly just how surprisingly thin she was, and how perfectly proportioned her understated curves really were. The black blurred out a lot of the sexual overtones, and the end effect was a lot less than slutty--and, pretty much, just classic Elektra. She pressed her wiry form into Kelly for a tight, full frontal hug that lingered a little longer than the typical sorority hug. Her breath smelled more than a little bit like whiskey.

“My God I don’t see how the guys can even keep their hands off you!”

“What do you mean me? Look at you!”

“Who? Me?” Elektra went a bit pale, even underneath the generally darker, really-I’m-more-of-a-townee-than anything-else tones of her (rarely applied) make-up. It was the one thing about Elektra’s appearance that betrayed that hyper-feminine wasn’t Elektra’s usual look. Kelly imagined the whiskey was probably all about drumming up the courage to step out a bit.

“Well,” Elektra continued, “I have to tell you, after all this effort they’d better not!”

Elektra made a Miley Cyrus face and rubbed her hands over her hips and torso, and they laughed.

They were still laughing when Lindsey stepped in unannounced and sorority-hugged Elektra.

“Congratulations and welcome, Elektra-girl! You look stunning.”

Elektra recovered from surprise and returned the same sentiments before Lindsey turned to give Jenn and Crystal much the same performance.

“You look beautiful,” she smiled. She even sounded genuine. “You girls enjoy yourselves tonight—but not too much!”

Then she crossed behind Kelly on her way to something else or other—but not before brushing her fingers first across the flap of Kelly’s obscurant sleeve and then the soft curve of her exposed shoulder.

“Uniform…” she murmured, where only Kelly could hear it.
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:14 AM   #309
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No matter what else you do with this story, please let us readers see karma catch up with Lindsey some day....
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Old 08-27-2017, 12:08 AM   #310
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Default Riot act.

It was Phi Gamma tradition for Bigs to take out their Littles before hitting the town. There was nothing in Kelly’s bank account or Jenn and Crystal’s quiet natures that had hitting the town in the cards that night, but Gail was mysteriously gone for the evening, and Elizabeth was more than happy to host the girls for dinner that night. It was ziti and profiteroles, something that Elizabeth hadn’t pulled out since Kelly had gone home (Home!) mid-summer a million years ago. And that meant Kelly’s diet wasn’t in the cards that night, either.

But Jenn and Crystal did at least hit the town with their pledge mates that night, and Kelly and Elizabeth noshed on profiterole pastry and chocolatey ice cream soup until Elizabeth’s IV drip of wine inevitably dictated what for a Friday night celebration turned into a fairly early end to their evening. Kelly shed her dress and snuggled under a blanket on the couch in just her panties, her cavernous bra hung over the arm of the couch. She watched old 80s teen flicks on late night television, knowing that returning to the Attic would guarantee a noisy awakening at four in the morning when Marla and Monet—if not every girl on their floor—brought back a taste of the self-absorbed silliness that had likely characterized a girls night carousing out on the town.

Kelly fell asleep with part of her regretting it was them and not her—just as much as another part of her counted herself blessed to have a quiet evening at home (Home.) to herself.

Had she been thinking ahead, Kelly might have anticipated another weekend of reclusion and focus on exercise, like the last time Wade was out of town. Had she been thinking ahead. She lost that chance about the time she woke up to the smell of piggies in a basket baking in the oven, and blueberry pancakes sizzling on the griddle.

Kelly walked into the kitchen with her blanket wrapped around her naked form. Morning Gail was whistling to herself at the stove: wide freckled face sans make-up, thick raven hair up in a high ponytail, pink white-piped button up pajamas with the buttons stretching against her wide expanse of round, round belly.

“Morning, Rise-n-Shine!” Morning Gail usually looked tired and strained. And it really wasn’t all that late. Today she seemed energetic and relaxed. “Your mother won’t be up for hours. We haven’t just had girl time together you and me since the old days. I miss it!”

Gail smiled and enthusiastically tore off a bite of blueberry pancake pushed it past Kelly’s lips before she could protest. Its crispy edges crackled and popped as it hit her tongue, and sweet fruitiness lit up her tastebuds—and that was even before the blueberry compote Gail had simmering in a small sauce pan.

There was no saying no.

Gail left Kelly in charge of flipping some pancakes while she popped off into her room a few moments to get Gail some pajamas. Even in that short time, Kelly burned one side before Gail got back.

“Well,” Gail smiled with a twinkle in her eye, “it’s pretty clear the only food service God made you for is room service!” She tossed the two pancakes in the trash, even as Kelly cringed at the waste—and Gail’s backhanded reference to her waist. “Don’t worry, there’s plenty more where that came from.” Which was undoubtable, given the full gallon pitcher of batter sitting on the counter, next to a spray can of whipped cream.

Gail had the piggies served up and pancakes set out by the time Kelly changed into Gail’s pajamas. She breathed a quiet sigh of relief that the top buttoned up easily, if only because her unsupported and hanging breasts still billowed up to fill the space. What was important was that it hung loose at the bottom. The pants were another matter. They were cavernous through the thighs, which was good, but with a little care she might have done without the hair tie Gail had brought her to bunch up the waistline so they wouldn’t fall down. She twisted down tight anyway.

“My God, Kelly.” Gail gestured at her chest with her fork. She had already sat down and dived into a stack of pancakes. “I don’t really know how, but sometimes I forget about those! I guess no matter how much weight you drop that’ll pretty much always be something to deal with.”

Kelly pressed her chin to her neck and surveyed herself. Though right now it was lower without her bra, her view of herself from the top always ended at the crest of her breasts. Truth was, until it came to bra-fitting, she hardly ever thought about them, or the attention they brought, anymore.

She shrugged with one shoulder as she sat down, gingerly lifting one pancake off the stack and placing it on her plate. She dribbled on the smallest bit of compote and skipped the whipped cream. “I guess it’s just something I got used to.” She took one piggy and placed it on her plate and started cutting it into small bites with her knife and fork. “I suppose I lose my sense of proportion, because I’ve been thinking they got a lot smaller with all this weight I lost.” She took a small bite of piggy. Her stomach just growled with more hunger as the tiny bite hit home.

“How big are they now?”

“Well, I’m back down to wearing a double G, but I’m pretty sure—“

Down to a double G? Good God, woman! What were they before?”

“Um, one bra I bought said it was a double H…”

“A double H! That’s just…astounding. I can’t even comprehend wearing that!”

Enough about breasts, already!

“It’s my hips I can’t believe. I mean, ‘Last on, first off,’ they say, right? I guess not.” Another tiny bite. She even got a little egg this time.

Gail on the other hand had already shoved about a third of her stack of pancakes, four cakes high, slathered in compote and topped with a mountain of whipped cream, into her face.

“Not in my experience,” she muffled with her mouth half-full. She wiggled her jaw and let her substantial last bite melt away a bit before continuing. “Hips aren’t that bad. Trust me. That’s probably my best part! So of course, when I lose weight it melts right off my hips, right? And then it always comes back on right here.” She put both hands on the top of the mound sitting on her lap. As she did so, the sleeves stretched taut to make tight bunches of upper arm. A lot of Gail’s accumulating weight was ending up there, too.

“I think your hips look great,” Gail added, then scooped another but smaller forkful into her mouth. She let the bite sit in her chubby cheek and kept talking. “At one point in the summer I thought you were looking pretty top-heavy. Gawd! Now I know why! HH! But your hips have really balanced you out.”

Thanks. I think. It shouldn’t have surprised Kelly that Gail would have been scrutinizing her that much, given how much she was always doing the same to Gail. Why was it that when it was just girls conversation always had to turn back to their bodies?

“You’ve really turned into quite the hourglass hottie. I’d kill to have a shape like yours.”

A doubtful statement. Gail was just shoving another forkful of pancakes in her face right behind the last one. Kill? Kelly couldn’t imagine Gail would even just diet.

That certainly wasn’t gonna happen here and now. While Kelly practiced discipline by picking at her pancake and egg toast, hoping she’d feel satiety before they were gone, Gail lit into two more slathered pancakes and a piggy-in-the-basket while they talked about various and sundry things, interspersing into the conversation updates about their lives the last few months. Gail did most of the talking, telling Kelly about successes from her last two road trips (which Kelly didn’t really understand) and some of the friends and frenemies she’d been developing both home and away (which Kelly was intensely interested in, even if she was soon lost in a blizzard of names of people she knew she would never meet). She relayed news of an ambitious sales goal and a potential promotion, as well as positive but vague developments in possibly a more committed relationship with David.

At which point, of course, Gail inquired about Jenny.

“So have you been talking very much with Jenny?”

Jenny. Of the heart-of-gold. Kelly’s recently-confessed best friend. Whom she hadn’t talked to.

Kelly didn’t answer the question. She didn’t need to. She picked at her second pancake (this time with a good deal more compote) and talked about the adjustment to her new school, her new job, new room, new boyfriend, new Littles—not in much detail, as it was all territory covered extensively in their weekly brunches. All excuses, and Gail knew it.

“I’m calling foul on that,” she pronounced from the stove, where she was stirring some frozen potatoes to satisfy a yearning for hash browns that had suddenly washed over her. “None of that excludes a ten-minute phone call or two.”

Kelly let out a low mirthless laugh. “Yeah. I’ll bet ten minutes on a phone would be an eternity to her.”

“It would be an eternity with her!” Gail also laughed. Hers was bright and mischievous. Gail was as infectiously charming as ever, but it wasn’t enough to assuage Kelly’s vague sense of guilt.

Why? It’s not like I owe her anything.

It was the pressure of Phi Gamma, she continued. The stress of her parents’ divorce, of being shut out by her father. It was just for a little while so she could focus, regain her footing in Phi Gamma, get on track with her diet and exercise. Nothing Jenny would relate to. Or even care to.

Gail, sitting now and disappearing the bulk of her hash browns (except for the spoonful that made its way onto Kelly’s plate), nodded and shrugged. There wasn’t much denying the truth of that.

But she responded with something else.

“So Kelly, there’s been something I’ve been thinking for a while that I was trying not to ever say. But I think maybe it’s something you need to hear.”

