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Old 04-09-2017, 01:47 PM   #276
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Default Into the breach! Final Part

The pledges looked far from convinced it was anything that simple. Karen Morley was the one who expressed it.

“So,” she said, with defeated countenance, “UNIFORM means all I have to do is look like Angelina Jolie. No pressure there!” A few affirmations from around the room mirrored Karen’s frustration.

After everything I said, that’s what they heard?

“That’s not it either!”

“You just said to think Angelina Jolie.”

“I said to think her, not be her! Look. Is that pressure? Yes. It is. But it’s not from some kind of dress code dreamed up by Phi Gamma! The pressure is from real life. So, I am never gonna look like Angelina Jolie. But everyone I need to take me seriously is gonna compare to me that kind of image. I have to figure out how to be my kind of Angelina Jolie. I’m naturally more of an Ariana Grande.” More like an Ariana Venti! “But I can’t play to that and be taken seriously! And I’ll never wear slacks and a button-up and a shoulder-length do and be taken seriously either. Now, if you totally can totally rock that look, then good for you.

“And, by the way, I totally think you totally can rock that look!”

Immediately Kelly felt more comfortable. Outlining uncomfortable societal truths for people wasn’t her strong suit. Providing personal encouragement of good fashion choices was.

As for Karen, she looked a little surprised. “Ummm, thanks! I was sort of already taught this way! I mean, it would look a lot better if I were taller, and if I, um, lost a few pounds…”

Kelly nodded in solidarity.

“...but I mostly wonder about my hair. I really think it fits me best when it’s long like this, but I don’t know. It doesn’t seem all that professional to me.”

“Oh, nooo!” Kelly crooned in her most supportive girlfriend tone. “It doesn’t hurt you at all.” Anything too short and Kelly was convinced her face would look a little…monkey-ish—or something like that! “In fact, that’s where your chic comes in. Your hair is absolutely gorgeous! It gives you a little sexy but is still totally innocent. You don’t want to look like a drone!”

Karen brightened with Kelly’s comments. Just behind her, the corners of Elektra’s mouth lifted and her eyes brightened with something that might have looked a little bit like approval.

“That’s totally what I’m concerned about, too!” Natalie chimed in. “I can totally do a button-up look, but if I go too feminine I can look too much like a little girl! But too business-like and I can look too, umm, too…uh, too Butch.” She almost whispered the word.

“I know your struggle!” Kelly affirmed. “Well, I mean, I don’t actually share it, but I know what you’re saying! I bet shoulder-length hair carries a big risk for that for you, especially if it’s straight or even has just a tiny bit of curl.” She was doing her best to avoid articulating the word mullet. “But Lindsey’s—I mean, our suggested list—recommends shoulder-length hair. You know, I bet you’re that one girl who’s a knockout with a bob!”

Natalie laughed nervously a little bit despite Kelly’s conviction. Clearly the idea seemed a bit radical to her.

“No, really! Your face is SO pretty, your eyes so amazing! A nice bob framing your face and you’ll command attention in every room you walk into!”

Natalie was wrong: Kelly’s blush wasn’t near as deep as the one that just flushed Natalie’s face.

This felt more like the Phi Gamma Kelly knew and missed: girls sitting around the study hall table, flipping through magazines, helping each other perfect their looks for the next mixer or formal or interview. Hammering out The Code, really. Kind of an ongoing refinement and application of it. And, Kelly realized, in so many of those conversations she’d been running them from the center.

Like now.

A couple of the girls—the acne-scarred brunette and a girl Kelly hadn’t much seen around—asked some tentative questions about their own possible style refinements while most of the rest of the girls engaged in relaxed side conversations. The room had the feel that the tension—and the meeting was pretty much over.

Miss America certainly thought so. She was making a show of packing her notebook and pen away, shifting with exaggerated impatience in her seat as she flicked away her hair.

“Girls,” Kelly said, finding herself as impatient to go as the other girl, “feel free to catch me after the meeting if you want to talk, but we really should be going. But I just want to add one more thing.”

The side conversations stopped.

“We’re all women. We all can be beautiful—we all are beautiful—in so many different ways. I don’t know the kinds of schools that you all came from before this, but we…well, learn this lesson now, if you haven’t already. We don’t have to run each other down because we don’t fit some ideal as well as somebody else. You know, we can actually accept each other and support each other and build each other up for the strengths others have that we never will, and it won’t mean that somehow we’ll sit a little lower on the pecking order because we did. That’s not what being a mature, powerful woman means.

“And one other thing: I just want to encourage you not to stress about all this.” She held up her copy of COMPORTMENT in its black presentation jacket before resting her eyes on Jennifer. “Just trust your instincts! You’re all smart, and now you know maybe a little more what Phi Gamma’s going for. Phi Gamma already thinks you have what it takes or you wouldn’t be here, OK?”

