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Old 11-14-2017, 01:19 PM   #326
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oooh, glad to see Kelly have a plan, and start driving things more on her own!
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:15 PM   #327
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Default Balls of steel!

Half an hour later, Kelly slammed the door of Lierman’s lab behind her and leaned against it with a sigh, just like in so many of the old black-and-white movies she’d watched in the past.

As she had hoped, Caleb was working in his computer at the table in the corner.

“What happened? What did you just do? Are you all right?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Where are those doughnuts?”

Caleb pointed to the table, where the pink box sat in its obvious glory. Only three of the five were left (Caleb!!), and Kelly dove into one—a glazed cake Crueller—in something like desperation, or frustration, or exhilaration, or something like that. That didn’t stop her from appreciating how crispy it was on the outside, and how moist and clean on the inside. It made her feel cleansed, and free, on the inside. It melted in her mouth fast enough to reach for another one post haste, a chocolate-iced cake as yummy and fresh as the Crueller. Caleb, of course, was watching, but for once it seemed he was putting his smart-ass tongue in check, probably because she wasn’t giving him the answer he wanted.

Kelly invited Caleb to join her for lunch at the dining center. He knew enough about her finances to understand the significance of the request.

“Why? What the hell happened in there?”

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

“Holy shit, Kelly!” a shit-faced Gail exclaimed. “Juss tell us! What the hell didya say to her?”

It was the aftermath of Sunday brunch almost a week later, and Kelly was sitting at the table recounting the story, Gail with both elbows on the table—her chins resting in her hands in an effort to maintain rapt attention—and her mother snugly wedged between the buffet and the table again across from Kelly, one hand resting on top of her squished-up belly and the other glued to her over-filled goblet of red wine. This week there was a bevy of others as well: Jenn and Crystal, Elektra, Marla and Monet—but no Wade. After another disappointing loss on the road, he’d gone out drinking with his teammates, and that was after he and Kelly had shared a six together shortly after the late-night arrival of the team bus. He’d begged off brunch around 6am with as drunk a text as Kelly had ever received, undoubtedly delivered as he knelt in miserable supplication before his dorm room throne.

Wade’s absence—connected as it was to the misery of another road loss, which Wade was destined to spread to the rest of them—hadn’t phased Kelly at all. She was enjoying being the center of attention, dragging out each statement of her conversation with Lennox like she was presenting a soap opera—or more like she was 14 years old relaying a conversation over the phone to her best friend. The other eight girls had long finished their meals, but from time to time she’d stop to pick over the remains of hers, kind of like she needed a little bite of fuel to power through the next little bit of the story.

The past week had been a diet disaster for Kelly. After leaving the lab she’d torn through a pile of offings at the dining center like she hadn’t done since she and Wade had blown through the buffet of buffets over the summer in Vegas, figuring she had to justify the expense, and anyway, at this point wasn’t she entitled to a release? From there she’d gone straight out to that week’s “inputs” shopping, where for the first time she’d taken Lierman’s intimations to heart and finally used that expense account to pad her own meals for the week. Not that she hadn’t already been doing that in the lab with the extra granola bars and bananas and, of course, PinkBox doughnuts these past couple of weeks. But this time she added bagels, cream cheese, fruit, oatmeal, cereal bars, Ramen noodles, candy—everything a girl needed in her dorm room—especially when she owed so much to her roommates for all the snacks she’d stolen these past weeks. Not that they’d ever complained, or that they ever would think to. But there was a reason Marla and Monet were around the table that Sunday, too.

She’d fully intended to jump back on the wagon on Tuesday, and given a couple of weeks where PinkBox doughnuts had gotten the best of her, in her mind she did. Only looking back had she realized how poor a job she’d actually done. Tuesday morning's moderation ended in a total breakdown Tuesday night at the hands of the Buford College vending machines. And though Wednesday was pretty good, she’d melted down again Thursday night at the vending machines, then piled on at dinner with Wade at the Silver Saddle after—especially since he was actually paying for once. Friday she’d blown it from the get-go with a blueberry bagel binge breakfast and a granola bar parade at the lab, and nothing about that night and the weekend had gotten any better: the bulk of Friday and Saturday she bounced from shop to shop looking for the best deals the best of her meager Thursday paycheck could withstand for new winter shirts and pants. It was time-consuming, exhausting work, and even her fit legs were sore by the end of Saturday. The temptation of cheap easy (yummy!) meals at the drive-thru was too much to resist.