Uh-oh. Kelly steeled herself for the worst.

“Don’t get uptight. It’s nothing bad!” Gail smiled. “It’s just that I’m looking at you now that you’ve made it back into Phi Gamma—and no,” she retorted, before Kelly could make the obvious interjection, “it doesn’t matter that you didn’t actually qualify. As far as anyone there knows, you made it back in fair and square.

“But you put in all that effort, all that single-minded focus to make it in, and now that you’re in, it hardly seems you’re in at all. I mean actually in in. The only girls you hang out with are your roommates and your Littles. I thought you were supposed to have friends there. You hardly go to any of the mixers and pretty much none of the parties. You skipped Jacksonville, and your freakin’ boyfriend is on the football team!”

“I skipped Florida because I don’t have any money.”

“No, that’s not it. You bargained, cheated and lied your way back into Phi Gamma. Oh, and don’t forget, you busted your ass all summer for ten weeks, too. You did things you never would have thought you could do, never would have even thought of trying. Now you couldn’t figure out a way to get to the beach and back? For, like, a lifetime opportunity for fun and memories? You didn’t even try. Hell, I probably could have lent you the money. Your roommates probably would have let you tag along for nothing, if you would have just opened up and asked. Beg, borrow, steal—I don’t care. I never had much money, and I made it happen when I was Phi Gamma. So don’t tell me it was about the money.”

Kelly was looking down, poking a last bite of cold, springy pancake with her fork.

“Kelly, I know this is hard. Look at me. Do you think I just walk into doctor’s offices ready to sell them on pharmaceuticals and think people aren’t gonna judge me? You should see the girls I’m competing with: beautiful, thin, athletic, smart. I mean, how many smart sorority girls end up as medical reps? I don’t know? All of them? Certainly all the ones that look that good. I couldn’t count the number of times standing at a receptionist’s desk in front of some skinny 19-year-old telling herself she’ll never possibly get as big as me and wondering how anyone could get so big. How many times I wanted to turn around and hit a nice bar and grill, or head back to my hotel room! But I push through that and I live the life I’m gonna live and I don’t let it get me down. And the way I learned that was by being the fattest president of the fattest sorority on campus and got girls like that to look up to me for a change.

“I get what you’re doing. You’re thinking just focus on this weight thing and get it back under control and everything else will fall into place. And maybe you’re right. You probably are. I’ve thought it a hundred times before a hundred failed diets myself. But in the meantime it’s sucking almost all the joy out of your life.

“You worked hard this summer. But we had fun, right? You went to the parties and made friends and made a big splash, and you poked back at the Lindsey Wellingtons of the world by just doing it better. I’m not trying to pull you off your goal. I’m not! I wish I had your dedication. I’m just—I just want to see that sweet, happy, fun girl I fell in love with this summer back. She’s a great girl. She really is. You’re a great girl—I mean, I don’t want to make it sound like you’ve turned into some killjoy or something. You’re not. But it hurts my heart to watch the joy sucked out of your life just so you can lose some pounds a little faster.

“I just—well, there you have it. I’m sorry, Kelly. I didn’t mean to lecture you. Gawd I want a drink! Maybe I could have just one Bloody Mary. You think I could manage that?”

Honestly Kelly didn’t think she could. She’d been wondering why Gail hadn’t imbibed one or two already.

“Sure you could,” she smiled. “I mean, what’s there to stop you?”

“The same thing that stops me from having three or four: nothing. I just get so…. I’ve been thinking for a while I need to cut down.”

Good! Because you absolutely do.

“I feel so much better when I do. I mean, last night I had a date and didn’t even have a single drink!”

“I thought you were gonna commit to David!”

“Yeah. Wellll, that’s a whole other thing.” Kelly noticed that Gail’s hands were shaking a little. “And a fat girl’s gotta take her chance any time she can.”

“And?”

“Annnnd, no.” Gail pushed back from the dinette, which shook as she did so, then leaned heavily on it, which tilted it to the right, before leaning to her feet. Reflecting back to last night had apparently made her decision for her. “I definitely need a Bloody Mary!” She padded her way over to the refrigerator and started the well-practiced routine of whipping out the ingredients.

“See?” she said as she pulled the vodka out of the freezer. “I wish I had your dedication.”
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Old 08-31-2017, 06:04 PM   #311
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Default Time to eat the doughnuts

No surprise to anyone, Gail didn’t stop at just one.

It was just a few moments before Elizabeth lumbered blearily into the kitchen. “Gail’s Famous Bloody Mary! Don’t mind if I do.”

She had on a sleeveless bag of a nightgown that in the front interloped with her form first at the curve of her brassiered breasts, then at the top of her prodigious tummy. On the sides it was held up by the pooch of each hip, and in the back it nestled into the cleft of her ever-deepening shelf of a butt—long considered by anyone to be Elizabeth’s best feature at any weight. Her mass of beautiful but gray-streaked-otherwise-near-black hair was balled up into a messy two pencil bun, exposing the jiggly roll of extra chin that extended from ear to ear. She leaned over with a good-natured groan to hug Kelly with one heavy arm around her neck and shoulders, one chubby cheek pushing back against Kelly’s less chubby cheek, an obtrusive breast completing a momentary near-headlock of warm soft flesh. Kelly lingered in that embrace as long as Elizabeth cared to give it, which was only as long as Elizabeth could manage leaning over.

There’s nothing like an extra-squishy hug from your Mommy. Sometimes you need it even more than others.

Elizabeth plodded over to Gail over by the blender and gave her a peck on the cheek, then started humming as she turned directly to the stove to take care of the remaining half pitcher of fluffy rising blueberry pancake batter. About as soon as Gail placed the Bloody Mary on the counter at Elizabeth’s elbow was about the time half of it was gone. The other half didn’t survive too much longer.

It wasn’t too tough to see where this day at Gail’s was headed, and it was something Kelly had no wish to be a part of, or even see. She shared pancakes (Kelly’s one to Elizabeth’s four) with her mother and revisited much of their conversation from the night before, which was enough for Kelly to recognize that Elizabeth must have been masking exactly how drunk she had gotten the night before.

It hurt Kelly’s heart to see her mother, the backbone of every party, the fun mother all her friends had wished their mothers could be, taking such poor care of herself and withdrawing the way she was from the world. Like so many other times before, she dismissed herself soon and after absorbing the warm docile hugs of the soon-to-be somnolent, changed back into her dress and made her way back to the house.

***********

She got back to the Attic, where Monet and Marla were lazing around in the early afternoon after a late night, the odor of alcohol and dance floor unmistakable in the mild warmth of the Southern mid-October afternoon. After learning where she’d been all night, the girls plied her for leftovers, which she regrettably didn’t have because—well, there hadn’t been any. She sent a quick text to Wade knowing on Saturday afternoon it wouldn’t be answered. Just as well. She had a lot to think about. She got in a distracted workout that was more out than work and then hit the showers.

Two things weighed heavily on Kelly’s mind: Gail’s words, questioning the price of her single-minded focus on weight loss; and her actions, praising Kelly’s single-minded focus on weight loss, while inhaling a huge breakfast in prelude to what Kelly knew would be a pitcher of Bloody Marys.

She couldn’t help but think that Gail was wrong. She wasn’t single-minded about anything. She was of two minds about everything. These days they were at war with each other, a relentless battle of competing wills between the desire for weight loss and the urge for food. Last summer they were a deadly cycle: an indomitable passion to gain what she treasured—Phi Gamma—fueled out of seeming necessity by an incorrigible obsession for, again, food.

What is it? Why does it rule me so!?

But Gail’s speech still stuck with her. So when Monet and Marla asked Kelly if she wanted to go to a friend’s house to watch the game, knowing there would be all kinds of beer and snacks around, she still fought off the inclination to refuse and tagged along. They were, after all, free, and she was, after all, broke.

She didn’t know they were going to be the only Phi Gammas there. And by party standards it wasn’t much of one—a few Sigma Nus and their girlfriends lazing around the living room with a couple of pizzas and a case of beers. She had no idea who they were.

But they knew her.

That wasn’t clear to her at first. As usual, the game didn’t hold much interest for her, so it didn’t take long for her to break out with one of the girls and talk about…whatever. Well, the other girl talked about…whatever. Gail’s feedback had her thinking, and Kelly realized that the things she used to talk about—and talk about a lot—were things she didn’t feel like she could talk about. Like clothes. How could she talk about that without talking about the problems of getting the right look? Because that would have the other girl thinking, "Well, that’s because you’re fat.” And Kelly would be thinking, "That girl’s totally thinking about how I’m fat." And no matter how bad things got, Kelly refused to be the girl turning that conversation into how hard it was to fit her boobs, when really her problem was that she was fat.

Nope. Not her!

She couldn’t talk about Phi Gamma, either. One, she didn’t think she could without it showing on her face what only she knew, that right now she was living a lie. And Gail was right: she was barely living it. It’s one thing to talk about your sorority incessantly when you’re in the thick of it—or really, in freshman Kelly’s case, on the top of it. It’s another thing when you’re the token fat girl stuck in the unrenovated Attic keeping your head down as much as possible. And frankly, girls who weren’t Greek didn’t care, and girls who were Greek looked at that as competition.

A competition Kelly would lose.

Family was off-limits, too, because—well, the reasons were obvious.

And, she couldn’t talk about boys. Not the way she used to, anyway, because now she had a boy. All that excitement and lather about how hot this one was, or the potential with that one, or lamentations about how poorly things had turned out, or (which Kelly tried to avoid) character assassination about the ones they didn’t like. Kelly had Wade. But unless she just flat out announced it was Wade, then Kelly was that fat girl raving about her boyfriend just because (in Kelly’s experience), she had one.

But this time Kelly didn’t have to mention anything.

“Aren’t you Wade Bodie’s girlfriend?”

“Yeah. I am.” Kelly shrugged and blushed like a preschooler, trying not to giggle. It still made her feel giddy to think about him that way.

“I thought so.”

Kelly had expected her to say more, but the girl just stopped there. There were God knew how many students at this university. How would she know that?