Kelly held eye contact with Jennifer just a little longer, as if to echo, “OK, Jennifer? OK?” Because Kelly knew she couldn’t tell her that thin wouldn’t matter, or pretend there was some way Jennifer could dress to overcome it. But she knew that it would probably mean the world to tell her that she belonged.

Kelly didn’t get much of a chance to read how Jennifer would react. A few of the girls left straight away (including Jenn and Crystal), but almost a dozen girls stuck around, half of whom gathered around Kelly with either specific fashion comments or questions, or bids to get together later with a few magazines or a tablet to update their image. It was loud and dizzying, and Kelly found herself amazed that after all that convention, they were all clamoring for a minute or two with her.

Miss America also stood by, but she wasn’t clamoring. She waited off to one side, standing on one leg with her arms clasped behind her back. It took three or four girls to peel off the group and leave the room before she finally slipped her way through and tapped Kelly’s shoulder.

“I just wanted to thank you for such a … an interesting presentation tonight. It was interesting how you interpreted some of the material.” Her voice was just low enough that Kelly could hear her and probably not the other girls, who waited their own turns by talking to each other. “These girls can be a bit challenging sometimes, and I thought you did just a really good job. You got put in a tough place on such short notice.”

She was poised and polite and confident. Maybe there was something in her voice, or her formality, or maybe it was the impatience she’d exhibited throughout the meeting. But it was hard to think that her statements were about anything better than brown-nosing. And maybe something less generous.

Kelly thanked her warmly and voiced her hope to see her more around the house, and the tall, slender girl left, long pony tail swishing behind her. Kelly turned to Ankita beside her.

“Who is that girl?”

Ankita smiled wryly. “That’s Elaine Richardson. You know, Lindsey Huntington’s Little Sis.”

Of course she is! That alone made every comment seem like an underhanded criticism! And whatever she thought about tonight’s meeting, Kelly was certain Lindsey would learn every bit about it. Drama, drama, drama!

Kelly was suddenly aware of how tired she was. At least Elaine wasn’t wrong in pointing out how stressful the meeting had been! And, she realized, her feet and calves hurt. She really wasn’t used to standing as long as she had on her feet!

Ankita and two more of the girls peeled off with a promise to catch up later, and Kelly could see that both Elektra and Jennifer were still sitting in their seats, chatting comfortably. Presently they rose to their feet and worked their way around the long conference table over to Kelly just in time for the last of the other girls to leave the room.

Kelly startled as Elektra, who was really no taller than Kelly, leaned into Kelly on her tiptoes with a hug and a friendly kiss under her ear. “Sorry I was such an asshole!” she murmured, then gave her a frim squeeze before stepping aside and into the doorway.

Then Jennifer stepped forward, and she, too, gave Kelly a hug. She was a few inches taller than Kelly, but it didn’t solve the problem of Jennifer’s generous rack and Kelly’s prodigious one competing to share the same space. They squished into each other the best physics would allow, and Jennifer held her long and hard before finally letting go. She looked into Kelly’s eyes with a thankful smile and walked over to join Elektra seemingly before breaking out into tears.

Kelly was finally alone with her fatigue. She started to lean onto her tiny presentation table, then thought better of it and walked into the hall before leaning against the wall.

What in the world just happened!?
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Old 04-09-2017, 02:30 PM   #277
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I feel like after all these years.You might have Kelly in a good place to be herself.Stand up for herself.And maybe help Gail.Help Mom. And perhaps finish your all time great Magnus Opus weught gain story.Bravo
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Old 04-11-2017, 01:24 PM   #278
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I feel like after all these years.You might have Kelly in a good place to be herself.Stand up for herself.And maybe help Gail.Help Mom. And perhaps finish your all time great Magnus Opus weught gain story.Bravo
Thanks for the insight and for recognizing that Gail and mom have their stories intertwined here, too. I take it that in thinking about Kelly learning to stand up for herself that your impression is heretofore she has not been doing that so much. Any thoughts about how that may have happened in this monster-long scene and how the scene is important to the story? How well do you think I pulled it off?
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Old 04-11-2017, 03:01 PM   #279
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I think in all the reflecting and twisting and turning as she read from the handbook.As she read the Uniform part that obviously is not a reflection of Kelly at this time.I think she should reflect on the fact that there are Very Few who can pull off what is in that book. And instead of being ill prepared and tap dancing she should take on the issues and fight for what the National association of the sorority stands for- which is probably service and sisterhood instead of status and a standard of barbie doll beauty that is unobtainable by most.
She should go to a sober Gail and use Both of their brains and re-write that entire section.Present Both to National.And put All of it up to a local chapter vote.
Lindsey reminds me of Trump in some ways.She seems to think she can just write something or sign something and it will magically go into effect.I'd like to see Kelly be herself and be unashamed.And since I love weight gain fiction I would like to see her reach 220 lbs as a result of being true to herself and become the new President of the sorority.I'd like to see Gail get some exercise along with Mom and Kelly in place of some of their binge drinking.
Not all.But it seems to be getting a little somber.I would also like to see Gail and Mom on the scales somewhere along the way as they begin a walking program.I just like numbers-what can I say.lol
I will never stop reading this .But I hope that someday it ends before reaching Gone with the wind or War and Peace.😎
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:17 AM   #280
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I will never stop reading this .But I hope that someday it ends before reaching Gone with the wind or War and Peace.😎
Too late! Thanks for the loyalty and the insights. You may be on to something.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:19 PM   #281
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Default Up from the ashes

Ohmigod, what happened!