Kelly’d told herself she was getting pants. But mostly it was leggings that she could really afford. She was wearing her best pair now, and though they’d taken up more than she hoped of her check, and though absolutely nothing about them was Phi Gamma, for now she didn’t regret it. She’d worry about that later! She hadn’t allowed herself to wear leggings since before she’d lost all that weight two summers ago, and she’d forgotten how oh-so-comfortable they really were.

Even now as she slipped her last half a meatball past her lips she thought about how much thinner these leggings made her feel—even as her conscience reminded her it was definitely not the case!

“Come on, Kelly! Get to it. I’ve got to get ready for a date.” That was Elektra.

Elizabeth had made profiteroles that morning, and Kelly scooped some of the remains of their soggy pastry and chocolatey melted vanilla ice cream into her mouth with a big grin. She always forgot about profiteroles until her mother whipped them up. They were her absolute favorite!

Elektra drummed her fingers on the table, but her demeanor wasn’t nearly as annoyed as her words suggested. Her face suggested she was having as much fun with this as Kelly was.

“Please, dear,” Elizabeth added. “You’re gonna give me a heart attack!”

“Oh, all right!” Kelly sighed, washing the creamy sweetness out of her mouth by savoring a sip of Chardonnay—which despite the temporary acrid combination of sugar and the dry wine in her mouth left her palate feeling clean and refreshed, the way she’d known it would, especially after following up with a sip of ice water. There wasn’t that much left to tell anyway.

“Well, surely you guessed it,” Kelly shrugged. “I told her how many of you girls had signed up for her class, and that if she didn’t change my grade to an A they were all gonna drop her course at the last minute and she’d be out of a job.”

Silent shock gripped the table. In the meantime, Kelly picked out another bite of pastry from her dessert bowl and popped it into her mouth.

“Holy shit!” Gail breathed before sitting up and tossing off her glass of Chardonnay, shaking her head at the hard finish before leaning back in her chair, the drinking hand flat on the table with the glass poking up from between her fingers. “You blackmailed her!!”

“No way!” Monet breathed.

Gail shook her head.

“Didn’t see that coming! Nope! Not at all! Not from you,” Gail continued, shaking her head. She spread her legs to make room for her belly so she could scoot forward, then reached for the Chardonnay bottle and refilled her glass.

“No way,” Monet added, again.

“Balls of steel!” Elektra noted. She lifted her glass of ice water and clanged it against Monet’s wine glass in approval.

“Balls of steel!” Monet echoed, taking a sip of her red.

Kelly might have smiled, but her mind was stuck at Didn’t see that coming. There it was again! Did no one give her credit?

As it was, it hadn’t occurred to her that what she’d done was actually blackmail. Wasn’t that some kind of crime or something? She hadn’t felt the least bit uncomfortable with what she’d done until just now.

“Well, it was your idea,” she demurred to Gail.

“Oh, no,” Gail asserted with enebriated exaggeration. “No it wazn’. My idea wz for you to help her out with her classes, then maybe she’d help get you admitted again in the Fall, juss like Lierman wz trying to do for you. Thiss iss something completely different!”

Marla, who’d mostly looked confused up to this point, finally piped up. “What do you mean admitted in the Fall?”

Kelly and Gail had already explained Kelly’s problem near the outset of her story and sworn the rest of the girls to secrecy, but apparently it hadn’t registered with Marla. Elizabeth, who looked well on her way to her afternoon nap had the same question pasted on her face. So Gail briefly explained the history again.

“The biggess part I can’ believe,” Gail added after she finished, “iss that you asked her to go back and change your grade. I didn’ know you could eben do that. How did you know?”

Kelly shrugged again. “I didn’t.”

“You didn’!” Gail exclaimed.

“Balls of steel!” Elektra proclaimed and raised her glass again.