“Mmmm,” the girl finally said, “what it must be like!”

“Mm-hm!” Kelly smiled, but she was giving neither the goods nor the dirt this girl was looking for away. “It’s not easy, though.” Kelly launched into the frustrations of dating a big-time college athlete. The conversation fizzled pretty soon after the girl made a few sarcastic comparisons to her boyfriend, long, lean and unshaven, lazing on the couch.

Later on she was sitting on the couch sharing the last of the pizza with the boys. By that time the game was a blowout, not in the Mastiffs’ favor, and she was sharing intermittent conversation with the guy next to her.

“So,” he said out of the blue, “I heard you’re running some kind of brain study out of the psychology building? How can a guy get hooked up with that?”

He had this casual look on his face that told Kelly there was more behind the question. Another guy she’d never met before, and yet clearly he knew who she was.

“That’s weird. How’d you hear about that?”

“Oh, you know. Just around. No big deal.”

Apparently, though, it was a bigger deal than he made it out to be. Maybe he’d just heard about the doughnuts.

The vision of five uneaten Pinkbox doughnuts flashed in front of her. Damn!

Or perhaps it was just what this kind of thing usually was: some guy attracted to her tits finding an angle to get in with her. No problem there. No harm, no foul. Yet. And nothing new about it, either.

Worst thing, though, was the facebook page. Maybe he was hiding that he knew about it. Maybe he’d looked at it, maybe even left one of those comments.

Or maybe even made the thing himself.

Kelly shook off the thought. It wasn’t any place she wanted to go, and there was no way to know anyway. And then there was something else to think about.

“Oh, shit," The guy said. "That guy beat the hell out of him. He may not get up. I don’t think he’s getting up.”

Kelly knew Wade wasn’t in the game, but that didn’t stop her heart from leaping into her throat anyway. The player on the ground was Jeff Ellison, the Mastiffs senior quarterback. The camera skipped briefly to a shot of the skinny brunette Kelly had talked with last week, both hands to her face in distress, eyes riveted on the cluster of medical people and a few players—Anthony was one of them—surrounding Jeff on the field.

“Oh, man, we’re fucked. There goes the season.”

“You were just calling him a scrub,” one of the other guys interjected.

“He is a scrub. He’s also the only quarterback we got.”

Shut up, insensitive jerks! Kelly had seen injured players before. It had taken on a whole new meaning for her this year. She texted Wade.

Kelly Kingsley>>OMG! Just saw Jeff. He gonna be OK?

Kelly, of course, got no reply.

Jeff left the field on a cart. At least it wasn’t a stretcher and a backboard. The drubbing only got worse from there. Kelly and the girls wound up cutting out early so Marla and Monet could get ready to go out that night. Marla, in particular, had a guy she was interested in, and Monet was all set to be her wingman. Kelly begged off, knowing better, that if she wound up going as wingman it would probably ruin Marla’s chances.

It wasn’t pride. It was just the reality. Which is why this time the girls didn’t prod her to go.

She hung out with the girls in the room while they got ready, chatting about the clothes, the boys, the house—whatever came to their minds—the way Kelly was used to, until about 9:00 she went downstairs for a second workout that day, this one with more than a little passion. And whether she really was hungry or just the uncertainty she’d had gnawing at her stomach since this morning, she didn’t know. But by that time the girls were gone. And the bank account was still empty.

And there were free doughnuts half a mile away.

She texted Wade.

Kelly Kingsley>>Sorry about the game today! Any word on Jeff?

No reply. Her stomach rumbled. Marla’s bagels were gone. Her mind kept flipping back to those doughnuts.

Stop obsessing, Kelly! They probably all got trashed anyway.

She didn’t. With the girls gone, she stripped down and did the sticky icky, hoping that would take the steam out of her.

It didn’t. It made her hungrier.

She tried a shower. A cold one. (Actually, a not-as-hot-as-usual one. One thing Kellen Kingsley was never going to tolerate in her life was a cold shower.) She washed her hair. Dried it. Even sat down on her bunk for the daunting task of curling it.

She could barely remember how her mind was so focused on the doughnuts.

That was when she knew she was gonna have those doughnuts. It was a certainty.

So much a certainty, she realized, she was gonna have them now.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:03 AM   #312
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Default Blood for doughnuts

Large numbers lose their power. So one of the major drawbacks of inferring colossal Calorie counts in a bite of doughnut is that 30 bites of doughnut become equally colossal. When Kelly made the trip back to the Attic in the cool of the October night in her flip flops, basketball shorts and oversized sweatshirt (very oversized—it was one of Wade’s), all five of those doughnuts had found their way into her now swollen tummy. There wasn’t any more guilt for those five doughnuts than the mere bite of Samoa she’d had just over a week before. That might have changed a bit as the pleasure of those doughnuts yielded to the always disgusting-to-her feeling of an overfull tummy.

But those were soon overpowered by a few powerful cramps and that familiar ache in her back that could only mean her period was coming on. Sure enough, she made it back to her room just in time to save her undies.

Oh! she thought, realizing an old, familiar pattern. It all made sense now. All was forgiven! That’s why I feel like eating the whole world!

Kelly’s period had been increasingly infrequent and irregular these past months, and lighter than they ever had been.

Apparently this period was making up for lost time. She maxed out on her dwindling supply of Tylenol and put herself to bed early, wishing she had a few more doughnuts for comfort before slipping uneasily into sleep.

Whether it was the after-effects of a Saturday night stuffing or the lingering presence of Kelly’s hunger-aura, Kelly’s mind went right back to those extra doughnuts when she woke up. As usual, she was able to fend off breakfast—which might have ended with a bank-busting and embarrassing walk over to the PinkBox—by thinking ahead to brunch. And though she usually thought of brunch as an exercise in mitigating damage, riding the crimson wave the way she was had her embracing ahead of time in her mind a few of her mother’s more comforting delights.

And they were certainly delightful. Maybe it was Mommy sixth sense, or maybe Elizabeth had simply been inspired enough by Gail’s pancake breakfast that she upped the ante with her fruit and cinnamon roll waffles a la mode, eggs benedict, and cranberry muffins—all washed down with a fruit-heavy version of Gail’s Bloody Mary (a Blood Orange Mary) to die for. It went down like soda, and Kelly had to work hard to stop even at three. She was happy to see a surly Wade fall asleep with one in front of the NFL at the recliner, and for a hungover Gail holding off after the first hair of the dog.


But Elizabeth herself, wedged again between the table and the buffet on the back wall, actually passed out at the table. Head back, exposing the full fleshiness of what at that angle was her near uni-chin, mouth open, heavy chest heaving with the quick breaths of the inebriate—she missed all but the initial praises for a magnificent meal with a truly beautiful presentation. Could a woman who swelled to what had to be over 300 pounds now really be thought of as a “shadow” of the woman she was before? Certainly one who passed out wasn’t someone anyone tried to move.

There was only so long Kelly could bear looking at her that way before she took Elizabeth’s place at the couch, where Kelly herself drowsed into her own waffle-and-alcohol-induced nap. And when she woke, it was to Gail’s gentle shake hustling them out so Kelly could get to chapter meeting on time. Wade was in the bathroom getting ready to drive Kelly back to the house. Gail had a bag stuffed ready to go with muffins, bananas and berries packed for each of them. And though Wade might have been up for some fishing on other Sunday nights, his attitude was still as defeated as his Mastiffs, and even this far into their relationship, as nice as it would have felt about now, Kelly wasn’t all so sure she was ready for painting the town red (as the Phi Gammas say) with Wade just yet.

The after-chapter meeting with Marla, Monet and the muffins would have to suffice. It did. And the Hunt for Red October was intrusive enough that for once she actually skipped a session on the House Mother.

So when Kelly blearily made the trek to the scale early Monday morning it was with more than a little negativity and a fair amount of resignation about what she was going to see.

196.2.

She was amazed. Ecstatic even. She couldn’t believe it. Water retention. Doughnut binge(s). Pancakes. Waffles. Pizza. Booze.

Not even half a pound. She could live with that. Finally, a break!!!

She picked up an extra half dozen doughnuts at the PinkBox that morning and, by the time the shift ended, celebrated with three.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:52 PM   #313
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Default A Girl and Her Birthday...Doughnuts.

“Happy Birthday, Kell.”

He even had a candle on it: a PinkBox birthday cake doughnut. A filled doughnut with a blend of whipped cream and pulverized Birthday Cake Oreo, vanilla frosted with syrupy funfetti-bright swirls on top and a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with Birthday Cake Oreo bits.

Is my obsession that obvious?

“That’s sweet, Caleb. Thanks.” She blew out the candle and pushed it to the side. “I think I’ll take it with me.”

Caleb raised in eyebrows in mock surprise but didn’t say anything.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t appreciative, or even that she felt any pressure about eating the doughnut.

It’s just that she’d already had two that morning.

For the first time in her life, and in absolute, complete 100% contrast with last year, Kelly had kept her birthday completely under wraps. Whether it was just an extension of two months in (comparative) hiding, or the killer cramps that after two days were finally just easing up a bit, or some kind of deeper concern, Kelly couldn’t have said, though after the upheaval of the last five months it seemed like a lot more fuss than it was worth. What was worth it was her birthday present to herself: permission to indulge in whatever without guilt or fear.

If she’d been a little more honest with herself she’d have recognized the “whatever” for what she really meant. That morning it had meant upping the order at PinkBox to two dozen doughnuts. She even splurged on a latte to accompany her birthday cake doughnut and sat down at one of the four tiny tables for a relaxing, private birthday moment.

Nothing else about her birthday, it turned out, was private for the rest of the day.

Kelly keyed open the lab that morning to find a gift from Lierman: a cellophane-wrapped basket of baked goods (breads, muffins, cookies), dorm staples (peanut butter: Mrs. Gorman’s Nuttery Buttery Spread--mmmm!--Fig Newtons, apples and bananas) and a nice note:

Happy Birthday, Kelly! Proud of how hard you’ve worked and so glad to have you on board with us. I know it’s been a struggle…hope some of this helps get you through this semester!