It was about 10:15 Thursday morning, a time in Kelly’s week that generally all of her personal computing assignments were done, her chapters read, and her quizzes completed, when boredom started to settle in, and when she usually logged in to give her personal facebook page some of her attention.
She’d been scrolling through her friend requests when a personal message came through:

Monet Shari Sommers>>>it’s back!!! search facebook for kay kay kegs!!!

Kelly did. It was a public page: no friend request required. She gasped as the page came up with that name and her face in the profile picture again.

What happened? I thought Monet deleted it?

She messaged as much to Monet.

Monet Shari Sommers>>>pretty sure they made a new one!!! There’s new pics!

Kelly moved to open the photos folder, then realized that like the other fake profile, photos were posted in the status feed. The ones at the top were new.

More importantly, they were recent. Pictures from The Speakeasy dominated the top of the feed, pictures that zoomed in on her anatomy: cleavage, hips, ass, thighs. More cleavage. More hips. More thighs.

Whoever took these was there!!!! He—she realized it could just as well have been a she, probably trying to ruin her—whoever it was was probably Greek. Probably Kappa Alpha. But maybe not. Other frat boys found their way in there, too. Maybe Phi Gamma! There were pictures of lower in the feed of her squeezed into her letter sweater on Bid Day. And fuzzy close-ups of her at the infamous All Greek Prep, including pictures of her with Monet, Marla, Jenn and Crystal on the front lawn of the Phi Gamma house, probably moments before Anthony walked up with the infamous Bone.

Just like before there were dozens of responses to the pictures. The rude ones immediately caught her eye: “PIGS,” of course, directed at her or at Phi Gamma more generally. A lot of “FATTY.” One particularly nasty one about having to “ROLL HER IN FLOWER AND … IF U CAN!!!” Comments from people who clearly knew what she’d looked like before. They were scary comments in a scary place and she shouldn’t have taken the time to look. But like passing a bad wreck on the highway, she couldn’t.

And as she looked more, it started to strike her how many comments weren’t rude, weren’t degrading. Oh, they all objectified her: it’s not as if people were posting about how sweet a girl she was or anything. But half of the comments, maybe even more, were complimentary.

Of course that was to be expected for the cleavage shots. And there was a LOT. Yes, a good number of cleavage shots. But by A LOT she meant A LOT of cleavage, and more and more as the night went on and she lost her self-consciousness. By the time she was sitting with Scott, they were practically spilling out and laying on the table.

At least I know it wasn’t Scott!

No wonder Lindsey was so pissed!! Kelly wondered what the girls must have been thinking Monday night when she as lecturing them about UNIFORM after that display!

The inarticulate comments were all “HOLY SHIT!” and “OHMIGOD!” and even “BNER!” Others actually used full sentences and communicated the same idea. But Kelly found similar admiration for her hips and thighs.

Moreover, so many of those comments were about how much she’d gained, and how she just kept getting better and better the bigger she got! There were even several mishmashes of her at her lowest weight—which Kelly could see were harvested from the photo gallery, which contained probably all of the shots that had been on the old page—compared with her highest weight that some overenthusiastic admirer had done, comparing the various parts of Kelly’s anatomy. One was a stage by stage progression that was labelled “The Evolution of a Growing Goddess.”

A Living Goddess! It made Kelly want to laugh. She’d never thought her fattening thighs made her into any kind of goddess!

Kelly heard the noise of one of the guys stirring in the back lab and quickly minimized the facebook page to help the guy check out of his training session. She had to take a minute to dissuade him from taking the last granola bar: subjects had become aware of the availability of snacks and had taken to asking for snacks after their sessions, which Kelly figured she would bring up in the next lab meeting as a potential problem in the study.

Besides, they’d stopped serving fruit this week for the first cohort and replaced them with M&Ms. This was the last granola bar, and Kelly wanted it.

Finishing one subject transitioned into wrapping up the other two, and by the time she was done, Kelly’s shock and confusion had settled down into a course of action. She maneuvered her hips between the arms of her chair before easing down: it had that tendency to roll back when she put her weight on it.

She unlocked her screen and maximized the fake facebook page—which she noticed had already accrued several new comments in the minutes she’d been away. She navigated back to her real page and was greeted by a new private message.

Monet Shari Sommers>>>want me to get that page taken down again?

Kellen Elizabeth Kingsley>>>No, thanks! I can handle it. Thanks for letting me know!