“Balls of steel!” echoed Monet, with raised glass, and this time Marla and Gail followed right on her heels, with Kelly and Elizabeth not too far behind, tossing off what they each had left. And though for Kelly this was nothing—she’d been sipping a single glass of wine all the way through lunch—for Elizabeth it was nearly half a glass. She hummed with an mm-mmm! as she swallowed it all down, then finished with a smile and a glazed look that told Kelly it wasn’t long now before Elizabeth would begin her purposeful descent into alcohol-induced oblivion for the afternoon. Were it not for her mother, Kelly likely would otherwise have basked for a while in the warm praise of her peers. But instead, heaviness settled onto her heart, especially as she watched her mother lunge forward to refill her glass. It wasn't easy for her: she had to smush her huge seated belly into the table edge and grasp the bottle of remaining red with her fingertips.

It was a heaviness Kelly was tired of feeling every week, and this week she was finally going to do something about it. She knew she had to speed things up.

“I asked her to change the grade because that was what I wanted,” Kelly said. “Lennox called it ‘reinstatement.’ All I said was, ‘I want you to change my grade to an A.’ And she said, like, ‘You mean, reinstatement?’ Like she was amazed or something. So I, of course, acted like I’d known all along”—a skill Kelly was long-practiced at—“and looked it up later on Aphrodite.” Aphrodite, of course, was the university’s online registration website, which also contained the student handbook.

“OK. Sure. But is she gonna do it?” Elektra asked in her distinctive South Georgia drawl. Shoo-ur. “Or am I gonna have to drop it and find a different class for my easy A? Just tell me what I’ve gotta do.”

“She said she had to think about it.”

A chorus of groans and grumbles erupted from around the table. Even Jenn and Crystal joined in.

“After all that, that’s all she said?” Monet. “Fuck! You mean you don’t even know how this is gonna turn out? How are you so calm!? I’d be a fucking wreck!” She made the point by tossing off her own (almost-empty) bowl of red like she needed the buffer against anxiety.

“You know, I’m really not. I feel great about it, if you can believe it. Truth is, I don’t think there’s really much for her to think about. Seems to me she’s gonna go for it.”

“I sure hope so,” Elektra shrugged. “In all honesty her class sounds kind of cool. Whoever knew you could take Home Ec in college?”

Elizabeth laughed, sending her chins aquiver. “Sweetie, it wasn’ all that long before I went taschool thass about the only thing we girlz went taschool for!”

“Well if it means you could do all this”—Elektra swept her arm Vanna White-style above the table—“then you can count me in.

“But for now,” she added, patting the table with both hands as she stood to her feet, “I’ve gotta jet.” She was looking at her phone as she said it. “Gail, Mrs. Kingsley, as always, this was truly amazing.”

“Please. Call me Elizabeth.”

Yes. Please do, the daughter thought. These days hearing her last name just made her think about her father.

“Done. Thanks, Elizabeth. Kelly, you’re my hero.

"Balls of steel!”
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Old 11-25-2017, 05:15 PM   #328
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Default A big conversation

The other girls took Elektra’s exit as their own cue to dismiss themselves from the table, and a swarm of hugs invaded the room before in short order they were down to three. And while Elizabeth, who throughout the goodbyes had remained in her seat with her hands folded on top of her belly, graciously acknowledging the flurry of compliments offered her way, sipped her wine and hummed an inaudible little tune, Gail pushed herself unsteadily to her feet and started stacking plates to take to the kitchen.

“That waz somethin’ elss kid,” she said. “I’m real proud of you.” She finished emptying a plate onto the master, then turned and embraced her. Kelly was nearly staggered by the surprising weight of Gail’s swollen arms—or perhaps the full weight of Gail herself, as she may have been embracing Kelly as much out of affection as she was a means of keeping her balance, judging by her alcoholic breath and her arrhythmic sway back and forth.

Kelly winced privately at the painful pressure of Gail’s ever-prodigious paunch against what she suddenly realized was a way-too-full stomach.

My God, how much did I eat??

“Didja really say all those nice thingz to Lennox?” Gail asked, vulnerably, almost sounding like a little girl.

“Yes, I did.” Ow.

“Juss like that?”

“Just like that. Word for word.” Please let go!

“Word for word.”

“And didja really mean it?”

“Every bit of it.”

“Awww, thank you, Kellz! Really, you are ab-so-loot-ly the bess!!

Gail held Kelly a little longer before letting go and stepping back, dabbing tears away from her mascara. “Gawd,” she sniffled, “I turned into such a softie!