Dennis


Kelly felt weird having any adult her mother’s age use his first name with her. But she also felt gratitude. But mostly she felt a familiar sense of relief—the same relief she’d felt back in August after what she’d thought of as a brief flirtation with “food insecurity,” knowing now she had a small stash of relative imperishables as a go-to until next week’s check pulled through.

Maybe that’s what’s fueling my doughnut obsession!

Or not. The few moments between reading that note and opening the lab was when Kelly sat for a few moments and enjoyed that second Birthday Cake doughnut.

It’s my birthday. They can wait a few moments more.

That, she thought, would be the extent of her birthday. (And whatever surprise her mother would have for her at some point.) That’s how it played out at first, until the end of the first round of guys. Kelly never had figured out which one was the Skeptic and which was the Believer, but as the two of them sauntered out together (as was their habit), each with a PinkBox wrapped in a napkin (which wasn’t), one of the two slipped an envelope on the corner of her desk on the way out the door.

“Happy birthday, Kelly,” he offered, a bit sheepishly. “Thanks for everything.”

It was the last week of the study for the first batch of subjects, and that suddenly struck her as a bit sad, kind of like she felt after that last volleyball game that she and her cheer squad had done in the Spring of her senior year. She proffered her thanks and a surprisingly wistful goodbye, waited just a second after he left, lit into the envelope, and laughed.

The front of the card was a double cheeseburger with a candle on top. Could he have known she overheard? Or maybe it was just an inside joke?

Either way, the message was serious enough: “I’ve got you on facebook. Maybe we could text sometime.” It warmed Kelly’s heart: it had been a week, maybe even two, since one of the guys had made a pass at her. Even a clumsy one like this. She made a new circle of favorites and added him—James—so she’d remember to follow up more genuinely.

By noon, the time Caleb proffered his doughnut during his customary check-in, that circle had grown to four.

As the morning went on, Kelly’s phone started blowing up with birthday texts from well-wishers—a lot of them from Phi Gammas she’d hardly heard from all semester. That touched her heart even more, bringing her at one point to the edge of tears. She spent half of her morning responding to those texts, most of which led to running conversations along the lines of “What have you been up to?” “Where have you been?” and “We totally need to hang out!”

Her mind drifted back to her exchange with Caleb in this very room a couple of months ago. See Caleb? It’s about sisterhood! Her Phi Gammas hadn’t gone anywhere. It was Kelly who’d disappeared!

Figuratively speaking.

Of course, Kelly was wise enough at least to figure out what it was. A (totally heart-warming) text from Brittney Shore summed it up best:

678-444-8967>>Remembering you on this day after one of the greatest Tuesdays of my college life!!! Happy birthday, Kelly!!!

Kelly had blocked her birthdate on social media, but that hadn’t stopped the info from leaking onto her facebook feed. By the time she blew out Caleb’s candle, she’d had 78 likes and 54 comments on someone’s happy birthday post. A few from high school friends who’d managed to friend her on her new profile. But the vast majority were from guys in the study, whom she largely recognized, and, she guessed, more than a few of their friends, whom she didn’t. She thought she’d better check the Instagram page she’d created for her Personal Computing class (bursting with assignments she’d had to post there to demonstrate her competency with the app) and noted with relief no one had found her there. Yet. And, she had little doubt she would eventually delete it. Her interest in social media was checking in with others, not making an online exhibition of herself.

“Well,” Caleb said on the way out the door, “do yourself a favor and let yourself go a little bit today. It’s your birthday. You know, you and your doughnut can have a quiet little party today. Since, you know, you apparently aren’t having a party today. Because, you know, if you were having a party I’m sure I would know about it. You know, maybe I might even be, you know, invited.”

Kelly smiled a little wickedly and tried to lift one eyebrow. (She’d always wanted to be able to do that, but the only thing she'd ever accomplished with it was looking a little bit constipated.) She said nothing. Better for him to think she had a secret in the works. Besides, she wasn’t giving him anything for ammunition.

“Yeah, OK. I see what you’re up to, Kingsley.” He pointed to the doughnut. “Don’t spend that all in one place!”

She looked at the doughnut with mock lust, and Caleb let out one grudging yeah-I-can’t-believe-it-but-that-was actually-funny snort before heading out. She had an hour to piddle away before meeting Wade over at the athletic dorm for lunch, and for once she intended to get her money’s worth. She certainly wasn’t gonna spoil that with something she’d already had twice today!

“’Don’t spend it all in one place!’” she muttered, before pulling the doughnut her way and eating it.

She hated Caleb telling her what to do.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:10 PM   #314
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Default A schemer's work is never done.

“This girl was Phi Gamma President?”

Elektra had leaned over and spoken that into Kelly’s ear.

“I know,” Kelly leaned over in turn. “Unbelievable, right?”

“Uniform!” Elektra hissed back dramatically, then snickered in mock mockery of herself.

“I know, right!?” And Elektra didn’t know one-one hundredth the irony. “But wait ‘til you get to know her. You’ll understand how!”

“Oh, I’m just kidding! I already do. She owns everyone in this room.”

She surely did, and by everyone, Elektra meant a lot: Kelly’s mother, Marla, Monet, Jenn, Crystal, and nigh on every other girl from the newly admitted Phi Gamma pledge class all crammed into Gail’s middling-sized living room for dinner and drinks.

The dining room might have been available as well, but it was crammed full of dinner: a huge buffet-style selection of traditional Southern food like baby-back BBQ ribs, corn-on-the-cob, Mac-n-Cheese, homemade bread, green bean casserole, rise-fresh dinner rolls, and sweet tea—but all with a more sophisticated French-fusion twist. Like the Gouda and goat-cheese topping the Mac-n-Cheese, the avant-garde spices on the corn, the teriyaki-sriracha glaze on the ribs. And then there was the green bean casserole: unadulterated, a masterpiece of mushroom soup, green beans and onion straws that on God’s green Earth would never find any way to be improved. The buffet (not the food, the furniture) was stacked with a now half-empty assortment of wine bottles. The kitchen table was stacked with an array of liquor and liqueurs suited for optimal customization of that ever-misnomered drink of all Southern hard drinks, the Long Island Iced Tea. And the kitchen counter was covered as ever by the remnants of all manner of mixed drinks blended.

Which at that point, early in the evening of Kelly’s 20th birthday, Wednesday October 16, was exactly what Kelly was: blended.

As far as Kelly could tell Gail was actually sober, and Elektra’s joke about Gail’s weight aside, she was definitely in uniform: she wore a form-fitting pair of plus-size Seven jeans with fashionably bejeweled back pockets, and up top an empire-waist blouse with a jewel-studded neckline that accentuated her (relative) itty-bitties and left uncertain the exact girth of her substantial, round belly. At the moment she was one of the two stars of the show, surrounded by a ring of sorority girls squeezed together on the couch and on the love seat and on the chairs appropriated from the dining room, serving each of the girls birthday cake.

As the birthday girl Kelly was fortunate to have the recliner to herself, but she wasn’t the other star. No, the other star was the birthday cake itself.

It might as well have been a wedding cake. It had three pillared tiers of vanilla-bean icing, pearlized with icing paint, trimmed with purple passion piping, the Greek letters phi, gamma and psi piped in meticulous passion detail with gold and pearl highlighting for depth and dimension of the letters. Inside each tier was three layers of wedding white cake with purple mixed berry filing between each of the layers. Each layer was adorned with blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, all half-dipped in pearlized white candy.

It was a truly breath-taking display that had sure enough taken Kelly’s breath away when she’d first seen it, just moments after Wade had escorted her into the terrifying “Surprise!” of the truly surprising surprise party!

“Oh, my, Mommy!” Kelly finally breathed after pulling away from the heavy blanket that was Elizabeth’s fleshy hug. Kelly knew without asking it was Elizabeth who had made it. “It’s so beautiful!”

“Of course it is, Baby! It had to be if it was to be for you! But I’m sorry, Baby. This is the reason I didn’t have the money to help you with your dress when you needed it.” She said it as she always had about such things, as if she had somehow let Kelly down with some kind of pressing need.

“Oh, Mommy! You just forget that! This is the best ever! Thank you!”

“Happy birthday, Baby!”

“Thank you, Mommy!”

“Now stuff yourself silly and go get wasted on the town tonight, Munchkin!”

MOM!!!

Elizabeth enveloped Kelly in another heavy hug and slapped Kelly on her behind before laughing her way back to the kitchen.

Wade had begged off hastily from the hen party he'd recognized was unfolding before his eyes. Plates were filled, drinks flowed, laughter flowed faster, and Kelly lost herself in the fun while Elizabeth and Gail kept things running like a well-oiled machine.

And now, Gail was basking in the spotlight along with the cake. She was serving girls one by one with the same script:

“Karen (or Jennifer, or even Marla, whom of course she knew)? Is that your name? Hi, [Karen]. Gail. Nice to meet you. Kelly’s mother made this incredible cake. How big a piece would you like? Just a small piece? [Wait for the answer "Yes."] Absolutely! Coming right up!”

Gail cut off a huge piece of cake and made a show of flopping it on the plastic plate before handing it to the girl and moving on to the next one.

“Elektra (or Natalie, or even Monet, whom of course she knew)? Is that your name? Hi, [Elektra]. Gail. Nice to meet you. Kelly’s mother made this incredible cake. How big a piece would you like? Just a small piece? Just a sliver? Absolutely! Coming right up!”

And she cut off a piece always bigger than the last one. The room howled with each successive piece. And then after eight or nine girls, Gail got to Kelly.

“And then there’s you, the birthday girl!”

“Don’t you even!” Kelly exclaimed, her head light with alcohol and laughter.

“Don’t you even! Don’t even dare take some little sliver of the cake your Mommy slaved over just for you!”