Monet Shari Sommers>>>no prob! reallllly creepy! going out tonight?

Kellen Elizabeth Kingsley>>>I know! Somebody’s stalking me!

Someone who maybe thinks I’m a goddess!
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:05 AM   #282
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It's back? I admit that I don't remember when this came up the first time -- probably in an earlier chapter somewhere and I just forgot, but could you give a point?
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:11 PM   #283
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It's back? I admit that I don't remember when this came up the first time -- probably in an earlier chapter somewhere and I just forgot, but could you give a point?
Check out post 198.
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:51 PM   #284
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Thanks! Comparatively recent in the story, but long enough ago to have have forgotten parts (oddly I remembered about her feeling she was the 'token fat girl', but had forgotten all about the fake facebook page)
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:26 PM   #285
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The stress from this new facebook page was superseded in due course by that ubiquitous and now familiar stress: Kelly had no money.

Yes, it was now payday, and that was always comforting. And yes, a steady supplement of lab snacks, meals (and other various pledge duties) supplied by Jenn and Crystal, Sunday lunch and its leftovers—they all helped to suppress the cost of life on her own. But in the face of continual wardrobe problems, a little over $100 per week, without the credit cards which until now came with access as easy as air, this spoiled sorority princess was doing quite well just getting by.

But that weekend Kelly really felt the bite.

After a traditional slate of home games with nonconference cupcakes, the football team was on the road for its first real test. The team left Thursday afternoon after an accelerated week of practices that limited Kelly’s interaction with Wade to their usual series of mindless texts.

The destination? The beaches near Jacksonville, Florida, where every other year Phi Gamma girls pitched in to rent expensive beach houses and debauched themselves on the balconies, in beach bars, around beach bonfires, and, for the most well-heeled girls, day-long sailing charters. It was a cherished Phi Gamma ritual, and the ache it gave Kelly’s heart to miss it was second only to the ache of the divorce and the paternal petulance that caused it. A suitable swimsuit alone would cost her more than $100.
And then, she’d be expected to wear it.

Not that she wouldn’t have: some things were worth the risk of a little social pressure, and there were always fashion tricks to manage beach bodies that weren’t. But those cost money, too.

So the answer to Monet’s question was that, no, she wasn’t going out Thursday night. She might have spent her night and her weekend flipping through magazines with many of the pledge friends she’d solidified on Monday. But they’d all gone to the beach, too. Even Gail was out of town. Kelly made a short visit to see her mom early Sunday afternoon for a few sober pieces of Dominos (and a molten chocolate cake—Yumyum! Why do I always forget these are the BEST?). Elizabeth had forgotten about Kelly’s presentation, and Kelly decided to wait for Gail to get back so they could process it all together.

The rest of the weekend, except for work on Friday morning, she sat alone in the now substantially cooler Attic in a mostly empty house, flipping through copies of old magazines, browsing the same websites over and over, watching a few black-and-white movies in the house lounge, refining her social media websites for her Personal Computing class (and sorting through friend requests)…even studying for midterm exams the next week, though she was supremely confident they wouldn’t be a problem.

A few other Phi Gammas were in and out of the house that weekend. They were all peripheral players in Phi Gamma, girls who maintained their membership but spent more of their time and efforts in other activities. Kelly hardly remembered them. Perhaps they didn’t remember her. She engaged herself in conversation with them with more interest she ever remembered having before. But inevitably each girl cut the conversation short on her way out the door. Their minds and their schedules were somewhere else—otherwise, they’d have been in Florida with all the other girls.

She spent a lot of energy focused on trying not to blow her food budget on lonely Taco Bell runs, with mixed results, or trying to send Wade even more text messages that he wasn’t answering. She spent a lot of time with the House Mother, a couple of times a day for 15 minutes or so, enough to get a little cardio without giving her hips and knees (and her chin!) a beating. She spent much more time with some of the shaping machines (the comparative lack of complimentary comments about her butt had just confirmed her own suspicions about its attractiveness) and especially the weights: those made her feel good, because the weight she was comfortable working out with kept rising and rising—especially in her lower body. Except for the usual enjoyment she felt working out, it was a weekend alone that Kelly absolutely hated.

Kelly’s time alone gave her plenty of space to think. Certainly most of that focus, as always, was on what she knew was her only way forward: losing the weight, which kept her away from the cheap feel-goods of Taco Bell and pushed her into the gym. She did what she could to avoid thinking about money, which really meant thinking about her father, what he’d done to her mother, what he was clearly taking out on her, what was keeping her from what she knew worked for her: the private trainer, tightly-controlled meal plans, and expensive supplements that she’d use to drop the weight almost a year-and-a-half ago now. She tried to think of her weight problems as solely hers, because, after all, how many people actually have the opportunity to access those resources in the first place? But with everything else that had happened, it was hard not to stew in anger and blame toward her parents anyway. That she loved them just seemed to make the anger worse, not better.