Gail turned back to clumsily building her stack of plates, and Kelly as usual made a show of helping her before begging off to the restroom, hoping she might relieve some of the pressure she felt on her insides. She couldn’t believe how what she’d thought had been just a little noshing had added up to. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so full!

Kelly finished her business, feeling mildly relieved, and after studiously avoiding looking at her figure as she washed her hands, set her mind on clearing the table for once. Back in the dining room, the table was only half-cleared and Gail was already gone—probably moments away from passing out in her bedroom. Elizabeth was still sitting with her wine and humming a barely audible tune discernible only to her.

It was a familiar sound, stretching back to Kelly’s earliest memories of she and her mother preparing meals together in the kitchen. But it was one Kelly hadn’t heard since leaving college, back when her mother was the mother Kelly remembered.

“Don’t worry, Baby,” Elizabeth smiled dreamily, “I can get to it later.”

Kelly didn’t need to hear that twice. She sat down at the head of the table next to her mother and took a sip of Gail’s untouched water glass, ice long since melted.

Kelly’d been building up to this moment in her mind for a while, but now that it was here, she couldn’t figure out how to get started—or whether she even wanted to.

Thankfully, Elizabeth opened the door for Kelly to get something else off her mind first.

“You’re looking so beautiful, Kelly. You must have loss more weight.”

Because beautiful must mean thin, right?

“Actually, Mom, I’m pretty sure I gained weight.”

“’Pretty sure’? That’s not like you. Usually you can spout off your weight right down to the ounce.”

“I’ve kind of been avoiding the scale…”

“Oh. That bad, is it?”

Kelly nodded solemnly in response.

“It’s just that, well, I was doing so good—“

“Well. You were doing so well.”

“I was doing so well! I started the semester really strong and was starting to see some progress, but then the last week or two I just…I just…I guess I just sort of lost my will power.”

Elizabeth smiled the sweet smile of motherly understanding. She’d always had a very wide smile, and she might have been smiling ear to ear, if the corner of her mouth could have pushed through the roundness of her pudgy cheeks. As it was, that smile still had enough strength to push those pudgy cheeks upward, taking those legendary wide blue eyes that she shared with her daughter and transforming them into happy little half-moon windows.

“Oh, baby, that’s just your way.”

My way?

“What do you mean?”

“Every time you’re on a diet, you give it your all for about two months, and then I guess you just give out for a while before you give it another go. You’ve always done that.”

“I have?”

“Yes, you have. Your whole life. Once I got you started you were the most dedicated person I ever saw, but I guess there’s only so much time a girl can sustain an effort like that. I can’t tell you how proud of you I was for keeping the weight off all last year. Don’t let it get you down. The last couple of weeks have just been a little break. You’ll be right back after it before you know it. Trust me.”

Her mother’s unwavering faith in her always felt so good. It felt even more encouraging realizing it was coming from someone wo actually new more about her than herself. But there was nothing about her meteoric weight gain that was anything like she’d encountered before. And she’d only managed to claw it back eight, maybe ten pounds before running out of steam.

How much more was she gonna gain before she found the will to hit her stride again?

“Thanks. Mommy.”

“Of course, Baby.”

They sat a while together without talking. Kelly sipped a melted glass of ice water and Elizabeth steadily drank her wine and hummed a barely audible song—something Kelly remembered her doing throughout her childhood, mostly while she prepared family dinner in the kitchen. And it was something she hadn’t heard from her mother do in ages.

For Kelly, it was the sound of home, and she didn’t want it to end. At the same time, it made what she wanted to say seem that much more urgent. Especially as Elizabeth’s eyes began to glass over from the alcohol.
Kelly’s window was closing, and she still couldn’t find the nerve to press the trigger!

Elizabeth broke the silence.

“That was quite the story you told today. Every one of those girls was hanging on every word you had to say.”

“You think?” Kelly asked, even though she knew she’d had them eating out of the palm of their hand. All weekend she’d felt nothing but peace and satisfaction about how everything (except her weight loss) seemed to be coming together, and she wouldn’t mind hearing a bit more about it from the person whose opinion mattered most to her.

“They all seemed very impressed with you. Me, too. Though—“

Here she paused and took a drag of wine.

Though?

“Though some of it didn’ sound much like my lil girl.”

Kelly hadn’t been expecting this.

“I mean, didja hafta treat that woman the way you did? I mean, do you think you really had to be that, um, mean?