With that Gail turned and picked up the entire top tier of the cake with her server, which was much too small for the job. The cake broke in half, one half still on the server, the other half plopping upside down on the edge of the second tier, then flopping over again onto the serving cart. Fruit went flying and icing splattered on the faces of Elizabeth, who howled with laughter, and Karen, who absolutely did not—though everyone else did. Gail, who by this time was splattered with icing and fruit filling from forehead to tummy, made as if nothing had happened and flopped the cake from her server onto a ceramic plate, which though certainly bigger than the plastic plates was barely big enough to contain it. She then whistled nonchalantly as she wielded the server like a bricklayer with a trowel, scraping up the wayward cake and slopping it right on top of the cake on the plate. She turned and handed the mound of cake to Kelly with a flourish, ignoring the bits and blobs falling down to the carpet and, as it happened, on Kelly’s lap.

Kelly controlled her own laughter just enough to take the plate and put it on her thighs. Cake had smeared all over her hands, and she made a show of licking her palms as best she could for the laughing, and the room laughed all the more as she did.

Not to be outdone, Gail held her cake-caked trowel in the air before she licked it. The room howled even more as frosting and fruit filling smeared up her face and bangs and tumbled down her blouse and down to the floor, when Gail herself finally lost it in her own fit of choking laughter.

“Oh, my God that’s so funny!” Elizabeth yelped. Her head bobbed back and her double chin jiggled as she did, her hands clasped around her belly like some exaggerated caricature of Mrs. Claus.

“Oh, that’s soooo good!” Natalie answered her as the din died down. “I can’t believe how good this cake is Mrs. Kingsley. I thought I knew how to bake. I just wish I could learn to bake a cake this good!”

A round of mm-hmms! cascaded around the living room in affirmation. Kelly looked around the room and noticed that for all their modest requests for “just a little piece” just about every plate (except, to be fair, the last few, which no one could ever be expected to eat, at least in one sitting, and in public) was already near empty.

“Oh, I’m sure you could, Natalie,” Elizabeth replied, brushing away icing from her bodice with her napkin. She rocked her way forward the way women of her size do to make the momentum to stand to her feet, slowly standing to full height. “There’s coffee brewing in the kitchen for any and all—and Bailey’s for anyone who wants a little kick!”

A chorus of affirmations rang up from the room, more than Elizabeth could hope to count, not that she tried to. It seemed pretty likely that a round of Irish coffee was on its way out for all, and no one seemed the least bit concerned about it.

But Kelly was. She knew how important it was to keep up and couldn’t understand how much of a lightweight she felt like that night. Could it be she’d somehow had three Long Islands? Something else she might have overlooked? She’d been eating all day and was sooooo stuffed—it wasn’t as if she were on an empty stomach or anything. Still she pecked at the cake in front of her wondering if it would help slow down the effects of the coffee when it came. She couldn’t crap out early for her own party!!

Meanwhile Gail had finished dabbing herself with her own napkin, though there was still frosting and fruit in her bangs and smeared across the crest of her belly.

“Hey, Natalie,” she asked. “Were you serious about wanting to be a better cook? Because if you are we know a way that you can.”

Gail turned to Kelly and smiled.

Happy birthday, kiddo! she mouthed.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:05 AM   #315
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Default Happy birthday juice

And so it happened just like that. With Gail’s prodding, Kelly laid out Ms. Lennox’s need for students next semester—leaving out, of course, her own part of the story.

“Yeah,” Elektra said. “We could do that. Sounds fun.” A chorus of affirmations joined her.

Then, of course, the girls spent another 45 minutes reaffirming all the various ways in which they affirmed the proposition. The shuttle of Irish coffee refills by Gail and Elizabeth didn’t speed things up any, either. And though she hadn’t meant to, it was so yummy that by the time Elektra spoke up again Kelly’d had two cups and was sipping a third so that she couldn’t tell if the spinning was the room, her chair, or her head.

“Come on, girls, gotta wrap this up. Band goes on in less than an hour.”

Band?

It took a lot less time than you would think gathering everyone up and spilling into cars. For Kelly, though, it felt like everything else around her was moving double speed, while she was moving in slow motion. She pushed her way to her feet past the weight of the alcohol pushing her back down to her seat, then steadied her balance by bracing herself with Elektra’s outstretched arm.

“Easy there, sailor!” Elektra laughed. “Wait a second til you get your sea legs!”

“My gawd!” Kelly exclaimed, now holding onto both of Elektra’s hands for balance. “I didn’ think I really drank that much!”

“Who knows? Maybe you’re just out of practice.”

Kelly leaned even further into Elektra and lowered her voice. “I’m not sure I’m gonna make it.”

“You’ll make it. Trust me.” She pulled her purse to her and dug through it before pulling out a little pink pill. “Here. This’ll help.”

Sorority use of speed to power through drinking binges and all-night study sessions was the worst kept secret on campus. Kelly had tried it once. There was nothing about the experience, either high or coming down, that she ever wanted again.

“No way. No addies for me.”

“Does this look like an addy?”

It didn’t look like any addy Kelly had ever seen.

“I hate those things, too," Elektra continued. "It’ll be fine! Come on, there’s memories to be made!”

Elektra pushed the little pink pill between Kelly’s lips. Kelly was all set to recoil at the acrid taste of medicine, only to find it tasted like cotton candy—and it melted on her tongue almost as fast.

“Trust me!”

“What didya give me?”

“Happy juice. Now let’s go be happy!!”
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:38 PM   #316
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Default You know my name

It wasn’t the first nor the last time Kelly was grateful that Crystal and Jenn were Phi Gammas. It was likely they were the only ones who drove sober to the club. Crystal piloted the Beemer with a jolly Jennifer manning the tunes from shotgun, with a drowsy Kelly, chatty Elektra and an uptight Ankita stuffed into the back seat.

Living room to club door took about half an hour. It was just about the time that Kelly stepped out of the car that she perceived the most relaxing and energizing sense of warmth and togetherness that she had felt in a long time—maybe even ever. None of the relentless pressure and edgy jitteriness she had come to expect from Adderall. Just a sense of well-being she’d felt only in her freest moments. Nothing psychedelic, no heightened sense of reality, unless it was that colors seemed brighter or happier and taste was so much yummier, and she felt completely released from any worries about being anyone but herself.

She did, however, feel the need to drink, and drink she did. The club was the High Hat, and the band was the house trio, playing bouncy Blues and friendly jazz. She downed a couple of whiskey high balls and danced in her seat to the music for a while, happy as a clam until Elektra dragged her by the hand out the door and across the street. Kelly imagined the rest of the girls must have streamed out behind them because by the time they were dancing to the 80s eurotechnopop in the club just down the street, it seemed every one of them was there. She danced and bounced and danced and spun the way she’d always imagined she could when she longed for those dance lessons they could never afford when she was a little girl. The movement just fed her euphoria, feeling every jiggle of her hips and thighs and upper arms, along with the relentless heavy bounce of her breasts, motion she had always strived to contain what for both the spectacle and the pain. But tonight, there was none of that. Nothing but pleasure in the motion. And where on nights like this before she’d felt the crushing weight of too much alcohol weighing her down, threatening to crush her to the floor, tonight she felt pleasure in that, too, like that sense of security you feel under the lead blanket on your chest at the dentist.

Her energy never seemed to end. She danced with everyone, every one of the girls, and she imagined as many of the guys in the club who wanted to dance next to her, and she was happy to let them do so, happy to let them push up against her body, which again brought not a sense of violation, not of sexuality, but simply sensory pleasure. She was conscious that Elektra was always at her side. She seemed to be supplying her drinks, though not as fast as Kelly would have liked. Kelly was used to having an appetite for more. Appetite for alcohol wasn’t usually on that list.

She knew she had to be drunk out of her mind the time 2:00 am came and what was left of their group of girls spilled out onto the downtown streets. Her tongue was thick and she weaved and stumbled as she walked out the club door, bouncing among a collection of similarly unstable girls who somehow kept each other all on their feet. It was about this time of the night that Kelly usually had the thought only of sleep on her mind. She could always count on a guy to get her there, and by the time Kelly was this drunk, this late, she’d have spent a number of hours already with her body, her tongue pressed firmly against his, and she wouldn’t care if that bed was either hers or his, or how much more they shared of it or of each other before crashing into oblivion. Usually.

Tonight there was none of that. She was skunk drunk but she wasn’t sleepy. Like a lot of girls at this place, this time of night, she wasn’t ready for this night to end. Unlike the rest of those girls, her body wouldn’t force her to.
The early morning hours downtown weren’t dangerous hours. After hours gatherings outside the bars or sitting in the outdoor tables were a long tradition at this school, usually by the Townies, distinguished by their gaunt frames and counterculture clothes, bright hair or shaved heads, piercings and tattoos made popular long before they’d somehow gone mainstream, smoking and chatting almost up to the sunrise, usually as sober as the grasshopper. Gaggles of party drunks like these Phi Gammas could congregate safely and loudly outside the clubs, enjoying each other and their intoxication without any worry about local rapists, or harassment by local police, who sat watchfully and ubiquitously by on their bicycles. The only guys the girls had to worry about they typically didn’t: the ones they’d laughed the night away with, whom perhaps they knew by name. Kelly basked in the fading glow of her happy drug and the security she felt in her friends. She kept embracing them with a silly grin and telling them in earnest how she loved them all so very much, until the afterglow of the evening was overtaken by one consuming sensation.

Hunger.

And though the girls were suggesting tacos, she knew that on a weeknight the Taco Casita was long closed. But there was one place that was for certain open 24 hours.

********

“Oh mah fuckin’ GAWD!!!

Elektra had just sunk her teeth into a Mocha Hazelnut cream-filled doughnut from PinkBox.

“I can’ be-leeve you kept this place from us!” she added. Of course to the naïve observer, struggling to decipher Elektra’s thick South Georgia accent, it would have sounded more like, “Ahh kay-n’ buh-lee-ivv yoo kept this play-ees frum uhs!”

It wasn’t so much that Elektra was drunk, though she was. It was that when she was drunk her Americus, Georgia accent dialed up to overload.