Kelly’s time alone also allowed her to reflect on the new fake facebook page, which had taken most of Thursday and into Friday to get facebook to pull down. The novelty that people would find her gaining weight something that would make her more attractive faded pretty quickly, leaving her staring in the face the reality that someone out there was obsessed with her—maybe even violently so. She didn’t really think so, but you never knew.

So over the weekend she mailed Lierman and asked for some time with him before the lab meeting to discuss it. Kelly’s stalker was probably a student. Kelly could remember freshman orientation and the student handbook and a breakout session devoted to things like safety and student discipline. If there was any way for the university to help find this creep, Lierman was sure to know.

A meeting was all set up on Sunday evening, just before the text message that let her out of her lonely prison:

THEBodie> Were back. There in an hour.

An hour. Just enough time to be passably ready. For the first time that weekend she found herself glad she was alone in The Attic.

We’re finally gonna have a BED!
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:36 PM   #286
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Default Bitter much?

When she got to Lierman’s office, 20 minutes before the lab meeting the way he had requested, the inside door was cracked. She pushed the door aside to see Lierman sitting at his desk as she expected.

Ms. Lennox was sitting in one of the chairs across from him.

“Oh! I’m sorry! Here. I’ll wait outside a minute.”

“Nono!” exclaimed Lierman. “Come on in. We’re just finishing up here. Jenny, I’ll get on what you asked first thing this afternoon.”

“I appreciate that, Dennis. Hello, Kelly,” she said sweetly, though by her face she looked to be in some bit of pain. “You’re looking especially lovely today. The fabric on that jacket is exquisite—you really do seem to have quite the eye for that sort of thing.”

It was a colorful knit, raw silk tweed jacket that Kelly had picked up at Nordstrom on her Vegas trip. For all her focus on the number of the scale (198.2 this morning!) and it’s stubborn recalcitrance, she’d come to recognize she was slimmer—at least up top, particularly in her arms, and at least enough to fit her jacket, at least unbuttoned. She’d wanted to be prepared for a serious conversation with serious dress, even gone to bed early to devote more time that morning to craft her make-up and to touch up her long-neglected highlights the best a box of Essence (on clearance, no less) could allow.

“Thank you, Ms. Lennox!” Even with the resentment she still felt while talking to her, she was flattered. Especially now that she realized Lennox knew what she was talking about: some time after their last encounter, during one of her more insufferably long mornings in the lab, she’d looked up Ms. Lennox’s textiles class—and what exactly was meant by textiles.

Not that it changed whether Kelly would ever get the chance to take that class! Kelly imagined that was exactly the angle Lennox was driving at.

“Thank you. That means a lot coming from you. But I looked up your class, the one on textiles you told me about, and I, uh, I—“

“That’s OK, Kelly.” She looked down. “That class has been cancelled for lack of enrollment.”

“Jenny,” Lierman interjected, “you don’t have—“

“Nono, Dennis! Now that I’ve made my decision there’s really no reason to keep it under wraps.” Lennox turned back to Kelly. “Enrollment in DCFS has been way down for some time, and they’re cutting back on instructors. The demand for home economics just isn’t what it was. It’s a good time for me to step away while I can to finally finish off my education and still find something else to do.

“If they fill up, I’ll teach a couple of cooking classes in the Spring, and then that will be it.”

Lennox gave a wan smile like she might be holding back tears. They might have tugged at Kelly’s heart more—if Lennox had ever given her that A!

Kelly mumbled an “I see” and a few condolences, which felt oddly out of place, like she was somehow consoling Lennox for a death in her family. A few polite exchanges between the three of them and Lennox and her short, frumpy form slipped out the door and closed it behind her.

“Well that’s really sad,” Lierman said, a little too loudly to reflect too much true feeling, still sitting as he was in his chair. “We’ll certainly miss her around here. We’ll make sure she puts in a good word for your reinstatement before she leaves. So tell me, what’s this situation you needed to tell me about?”
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:27 PM   #287
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Default Thanks for your concern.

It was a touchy narrative to tell. One didn’t exactly tell your male advisor the ins and outs of such a taboo subject as your weight gain and its effects on your anatomy. Or explicit detail about the photo documentation of the rapid expansion of your erotic body parts. In this case her advisor was someone she’d worried was principally interested in sampling those body parts just a bare two months ago. Nor was Kelly particularly enthusiastic about relaying the crudeness of some of the comments. But she felt she managed to convey her concern and sidestep the more embarrassing information--and in particular her concern that there was at least an outside chance she might need some protection.

Lierman listened stoically throughout, leaning back in his chair with his forefingers extended and pressed against his lips. “Sounds pretty unnerving,” he finally commented, then seemed to leave it at that.

Well, yeah.

“Can you show me the profile?”

The question stunned her for a second, and for a moment her mind jumped back into the thoughts she’d entertained about pervy Mr. Lierman throughout most of the course of the summer.

“Um, excuse me?”

“The profile,” he said, sitting up in his chair. “I need to look at it to see if it’s something that might be actionable or not.”