“Cuz that doesn’ sound like my sweet lil girl much at all. Not at all.”

She said it with just the slightest hint of disappointment, but she might as well have been hitting Kelly across the face with a 2X4 it stunned her so much. Kelly couldn’t remember the last time she’d faced anything but unconditional support from her mother—and certainly not when she’d accomplished so much!

And when Elizabeth had accomplished so little.

“I did have to treat her that way. I did.”

“Well,” Elizabeth replied, “the way you talked about her to the girls, it didn’ sound like you gave her much respect. An’ you went after her personally, too. You know you had to hurt her feelings, you know?”

Hurt her feelings?!

Elizabeth took a long pull from her glass and pursed it between her lips, as she was accustomed to doing the more blasted she became.

“I certainly don’t think there was any other way I was gonna make that happen.”

“Well, sure there was. You could have done what, uh, what—whassiz name again? Your professor?”

“Dr. Lierman.”

“Dr. Lierman! Thass it!” She paused a moment. “Lierman. Lierman….”

“Yes, Lierman. What about him?”

“Oh, nothing, nothing! I was juss thinking…. Never mind. Never mind! He juss seems like a nice guy, and like he knows what hees talkin’ about, an’ you coulda juss done it the way he said do it. I juss think you didn’ hafta be so mean to her.”

“Mother, I wasn’t mean. I was strong.”

“OK, OK, OK.” The wine glass went to her lips, and the last of the wine slipped in, causing the corners of her mouth to lift in a little smile. But it wasn’t OK. She still had more to say. “Iss juss, I think you coulda made a friend, and instead you made an enemy. I thought we raised you to treat people that way.”

Hadn’t she looked around the table today? I made friends out of the people who count the most!

“Mother, if Lennox were gonna be my friend, I’d have never been in this mess.”

“Well, OK. I’m juss worried maybe you burned your bridges.” The word came out of Elizabeth’s mouth like britches. “I mean, iss, juss my opinion. I guess iss juss not what I would’ve done, thass all. I woulda been nicer. If it were me, iss not what I would have done, thass all.”

Not what you would have done? At once, Kelly found the voice and the words she’d been looking for.

“Well, Mother, tell me. What have you done?”

It was Elizabeth’s turn to look surprised.

“’scuse me?” She lifted her empty wine glass to her lips.

“Mother, you heard what I said. I want you to put down your wine for two minutes and listen to me!”

Elizabeth’s puffy brow looked cross for a moment, and Kelly’s heart cringed with a daughter’s fear. And regret. But Elizabeth’s glass went back down to the table in obedience, and her wobbly eyes focused their gaze directly on their clearer mirror image across from her.

“I’m lissening.”

“I’m sorry, Mother!”

Elizabeth pushed a heavy arm, made heavier by the wine, across the table to hold Kelly’s fingers.

“I know, Baby. I am, too. What’d you want to say?”

Nothing, now. She wanted to take it all back even before she put it into words. But her mother was waiting.

“Mommy, I—I--. What are you doing here? I mean, I love you. I’m so happy you’re so close to me where I can see you, especially since—since—“

“Since what happened.”

Since you left Daddy.

“Since,” Kelly said instead, “you found out what he did to you. Did to us.”

“You’re right Baby. He did it to us.”

“I know, Mommy. It wasn’t your fault. But he did what he did, and you did what you did, and there’s no changing any of it.” Kelly paused after she said it, wondering if, maybe even hoping that her mother might tell her she’d somehow changed her mind, that somehow there was a way it was possible that she even could change her mind after what Ben Kingsley had done to her.

But Elizabeth’s face was a closed book. She reached for her wine. So Kelly pressed on.

“So what now? It happened. And you sit here in this house every day like your life is over, drinking yourself into oblivion, eating so much you’re—well, you’re almost unrecognizable!”

Kelly paused again, but still Elizabeth gave no indication she wanted to respond, or even that she was affected by the words she was hearing.

“I mean, do you ever even leave the house?” This time Kelly waited for a response.

“I leave the houss sometimez.”

“Almost never!” Kelly didn’t know, though she thought she did.

“Yes. Almoss never.”

Kelly felt a surge of sadness that threatened to spill over into her eyes.

“Mommy, that’s not the Mommy I knew. I just want my Mommy back. Where is she?”