“This is the bay-est drunnk foo-uhd, EV-AH!” To make her point she shoved half of the remaining doughnut into her mouth, mocha whipped dream oozing out across her face at a faster pace than her drunken efforts could maintain. It splotched onto the table, and Elektra rubbed her hand on the table to wipe it up, bringing it to her cheek instead of her lips before licking her palm with a sloppy tongue. It wasn’t at all clear whether she got more or less of the cream in her mouth for the effort, but she smiled in satisfaction and dabbed at her cheek with a modicum of success, utilizing a wet wipe she’d pulled from a pouch in her purse.

“I guess I know why my bagels haven’ been disappearin’ so fass the lass coupla weeks,” Monet slurred. Elektra wasn’t the only one more Southern when she drank. In Monet’s case, it actually made her sound Black for once, too.

Marla was bunched in a chair in the corner, asleep or perhaps even passed out. They’d noisily slid together two of the little bistro tables, which cradled the two boxes of a dozen they’d set there. Most of the girls had found a way home straight from the club—most, in fact, in the care of Jenn and Crystal. They’d both left early, only to show up late in what would likely be their Phi Gamma roles as “duffles”—otherwise known as Designated Drivers For Life. A flushed-faced Natalie Timmons, an atypically unkempt racoon-eyed Karen Morley, and Lauren Masterson—that was the name of the acne-scarred brunette—had stuck out the night with them and huddled approvingly around the table, all of them by the look of their more or less intoxicated faces apparently also PinkBox virgins, were all that remained. And though they’d all had a round of espresso the moment they sat down, it was clear their night was over about the time they’d had their fill of those doughnuts, however many that might be.

Kelly’s glow had finally and regrettably faded, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t enjoying herself. She was enjoying her alcohol intoxication, a silly grin on her face as she reached clumsily for doughnuts that she smeared as much in her disheveled mane of hair as she did her cheeks, wobbling happily in her chair against the mesmerizing pulse of booze that beckoned her to lay down for the night, trying to maneuver her leaden tongue that was somehow having trouble securing her Key Lime Pie doughnut, not caring if her mouth was open for all to see as she did. As she had been all night, Elektra was right at Kelly’s elbow, dabbing at the mess on Kelly’s face with that self-same wet wipe, even at one point slathering Bert’s Beeswax on Kelly’s lips, which she had to admit felt more than a bit chapped.

They all talked a bit too loudly about birthdays and cooking classes and whether doughnuts like these might be o the curriculum, and if not, how they ought to be, and how great it was to be in a school with a place like downtown, that left so much a variety of options for one random weekend night. The three freshmen were the first to dismiss themselves, deciding to skip the risk of driving drunk and to take advantage of the old couches in the Phi Gamma house basement—as was their right, now that they were official members—if, in fact, there were any spaces left for drunken interlopers this time of night. It wasn’t much later, about the time a second round of espressos arrived, that Monet pushed herself up not much later, rousing Marla out of the corner best she could and half-carrying, half-dragging her out the door. Even that wasn’t a sure sign Marla was passed out: she famously slept like the dead. Kelly spared no envy for Monet, wondering if they, too, would wind up in the basement instead of dragging Marla up three flights of stairs to The Attic.

And so it was just Kelly and Elektra.

“So, I have a lil’ confession,” Elektra began. (Ah hava lil cohn-fess-shun.)

“You do?” Kelly was intrigued. She hadn’t really thought of the possibility that she and Elektra might become girlfriends. Truth was, girls usually viewed her as more of a rival than a confidant. “What is it?”

“So I want to start out by sayin’ I’m sorry.” (Seh-oh ah wanna start out by say-in ahm sore-ee.)

“What for?”

“Fer bustin’ yer balls at the meetin’. But I do wanna say I sorta hadta. Britney made it onea my in-di-vi-dzhu-al”—it was the first word that definitively betrayed how positively drunk Elektra was—“plezzhh.” Pledge. “Givin’ you a hard time an’ all.” Elektra’s accent was particularly distinctive for taking one syllable words and stretching them into two, so that all tended to come out as “ah-yull.”

“Well” Kelly replied, “now tha’ you mention it, I did geta lil’ bit flustered an’ ah-yull.” It was hard as a Southern girl not to fall in step with Elektra’s accent.

“I know.” Ah no-uh. “I juss wanna you to know it wasn’ personal an’ no hard feelins.”

“No hard feelins. Truth be tole, I ack-shually thought you were pretty funny.”

“Yeah,” Elektra smiled goofily. “Me, too!”

And then they paused while each girl sipped her espresso. Kelly started to notice how drowsy she really felt but she knew what she had to get around to asking before she could call it a night.

Elektra filled the void before she found the courage.

“Brittney said she really woulda wanted to come.”

“Ohh!” Kelly exclaimed too loudly. "She should have come!!! That would've been really nice." Brittney was becoming one of her favorites. “Iss too bad she didn’. Why wouldn’ she?”

“Well, she said she thought it juss woulda been abit awkward. Can’ really tell you how, cuz she didn’ really say.”

Brittney and Kelly had certainly never been the closest of sorority sisters, what with the year difference and Britney’s involvement more on the administrative instead of the social side of Phi Gamma leadership involvement. Still, she couldn’t imagine that awkward was the best way to characterize her involvement in a Phi Gamma surprise party.

That lull hit again. Kelly started working herself up again to ask.

“So then I guess I should go,” Elektra interjected, standing up carefully and steadying herself before tossing off the last bit of her espresso. “Iss not like my place is right aroun’ the corner.” (Not lahk mah play-ees. Raht aroun’ tha cohnuh.)

“Me, too. I hafta be back here in juss a few hours to get the doughnuts.”

Kelly scooted back her chair carefully before hoisting herself up, mindful not to upset the table by pushing on it to stand, though she certainly wanted to. She noticed how easily in contrast that Elektra with her slender form had slipped up and out of her chair hardly moving her chair at all.

“What’re you talkin’ bout, girl? You haffa whole box right there.” (They-er.)

Hunh? Kelly’s drunk brain was confused for a moment.

“Oh!” she realized, again too loudly, then started laughing so hard she let out a snort, which made Elektra start laughing herself. “I totally forgot abou’ those!” There was a full dozen and a few extra sitting in a box right there on the table. “I mean fresh onez to take to work in tha mornin’!” She started laughing again. “Boy, lemme tell ya, that’d be a fat girl move right there iffa whole boxa doughtnuts wouldna be enuff to lass through the mornin’!”

“Oh, puh-leez, Kelly!” Too loudly, arms outstretched, wobbling back and forth as she almost lost her balance. “Stop that! You aren’ FAT!”

Shhhhhhhhhh!” Kelly hissed, leaning in toward Elektra, almost losing her balance heself as she did so, spittle flying out of her mouth. She laughed again as she saw it. “You don’ yell things like that! Iss embarrassing!!”

They both looked over at the counter guy, who was behind the service window pretending he wasn’t listening to every word they were saying.

“Wha?” Elektra defended herself somewhat lower. “I didn’ say yer fat. I said ‘You aren’ FAT!” She yelled the word out again and looked at the guy, who this time couldn’t contain himself and looked up somewhat annoyed.

“I know, I know,” Elektra said, holding her hand up toward him and wobbling as she did so. “Jus another coupla drunk bitches messin’ up yer restaurant”—she said each syllable of the word with exaggerated and equal emphasis: Res-Taw-Raunt. “Sorry”—sore-ee—“fer bein’ drunk an’ spendin’ money an’ havin’ a good time an’ makin’ yer life so miserable! Make a federal case, whydontcha!”

“Elektra!” Kelly hissed. “Stop it an’ less go!”

“G’bye!” Elektra called back at him as she shuffled toward the door. “She’ll be here in an hour to get another boxa yer doughnuts, K?”

Meanwhile Kelly was bent over trying to hold herself up and collect the leftover napkins and paper plates for the trash. She knocked a couple to the floor and looked down at them, considering whether she should pick them up. There was no buzz, but she was feeling more impaired by the minute.

“Just leave them, Kelly!” the guy called out. “I got ‘em. You’ll just make a bigger mess.”

Kelly stood full height and looked wide-eyed at Elektra and the two of them degenerated into drunken snickers once again.

“Ohmigawd! He knows yer name!”

Of course he does! I told you I’m a fat girl! And like a good fat girl, though she could barely manage to stumble through the swinging door, that didn’t stop her from clutching that box tightly every step of the way.
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Old 10-03-2017, 02:37 PM   #317
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College students do a lot of walking. It changes perspective about exactly how close one place is to another. Kelly thought of the PinkBox as two blocks away, and technically she was right.

Only tonight did she first come to appreciate how long those blocks actually were.

The two girls weaved their way down the wide lamplit sidewalk that defined the edge of campus, a tree lined athletic field (from days of military drill long since passed at this university) beside them, the illuminated administration building with its anachronistic bronze dome in front of them. Over the years a lot of girls stumbled home down that sidewalk. Kelly had always looked at them and wondered how they could leave themselves that exposed. Didn’t they have some guy who could take them home?

“I’m not gonna lie,”—Ahm not gunna lahh—“this is always kinda my fav’rite partuv gettin’ wasted,” Elektra falling into Kelly a bits she did for the diversion of effort to talking from walking. “I dunno why, but it kinda turns me on, ack-shu-ally.”

Kelly stopped and wavered a second, taking stock of how she felt. Pretty much the only thing that turned her on was a hot guy. Except, she remembered, the near-orgasmic experience she’d recently had at the figurative hands of the pastries in the box she was clutching and crushing in her hands.

Elektra stopped, too, looked back at Kelly, put her hands dramatically on her hips.

“Hey! Now don’t juzzzh me.” Judge me. “Juss bein’ honest!”

“Hey, no! I wazzn’! I wazzn’ juzzhin’ you. I juss—I juss like the buzz, ya know? Right now I juss feel tired and wisssh I had some guy to take me home!”

“Oh!” Elektra exclaimed, like Kelly’s statement was a revelation. “You are sooo right! Here.” Elektra fumbled through her clutch and pulled out a hairbrush and started twisting the handle.

The tip twisted off. Elektra hoisted it to her lips and took a drag from what was clearly a hidden flask, then leaned into Kelly with her arm, her arm draped around Kelly’s neck, and pushed the snifter over the box of doughnuts and right into the firm softness of Kelly’s underwired bosom.