Kelly hadn’t even considered that Lierman—or anyone else, for that matter—might not take her at her word. It was certainly the kind of thing she wanted to keep as private as possible.

“I, uh…I can’t,” she realized. “I already had it deleted.”

Lierman gave a big sigh and leaned back again in his chair, this time with his hands behind his head.

“Well, that’s a real problem. I don’t suppose there’s any way you can get it reinstated?”

Kelly rather doubted it. She didn’t really think she wanted a hand in getting it back out there either.

“No, I suppose there isn’t,” continued Lierman in his oblivious, plow ahead manner. He sighed again. “I’m glad you brought this to me, Kelly. Really. I just wish you had—well, no matter. Nothing we can do about that now. Frankly, I don’t really know what official action we could really take. It’s not as if you have any kind of lead on who this might be, right?”

Kelly shook her head while Lierman kept going, though his eyes did at least look up at her to confirm.

“And tell me, have you noticed anything particularly suspicious? Anyone following you? Anyone maybe giving you a little more attention than seemed less than appropriate?”

Was he kidding? Between the dozen friend requests she could get a day, the scores of young men in and out of their lab in a week, any number of which might make a pass at any time, Scott Gilmore, the football team, frat guys from the parties at the house over the summer—when did she not get attention that might be less than appropriate?

“No. Nothing. Nothing that’s seemed unusual or made me feel uncomfortable.”

“Unh-hunh. Well, you can’t really go straight to the administration for sexual misconduct without an identifiable target for proceedings. I mean, we can’t even be absolutely sure he’s a student, so the Dean of Student’s office might not even be relevant. Since you’re a student,”—funny how they all seemed to forget that she actually wasn’t—“theoretically we could go to the campus police. But I’m not even sure they’d consider it a crime. They’re a first rate professional department, but again, where would they start? Especially if you don’t even have a hint of who it could be.”

Kelly nodded her head in understanding. The only person who seemed unusually interested in her was Lindsey. If only she could sic the campus police on her!

Lierman sat forward again in his chair and leaned his elbows on his desk with his interlocked fingers before him.

“Kelly, I get that this is pretty uncomfortable for you and that you want to do something. But truth is, I’ve been around campus life for a long time, and this sounds like the kind of juvenile knuckleheads undergraduate men do all the time when they’re talking with each other.”

Kelly’s mind went back to the conversations she overheard at the house from the bottom of the stairs. And that morning while those two guys were waiting in the hall.

“I mean, I know it’s rude and all, and I total don’t want to minimize that. But in the end it’s probably all pretty harmless, especially since it doesn’t sound like there were any actual threats of violence, or anything that seems to be coming up for you in real life. The only thing I can say is to keep your eye out, and if someone puts this page up again make sure you don’t delete it before we can take a good look at it.”

Again, Kelly nodded as he looked up to confirm his implied question. Not that she found any of his comments reassuring, but she nodded. Just then there was a knock on the door, and Lierman made to get up out of his chair before stopping to add a comment.

“You know, a real life stalker--I mean, a not-virtual one, not that it isn't a true stalker--is the only way this kind of thing could have come up when I was in school. A million years ago. Even if you had kept that page up”—put it that way he made it sound like it was her page—“I doubt there’s a police force short of the FBI that would be able to track down who put up that page.”

There was another, louder knock at the door and Lierman walked over to open it. “Frankly, I doubt anyone over at campus police could ever track anything like that down. But I have a pretty good idea who could.”

Lierman opened the door.

“Hey, Kells.” It was Caleb, ready for the Monday lab meeting.

“This guy.”

Of course.

“This guy, what?”

“Nothing!” Kelly blurted out.

Wonderful. Soon he’ll know, too!
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:17 AM   #288
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Default Trouble in River City.

“Ohmigod!!!!”

It was called PinkBox, and the doughnut was called the Samoa.
Not a cake doughnut, but a yeast (i.e., “glazed”) one. It was covered in chocolate. It was filled with caramel and chocolate cream. It was drizzled in caramel. And it was covered in toasted coconut.

Kelly’d thought she didn’t like doughnuts. Now, she realized, she’d never really had one. Everyone was so into Krispy Kreme. A few years ago it was all she ever heard about. To her, Krispy Kremes might as well have been cotton candy: sickeningly sweet to the taste and to the tummy, and no kind of satisfaction at all in her mouth. If that was the pinnacle of the doughnut, then doughnuts weren’t for her.

She’d had other glazed doughnuts, too—a Dunkin, and one at Starbucks, and plenty that she’d tried at the grocery store. When she’d learned that so-called glazed doughnuts were actually yeast doughnuts, it had all made sense to her. They tasted like yeast. And oil. Even the cake ones tasted like the oil they were fried in. If she was gonna eat fried food, she’d just assume it be catfish or chicken. And if she was gonna eat cake, then just go ahead and bring her a cake!