“Baby, I’m so sorry. I think I’m—I’m gonna hafta move over totha couch, OK Baby?”

She leaned back a moment and put her head against the wall, looking at the ceiling except for the fact that her eyes were closed. Kelly suddenly worried she might have started too late, that Elizabeth might have passed out right then and there.

But she opened her eyes and exhaled before twisting her blubbery body to the side, placing one thick arm against the wall and the other pudgy fore arm behind her on the table. With a grunt she pushed with both, apparently to free the massive hip and thigh she’d had wedged under the table, then exhaled again before leaned off the chair, her back dipping from the weight of her massive belly and bulbous breasts, before straining upward until she balanced on her feet. She inhaled almost in surprise and paused for a moment, certainly waiting for her head to stop spinning before she twisted first one hip and then the other on her way out of what Kelly had up to that point regarded as her mother’s constraining position, but as Kelly clearly understood now, was a source of security and support devised of her mother’s conceit.

Kelly averted her gaze and pushed her chair back, then pushed it back again as she realized she’d underestimated her own girth and the space she would need to slip easily out of her seat. She felt so small compared to her mother that she often forgot that she actually wasn’t. She hoped her mother wouldn’t require the support of her arm and wondered even if her support would even help. But Elizabeth squeezed herself out from the wedge of the dining room table and the wall and waddled her way around Kelly’s chair easily enough on her way to the living room. Kelly watched her mother’s fat form trudge carefully to the entryway, noticing the way Elizabeth’s back still pinched in hourglass fashion to create a waistline—albeit a thick one well-defined by the stretchy cotton mu-mu gripping tightly all around. It brought sharp definition the top of each wide, round ass cheek, wobbling every direction as she shuffled forward.

I am never, ever, ever gonna allow myself to get that big.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:36 PM   #329
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Default Never say never.

It was a thought she wondered why she even had: never had it ever occurred to her that growing that big was ever for her—or really, for any woman—in the realm of possibility. Until just now, when she’d seen it in her mom.

Kelly heard her mother fall her way down onto the couch before following her into the living room. She half expected her to be asleep, but she was propped up attentively (grading on a curve) in the corner of the couch, heavy arms draped along the top and the arm. Kelly pulled the corner of the coffee table away from the couch so she could sit on it, winced inside a bit as she sat on it, wondering if too late that she might be too heavy for it to take her weight. It didn’t make the slightest sound. She found solace in the idea that her focus on her mother’s substantial size had led her to exaggerate her own.

“OK! I’m sorry, Baby. Please go on.”

Please go on! Surely she had to be aware of the thrust of Kelly’s concerns, and yet she received it like some kind of receptionist who’d left her on hold or something. Couldn’t she see?

“OK, Mommy. It’s like this for me. It just hurts me so much to see you like this! Do you understand? I mean, you’re the one who spent my whole life teaching me to keep my weight down, and then you, you turn out like this? So…out of control? And then every time I see you you’re a fall-down drunk!”

“I know, Baby. I know. But iss only for now. An’, I liketa cook. An’ I liketa eat. An’ what difference does it make at thiss point?”

“It does make a difference, Mommy.” Kelly grabbed Elizabeth’s hand, struck as always by its firm softness and the sheer weight of her arm. “It makes a difference to me. It’s like you just…gave up.

“You have a whole new life in front of you. I’m all grown up now. You’re free from Daddy and his business. You don’t have anybody holding you back now! You can do anything you want. You could start a business. It could be a bakery or something like that if you want. Or get back involved with the church again. Or go travelling. You know how much you love to travel!”

Elizabeth was smiling, but she was blinking slowly—or whatever you would call closing your eyes and not opening them right away while (at least nominally) awake. Moreover, she wasn’t responding. Kelly was beginning to wonder if Elizabeth even heard her behind the haze of the alcohol. She made her last push.

“Mommy, why don’t you go with me to see Dr. Lierman? Maybe he could help you find some people at the university you could get involved with. Or maybe he could set you up in a few classes until you figure out what you want to do. OK?

“Mommy, did you hear me?”

“I hear you,” she murmured her bleary gaze finding sharp focus once again.

“I said maybe you could meet with Dr Lierman and he could help you get started. The way he helped me. You said it yourself he seemed like a nice guy.”