“Whiskey!” she smiled. “Thiss way when we pass out we’ll be buzzed!!”

“I dunno, El. I don’ think I can—“

“Relacks, Kellz!! With what you got runnin’ through ya yull be juss fine.” Elektra lifted it to Kelly’s lips just the way she had with the pink pill early that evening, and Kelly dutifully took one swig, then two swigs, and then three swigs at Elektra’s urging before she pulled it away. The liquor burned as it went down and Kelly leaned over into Elektra, again crushing the box between them. She clutched the box in her hands like a life preserver and locked her lips together as she coughed.

Party rules dictated that respect for alcohol meant never losing a precious drop.

“Atta girl!” Elektra crooned despite stumbling backward from the force of Kelly leaning into her, toddling a bit backward before righting the ship for both of them, then steadying the inebriated Kelly with both hands outstretched. Then she smiled as she fumbled with the lid of the clasp with clumsy fingers, hunching over like a scientist at a microscope, and finally inserted the secret flask back into her purse before pulling at the zipper three times to get it closed. That done, she stood victoriously to her full height, flipped her wispy brunette hair back behind her ear only to have it slip right back into her face, and declared, “Off!” Oaf! “Onward we go!”

But Kelly wasn’t sure she could go anywhere. The whiskey had hit her head instantaneously. She felt heavy and weak, and now the house seemed farther away than ever. She looked around her for something more stable than Elektra, found a nearby tree, and twisted around with a wobble to make that her new destination for the night.

“Juss, juss gimme a second. I needta ress right here a sec.”

“Ohnononono!” Elektra shouted, clutching Kelly’s arm, sending both of them into a wave of motion, back and forth, clutching at each other for balance, that almost landed them both on the pavement. “Thassa baaaad idea. ‘less you wanna sleep here allll night!”

Kelly didn’t want that. She had an idea of something she did want, and it might help get her home, too.

“Well maybe you could gimme another one uv those pink pillz!” After all, it had worked before, and it felt to Kelly like a fantastic idea. “Maybe juss, like, juss a parta one for a teeeensy lil bit uv energy. Wassit called again?”

Elektra laughed.

“I tol’ you. Iss Smiley.” Smah-leee. “An’ you don’ wan’ any more of that!”

“I do! Iss wonderful!”

Elektra laughed again.

“So far! Thass only haff the ride! Besidez, that was my lass one.”

That news brought to Kelly maybe the biggest most sudden wave of sadness she’d ever felt. Her eyes brimmed with fat tears.

“Nonononono,” Elektra cooed, pulling herself toward Kelly by clasping Kelly’s. She wrapped her long arms around Kelly from the side and pressed her slender form into Kelly’s fleshy shoulder. “Don’ you worry! I’ll take care uv you, OK! Come on! Less get you home!”

As deep as that wave of sadness had been was as deep the feeling of warmth and comfort that she felt from Elektra’s attention. And, she realized, she was starting to feel buzzed again. And jittery from two Pinkbox espressos coursing through her.

“OK.”

Kelly steadied the box of doughnuts on her left hip like a book bag, and the two girls meandered their way slowly past the administration building, bumping into each other from time to time and laughing at their discoordination while they sang choruses from songs they’d danced to at the club. By the time they reached the corner to turn down the street to the house, Kelly was feeling really good.

“When we get ta the house, maybe we can play some ping pong!”

“I’m not goin’ ta the house. I’m goin’ home!”

It hadn’t even occurred to Kelly that Elektra wasn’t going to the house.

“Noooo, you hafta come! You can even haff my bed!”

Elektra laughed yet again.

“The lass place you wanna be in the morning is in that house, belieb me! You come with me an’ I’ll take care of ya.” The alcohol stretched out every thick South Georgian syllable even longer and thicker, like a country teacher introducing some kind of backwoods phonics: Ah-yull tay-yick cay-er uvya.

Elektra pulled Kelly’s free hand and started walking across the street. She almost fell over when Kelly didn’t budge.

“I don’ think thass a good idea, ‘lektra! Iss not safe!” The corner on the other side of the street was the corner of downtown, and though the middle of downtown may have been well-lighted, the streetlights around it were old and dull and far between.

“Relacks! Iss not far! Besidez, I’m so randy”—Ahm so ray-in-dee!—“that if someone tried to take me I might spread my legs back and let ‘im!”

“’Lektra!!!”

Elektra brought her hand to her mouth as her brain caught the full implications of what she’d just said, then snickered as the alcohol coursing through her brain convinced her it was somehow funny.

Kelly started snickering herself and wobbled as she did so, double-clutching with both hands at her doughnut box as it nearly slipped off her hip.

“That was so WRONG!” she managed.

“I know! But I don’t care!” Kay-yer. “Come on. Iss not that far.”

This time when Elektra pulled on Kelly’s hand Kelly followed her. Neither of them thought at 4am to check the street, but nothing came, and they chattered along for a while without incident. For about four blocks some light spilled over from downtown on their right, but beyond that was an ever-deepening pool of moonless darkness, punctuated by the occasional isolated dull yellowness of street lights decades beyond their prime, representative of the old decaying residential area lurking behind the comparatively refurbished downtown. Even drunk out of their minds their voices dropped a bit, and without the momentum of each other’s enthusiasm, walking started to seem like a chore again. The street curved to the left and started to climb into what was actually a gentle hill. Just off the sidewalk to their right was a steep berm with thick underbrush and poorly manicured trees at its crest. When the sun came up that crisp October morning, hundreds of students walking to and from school would find the walk pleasant and invigorating. But their legs and their minds were tried, and by the time Elektra stopped them in the near-light of one of the lampposts both girls were out of breath.

“I think I’m gonna throw up,” Kelly said between labored breaths. She was shaking, and she could feel a bit of a low rumble in her ears.
“Do it now! Better here thanat my place!” Mah play-iss.

But the urge soon passed, and the fit Kelly regained her wind in no time. Except the rumbling hadn’t stopped and, if anything, had grown more intense.

“Ready?” Elektra asked. Her breathing was still a bit labored.

“OK,” she said and started trudging slowly up the gentle hill again.

“No, not that way. Thiss way!”

Elektra started climbing the berm using what Kelly could now see was a path of worn down underbrush where people had cut through. The berm really wasn’t that steep, but Elektra bent over with her hands on the ground and crab-walked her way up.

Kelly watched her make her slow way up and felt a growing despair. The way she felt, Elektra might as well have been expecting her to do backflips as have her crawl up that berm. And how was she going to get her box of doughnuts up with her?

And that incessant rumbling in her ears seemed to be getting louder and louder.

“Come on, Miss House Mother! You can do thiss in your sleep!”

Kelly dutifully got on her hands and knees, feeling for the first time the cool of the night on her skin, as her knees made contact with early morning dew on the cold October ground. Kelly put the box on the ground in front other and tried to push them up the hill with one hand, but the box just kept twisting to the side, and she kept having to reach back and pull them back into place. Tears came to her eyes, and she was just about to plop face down in the brush to throw a tantrum, but by that time Elektra had scrambled down to her side.

“Juss leave ‘em,” she whispered.

“No way!”

So the two of them pushed and pulled each other up the berm, pushing the box with a foot or a hand along the way, until finally and amazingly they made it to the top without spilling back all the way down. They let out gasps of fatigue and surprise and wonder as they each leaned against a tree illuminated by the last rays of the streetlight, their chests heaving—though Kelly’s of course heaved with a much different effect than Elektra’s.
Kelly slid down her tree to sit, her back propped against it, box of doughnuts in her lap, her skirt pulled up behind her as she slid, her broad cheeks exposed to the wet and the cold of the ground. She didn’t care. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back and shook it back and forth a few times. Ugh! That rumbling!

“I tol’ you thiss was a bad idea!”

“Relacks! We’re almost there.”

“Good!” Kelly said, lifting her head and opening her eyes. “Less go!” Her mouth meant what she said, but her motionless body was saying something very different.

“We can’t.”

As Kelly’s eyes adjusted to the dim light under the trees she realized why. Below them was a long slope of underbrush and small trees that stretched fifty feet in front of them and dipped well beneath their feet. At the bottom was a railroad track enclosed by chain link fencing on either side.

And a long freight train just now was rumbling slowly past them.

“Oh, great!” she breathed, and she meant it, now that she realized the rumbling wasn’t something wrong with her head. “Now we can juss sit here an’, an’ rest a lil bit.”

Suddenly Kelly’s back and neck were killing her. She arched her back and reached behind her in that well-practiced motion to unclasp her bra and pull it out from under her blouse. Her boobs collapsed instantly and heavily under their own weight but didn’t have far to go: the Pinkbox wedged between her seated belly and thick thighs propped them up like a shelf. She cast her bra unceremoniously to the side, unconcerned as her cell phone and ID and cash flew out with them. Her breath heaved out in strenuous alcohol-laced fumes after even that slight effort, she closed her eyes and allowed the noise and vibration of the train wash over her.

“God I love that!” Elektra exclaimed. Kelly’s eyes were still closed and the train was loud, but it seemed to her that Elektra had moved closer, maybe even leaning on the same tree.

“Me, too,” Kelly answered. “I alwayz loved trainz.”

Elektra paused.

“Me, too.”

They fell silent for a moment, basking in the vibration of the train, the sound of which seemed to be diminishing.

“Kelly, iss not that,” Elektra finally said. “I hafta say I’m totally obsessed with your boobz.” Ahm toh-tally ub-say-essed with yer bew-ubbs.

Did she just say what I think she just said?

She opened her eyes and turned her head to the right, still propped up against the tree. Elektra was sitting much the same way against the tree beside her, her head turned to her left. She had just taken another sniff from her snifter brush and held it out with her arm extended, lifting the snifter like it was a two-pound dumbbell. Kelly shook her head.

“I loss my buzz already,” Elektra shrugged, then took another hit. Kelly could see that lights along the path of the railway illuminated their faces. Elektra looked nervous.

“How big are they?”