But this was different. It wasn’t just the ingredients, though they really did taste like the Girl Scout cookie of wide repute. The dough was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, melting in the mouth but not like a Krispy Kreme. The filling was light and complicated, the caramel buttery and rich, the coconut clearly freshly toasted right there in the store. There was no taste of oil.

This was art. It was gourmet. And Kelly’d had her share of gourmet.
And, she’d had a cooking class to help her appreciate it. Only now did she recognize what that had done for her palate. Kelly breathed a silent Thank you to Mrs. Lennox.

“Don’t bother to thank me.”

That was Caleb. It was Friday afternoon in the lab, just after the second (and last) batch of subjects for the day. If Caleb ever found out about Kelly’s fake facebook page, he’d certainly never let on. In fact, she’d hardly seen him all week—until just now, when he brought in a half-dozen variety box (yes, it was pink) for sampling, because next week phase four—the doughnut phase—was starting.

She’d figured a bite of one, maybe of another, and that would be it.

Now it was all she could do not to stuff the whole thing in her face.
Her mouth watered. Her heart was pounding. Her stomach seemed to actually jump. She felt hot and flushed and wondered if she was sweating. She wanted the rest of that doughnut.

But somehow managed instead to open up her fingers and drop the rest of the Samoa back into the box with a splat, light chocolate filling oozing out onto the cardboard. Tragically, it besmirched the bright green icing of the doughnut beside it. And now that one beckoned for her full attention.

“What--? Kelly! I swear! Chicks! What, you’re gonna leave a half-eaten doughnut with your slobber all over it for someone else to eat? Why do you guys do that?”

Kelly shook her head as f she didn’t know. In reality, she’d barely heard him. That doughnut was so good, she was having trouble putting thoughts together. And that was just the one. Just one bite of that one doughnut.

Oh. My. God! What if that’s not even the best one?

“So, I take it you approve? Yes? Because we kick off Monday and need to make this decision now. And, I was thinking this might help with our recruitment.”

Kelly finally found her voice.

“Yes.”

She was trying to say, Yes, Caleb, let’s go with these. I think that’s a great idea.


And it was. Falling enrollment numbers for the next round of data-gathering had been the focus of discussion in that week’s lab meeting. The word was out around the Intro Psychology classes that Lierman’s study was a time-intensive and ultimately fairly boring one. There were a dozen easier options for earning subject pool credit to pass the class. Stronger incentives were needed.

“Yeah, well, OK then. The shop’s right off campus, which is good for you, because you’ll have to buy fresh ones every day.”

I think I’m in trouble…

“And Kelly, I was serious. That’s gross! Eat the rest of that doughnut or throw it away! Yuck!”

It was a simple decision, but it wasn’t easy. She picked up the doughnut, averted her eyes…

…and dropped it into the trash can.

It disturbed her how much her heart dropped with it.
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:35 PM   #289
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Kelly has good taste, I too prefer yeast doughnuts over the cake type.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:40 PM   #290
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Kelly has good taste, I too prefer yeast doughnuts over the cake type.
Thanks! I'll take that as a personal compliment: so many of Kelly's tastes are personally my own. It just makes things easier.

Though PinkBox has an amazing cake doughnut with Fruity Pebbles on it.
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:58 PM   #291
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Hi Struggling Writer,
This is the best story on here I have read in at least a year or two?! I have been reading the forums and stories on here for many years before actually joining. It took a cpl days to read through this entire novel. (I'm one of those weirdos whom go through books, almost non stop, with eye-strain & headaches & more coffee etc. being the only way to stop for sleep and work etc during the day.) When I finally finish a book, I usually feel like I've lost a good friend. Like now what? What was I supposed to have gotten done these last few days....?

I saw that your last post was dated recently.. Yes! Please keep the story up and running! It's the BEST. Especially like how relatable the characters are to real-life.
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:38 AM   #292
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Thank you so much, STO. I feel like this story is a companion that is with me all the time, and it has been for so long now that it's hard to imagine life without it. There's plenty to go, still striving to find its way into print in a way that keeps those characters genuine. Thanks.
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Old 06-23-2017, 08:24 AM   #293
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Default Gymnastics. Most of them mental.

Kelly managed to leave the box of doughnuts behind her after she closed down the lab. But their presence there haunted her all weekend.

So she used that obsession to stick to her diet better than she had any weekend yet.

Here’s how it worked. Here’s how it always worked.

That afternoon, walking back to the house, sitting in The Attic talking with Marla and Monet, even walking back to meet up with Wade for their Friday dinner, Kelly’s mind inevitably back to that delicious, gooey bite of doughnut and the pentaverite of pastries sitting unmolested on her desk. The memory of sugary sweetness lingered large in her mouth. The larger the sensation, the larger the Calorie count she imagined she had consumed, the catastrophic Calorie count she’d ingest with just one more bite, the hours of exercise it would take to counteract the effects.

If she’d allowed herself, she’d have known it was all bull. But whatever. It worked.

At other moments she thought ahead to the buffet with Wade. Most Fridays she found herself craving a blueberry muffin (Oh, wow, those Silver Stable blueberry muffins!!!) or two (or three!), which more often than not she would give in to. But this time the buffet was her refuge, a place to run away from her new Pinkbox obsession and run to the safety of salad and vegetables. Even blueberry muffins wouldn’t compare to a Samoa—and whatever that filled doughnut was with the bright green icing! And if she couldn’t have the thing she really wanted, well why should she get hung up on saying no to a few muffins? She could always have them next week, anyway.

And when Wade mentioned at the end of dinner he wouldn’t be able to pay that night, when a sudden and surprising wave of irritation gripped her, despite her agreeable, “OK, no problem,” then the rush of anxiety that half of what remained of her check had just vanished? There was no helping thinking of the free food just waiting for her back at the lab if she would just walk over and get it.

Kelly! she scolded herself. That’s emotional eating! Be mad at him. Don’t take it out on yourself!

A solution would present itself. Besides, there was the party.

Well, it wasn’t much of a party. Wade’s core group of friends and their friends at somebody’s apartment, a couple of cases of beer, and an 11:00 lights out for the team members because of a game tomorrow. Somebody picked up some Little Caesar’s—Kelly wouldn’t be caught dead eating that cardboard!—which made her think of Dominos, which made her think of molten lava cakes, which made her think of anywhere from one to five filled doughnuts sitting in a box back at the psychology lab. That made her hungry, and if it hadn’t been Little Caesar’s she probably would have caved. But it wasn’t, and there was beer, and if she had two Bud Lites on an empty stomach it would only be, like, 200 Calories or so, she’d get a little buzz, and she wouldn’t be hungry!

And when that stopped working, she whispered into Wade’s ear. Ten minutes later they were on their way to the lake, where on a perfect early October evening in the South, Kelly focused on that other hunger—and, oh, was that satisfying! Kelly basked in the glow as they lay panting in the bed of Wade’s truck, Kelly snuggled in the expansive hook of Wade’s solid arm, gently tracing the contours of Wade’s body with her (regrettably short, barely maintained) fingernails. It soon dawned on her that the rock-hard definition she’d come to expect wasn’t quite as hard or defined.

“I think I’m corrupting you!” she purred.

“Hm?” he grunted. Apparently he’d drifted off to sleep. “Corrupted?”

“Yeah. Corrupted. It’s when you take something perfect and then—“

“I know what it means. What do you mean?”

“Your muscles!” She traced a little faster, a little harder, this time with her fingertips. “Is that a soft little layer of fat I detect?” She pinched him gently on the love handle—or, that is, where his love handle would be. It was still pretty solid.

“Yeah,” Wade smirked. “I guess training table is working. When you’re putting on thirty pounds fast, it’s pretty hard to make it all muscle.”

Oh, yeah. Training table. Only rarely was Kelly reminded exactly why Wade was on the football team but wasn’t actually playing. It wasn’t as if his schedule seemed any lighter than the rest of the players because of it: morning to night his day was monopolized with workouts, practices, classes and study (in that order), and during the week contact with him was limited to a few sleepy texts before he crashed around 10 and lunch at the athletic dorm once a week. It wasn’t until the weekend that he functioned anything like she expected a boyfriend would—and then, she realized, knowing a slate of out-of-town conference games was coming up, only if he was in town. Even when they were together, so much of their interaction was defined by football: game day on Saturdays, NFL on the TV on Sundays (a bit of a guilty pang hit her, reminding her that she’d pretty much pushed church aside)—and especially their lunch during the week, Friday night buffet, and even his occasional invitation to Sunday brunch with her mother and Gail. For Wade, that was part of his training table, just one component of his life-consuming pursuit for gridiron glory.

Lucky dog! I wish putting on pounds had brought me closer to my goals!

So naturally she thought of the box of doughnuts on her desk. Who wouldn’t, right?

“Well if you want to put on thirty pounds fast, then I know where we—“ Kelly cut herself off as she realized her PinkBox obsession was leaking out of her mouth.

“Know where what?”

Pause.

“I know one girl who’s not gonna make it easy for you to keep it on!” She pushed herself up on one elbow and kicked one leg over him to sit on his hips, opening wide to accommodate the thick flesh of her thighs. She leaned forward to kiss him, first laying her breasts just so, then lowering her weight slowly upon him, so as to fill the space between them without impeding the path to his lips without strangling him. She succeeded enough to wonder about the comparison between the taste of Wade’s lips and that of a bright green-iced Pinkbox doughnut before reminding herself her Pinkbox doughnut would still be there, but for now all she had was Wade.
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Old 06-24-2017, 06:18 AM   #294
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Awesome update!
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:05 AM   #295
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Awesome update!
Thanks, Jake. More in that vein currently in progress.
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:58 AM   #296
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Awesome update!
agreed! Really like the tension you are building up currently
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