It had been a long time since Kelly had been offended by this kind of conversation. Whenever she started drawing close to someone, conversation about her breasts was sure to follow. What’s your cup size? How old were you when they grew? Don’t they hurt your back? Don’t you ever worry people won’t take you seriously? Ever think about getting hem reduced? To her, it was conversation that actually brought some reassurance, like someone felt comfortable enough to ask about the obvious and to talk to her the way friends do.

“I don’ really know. I think that bra is a dubble H, but iss a lil big.”

“Dubble H! Fffffuck! I was always prouda my lil Cs. But thass outstanding!”

“Seez aren’ little. You have great boobz.”

“Thanks.”

“How long before this train goez by?”

“I haff no idea.”

It needed to hurry up. Kelly’s head was starting to hurt. In her experience, that meant she needed one thing “Do you have any moreathat whiskey leff?”

“Yup!” Apparently Elektra had put it away. She dipped her head into her clutch and pulled out the snifter. She held it carefully in front of her and slowly fumbled with the cap on the end, her body bobbing back and forth, concentrating with her tongue out of her mouth like she was handling C4. The cap slipped off and rolled into the darkness as she finished unscrewing it, but she just laughed and lifted the dumbbell for Kelly.

This time Kelly was ready. She sat forward and took a quick sip to get her bearings, then took a larger one. Whether it was because the flask was nearly empty or because she was so inebriated, she got more in her mouth than she intended. But it didn’t bother her. It burned hot down her throat in the cool night, and it sent her head spinning, so that she closed her eyes to the image of concentric psychedelic circles. She pressed her head back into the tree, drinking in the warmth and the weight of the alcohol in her chest and belly, basking in an elated sense of well-being the way she was always chasing when she drank shots, and only rarely found. Sitting straight up the way she was on that tree became too much effort and she slid down further to lie in the wet dirt until her head was cradled in a hard, scratchy nook between a root and the trunk of tree.

“I feel so good!” she breathed.

And then she felt that familiar sensation of someone—How could it be anyone but Elektra?—lifting up her shirt and cupping the bottom of one of her breasts. Her hands were cold, and her nipples tingled and engorged at the sensation.

“Oh!” she heard Elektra squeal. “They’re so soft!”

Elektra’s hands were softer and smaller than anyone she’d ever felt. And, it turned out, gentler, guided as they were by someone with a knowledgeable and empathic touch.

Kelly stretched out some to give Elektra more room. Elektra shifted her hand shifted to cup Kelly’s right breast with all the fullness it could manage, while her other hand slipped under her blouse and cupped the other. Kelly arched her back and sensed her breasts pushing against Elektra’s slender fingers. She felt a surge of pleasure radiating from her nipples, while in her head she felt herself spinning and falling in her own head, even as she lay prone on the ground. The alcohol was taking her under. She took pleasure in the effort of resisting.

“MiGod, they’re so heavy!”

Elektra started kneading gently, the soft tissue of Kelly’s breasts oozing between her fingers, her hardened nipple dragging across the undulating surface of each finger—for the first time in her life a sensation unaccompanied by pinch or pull under Elektra’s ministrations—and sending a sexual thrill down her spine with each individual motion. Kelly felt the fulness of arousal fill her pelvis and electrify the lips of her vagina, while Elektra’s fingers tickled around the edge of her aureoles, then softly flicked the everted nipple with their before pulling back and massaging the supple tissue once again, this time with forceful pressure and the occasional squeeze that lingered on the edge of uncomfortable before dissolving back into the pleasure of undulating flesh and erotic heat. Kelly’s hand found of its own the button of her pants and struggled to loose it, felt it give from what had to be someone else’s effort—How could it be anyone but Elektra?—then felt the release of her zipper yielding to the enthusiasm of her fleshy imprisoned abdomen as she thrust her own hand underneath her panties and pressed her finger into and back out of the lips of her tender wet vagina underneath.

She felt Elektra’s soft thin lips push against hers. She managed a weak pucker in response, and that was the last thing she knew.
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Old 10-08-2017, 05:16 PM   #318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tad View Post
No matter what else you do with this story, please let us readers see karma catch up with Lindsey some day....
It's a fine thought. There's a fair amount of material here about Lindsey, and I wonder from time-to-time if I've tipped my hand and ruined my reveal of the confirmation of her motivation.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:15 AM   #319
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Default The other half.

Kelly woke up in bed in the dark not knowing where she was. She was instantly grateful for that when she looked at the green glare of a digital alarm clock next to her and felt like the inside of her eyes and head were about to explode. She gasped with the intensity of the sensation, how it seemed like it was emblazoned on her eyeballs.

3:35.

Disjointed memories of the night before rushed through her mind, but there was enough there to know there was no way that meant 3:35 in the morning.

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! She’d missed work because she’d passed out.

The thought hit her like a ton of bricks landing on her chest. For all the desperation she felt to get up and move, she felt like every last ounce of energy had drained out of her body. Guilt and self-recrimination overwhelmed her mind: for drinking too much, for missing work, for letting Lierman down, for the Phi Gamma life she was living as a lie, for making Elektra take care of her, for taking advantage of Jenn and Crystal, and not calling Jenny, and all those cuss words racing through her brain—was there anything she didn’t fail at? Would she ever learn anything? Amount to anything? Live up to anything? How could anyone just keep blowing it and blowing it and blowing it without end?

Images of herself from the night before flitted before her eyes. Stumbling her way through half the city. Disgraceful! The yelling and laughing at PinkBox, the disgusting mess she’d left. Selfish. Gross. None of it had bothered her. How must she have looked? Fat. And ugly. Ugly to her soul.

She broke out into heaving sobs. Her face was quickly wet with snot and tears even as her lips and eyes burned with dryness. She became aware of a ravenous hunger seizing her like she hadn’t eaten in a week, so overwhelming that she couldn’t imagine ever filling it. And everywhere she was permeated with sadness, sadness and more sadness.

Fear gripped her. She knew she needed to call Lierman to fix this before she lost her job. She had no idea where her phone was. Surely it was here somewhere. And yet she just lay there like the dead. She didn’t even have the energy to find her phone! Hadn’t it fallen out? Didn’t she remember last night sometime that her phone had fallen out?

“My phone!” she cried out, sobbing, pushing herself up with all the effort she could muster. She felt so tired, and, oh so heavy! “What happened to my phone!?”

“I have it! Don’t panic! I have it! I have it!”

Elektra’s voice floated into the room faintly from behind a closed door. It might as well have been a klaxon it sounded so loud. Elektra opened the door and light spilled into the room. Light was a relative term: Elektra was a shadow next to the shadowy door, with a lighter shadow. To Kelly it was like a Klieg light.

“Don’t you worry, Kelly! I’ve got it. Everything is all right!” Elektra’s shadow hurried toward her, then cursed loud enough to call the hogs before hopping over to the bed.

Kelly’s hands shot to her ears and she stuffed her head into her pillow.

“Not so loud!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Elektra hissed in a whisper. “I stubbed my toe! That’s all! Everything is all right.”

“Everything is not all right!” Kelly cried out, her face still buried in her pillow. Even the sound of her own voice hurt her. “I missed work! I’m gonna lose my job!” Kelly cried anew, hysterically, tears pouring out of her.

“You’re not.”

“I am! I fucked it all up! I fucked it all up!” Fuckin’ worthless foulmouth! She could feel the mess she was making of her pillow, slobber and snot and surely mascara and whoknewwhatelse smearing all over it. “And now I’m ruining your pillow!!”

“Oh, stop! The pillow will be fine. Caleb called. He said everything is covered.”

Caleb would never do that. Not in a million years.

“He did not! Caleb hates me! God, I’ll never hear the end of it!”

“He did!” Elektra laughed, despite herself. “He even texted. You can even look.”

Kelly found the strength to lift her head and shielded her eyes as Elektra held up a phone. She peaked at the blazing words between the cracks of her fingers.

Caleb>>Figured you’d miss today. Have everything covered.

Caleb>>Hope you’re home regretting a very happy birthday.

It was sooo Caleb.

Bastard. It barely put a dint in Kelly’s sobbing.

“Here. Drink this.”

Elektra lifted something to her lips and her mind flashed back to the flask. And the little pink pill. But she dutifully took a gulp anyway, tears still streaming out of her eyes. The sweet salty tingle of Gatorade slipped down her parched throat, teasing the giant gaping maw of her empty stomach. Her sobs were swallowed up in the effort, and suddenly her mind wasn’t focused on anything else but more. She stretched her hands out in the dark in a desperate search for the cold bottle.

“Uht, uht, uht, uht, ahhh!” Elektra cooed, clearly mindful of keeping her voice down as she pulled away the bottle. “You can’t overdo it.”

You’re right. No amount of Gatorade would be overdoing it!

Despite her words, Elektra gave the Gatorade bottle anyway and let her take another couple of gulps. Kelly could have drunk another couple of bottles. She’d been thirsty after a night out before, but never like this. She’d been hung over plenty of times, but this was something entirely different.

What’s wrong with me!?

Another wave of guilt crashed over her. There’s Elektra patiently caring for me, and I’m freaking out like a fucking crazy woman! Fuck! Fuckin’ foul-mouth thoughts again! What a fuck—what a stupid basket case!

“What’s wrong with me?” she asked, her voice gurgly and raspy through phlegm and snot. Elektra dabbed Kelly’s face gently with a wipe. It felt cool and relieving to the touch. Inside it made her feel selfish and ashamed, like a punished child.

“Nothing’s wrong with you.”

“No, really, there is! I’m an absolute wreck! I feel like, like an 18-wheeler ran over my soul.” A thought hit her and she calmed down. Her voice dropped with it. “I think I could—do you think maybe you....I think I really need one of those pink pills.”

A laugh escaped Elektra again, this time a low mirthless sound. Kelly cringed again from the noise.

“That’s the last thing you need!”

Tears started flowing out of Kelly’s eyes again. She covered her face with her hands. ”Please? Please! I never felt so bad in my life!”

“Yeah, well, I told you last night. Last night was only half the ride.”
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