“He doez seem likea nice guy.”

“Yeah, he does. He really does. So come on! Let’s go see him together. I just—“

Kelly stopped, because she started to choke up. Elizabeth heard it, and her eyes widened with surprising alertness.

That gave Kelly the hope she needed to bottle her emotion back up.

“I just can’t watch while you…while you…waste the rest of your life like this. OK? OK, Mommy?” Kelly wrung her hands in her lap for a moment as she pleaded. “Please come with me.”

Kelly’s eyes stayed looking at her hands even as they stopped, and for a moment there was nothing but the sound of labored breathing: Kelly’s, out of distress, Elizabeth’s burdened by the weight of too much alcohol. Kelly heard Elizabeth shifting on the couch and looked up to see Elizabeth leaning to the side so she could stretch an arm across the breadth of her seated belly, pinning Kelly’s hands to her lap with a heavy hand.

“Oh, Baby,” was all she said at first, rubbing Kelly’s thumb with her own, as she’d been wont to do in such mother-daughter talks in the past.

“You’re right about eberything, of course. Eberything. ‘Cept one.” She paused and licked her lips, her head dipping a bit, and it was clear that last glass of wine had Elizabeth just as intoxicated as Kelly knew she had to be. “You asked me what I’ve done. Well, thass obvious.

“I’ve done you.”

Kelly shook her head. “Well, yeah, I know you’ve done—“

“Nonono,” Elizabeth interrupted, shaking her own head. “Therez no ‘well, yeah” ‘bout that. You are the bess thing I eber did, and it is NOT a waste! Not a waste. Nothing I eber do will eber come close.”

Elizabeth dragged her hand off of Kelly’s, apparently because the effort of holding it there was becoming too much effort. It flopped down and cupped the bulge where her belly pressed against the edge of the couch. The rest of her belly and her massive boobs filled the entirety of the space from the cushions to the top of the padded arm, where Elizabeth’s own meaty arm kept her propped up for now.

“I love you sooo much, an’ I’m so proud of you. I waz never trapped raising you. That was the greatess freedom I’ve eber known. Maybe you can’ believe it. Maybe you hafta be a mother. But I’m happy, Baby, juss to be here so I can see the amazing young woman you’ve become.”

Elizabeth smiled and laid her head in the soft crook of her arm, looking at her daughter with dreamy eyes.

“But Mommy, you can still do that you know. Right here. But you can’t just—you have to do something more than this. Please come with me.”

“I know, Baby. You’re right. Eberything you’re saying is 100 percen’ right. An’ iss really a good idea, too, going with you to see him. I shhhould do exactly what you’re sayin’.

“I juss don’ think I’m going to.”

And with a smile she closed her eyes and hummed for a few seconds before slipping into sleep.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:27 AM   #330
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Interesting character development there! Waiting to see where this leads
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Old 12-06-2017, 10:47 PM   #331
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Default A Girl's Gotta

This one looked a lot like Scott Gilroy: tall, wavy black hair, dimpled smile. Just a bit thicker and a lot less ... polished. Normal teeth, normal clothes, normal nails, normal skin, nothing upper-crust about him. The other students in the late shift (there were actually two girls in this round of subjects) had cleared out for the day, but he’d lingered around after. They’d talked for about ten minutes before he sent his contact info to her phone, which arrived with a wave of her Fairy Godmother’s wand—otherwise known as the sound from Cinderella that Kelly had recently downloaded to customize the notification tone on her aging iPhone.

“OK! I’ve got it,” Kelly smiled.

“Great! I’ll send you a text. Maybe we can go out sometime.”

“Yeah-hunh. I’m glad we got a chance to talk. One of the things I love about this job is getting to know so many different people. So you’re back, ummm...”—Kelly checked the schedule—“...next Monday, same time! Look for you then.”

“Sure thing. Later.”

The guy stooped for his backpack and fumbled a little bit opening the door, then looked back with a smile to cover it a little bit. It might have worked had he not closed it a little too hard.

The rattle of the grate in the heavy door had barely stopped when Caleb spoke up from the table in the corner.

“You think he figured out you were blowing him off?”

“I didn’t blow him off. He got my number, for God’s sake.”

“Mm-hm. And why exactly did you do that again?”

“Shut up, Caleb.”

“Again,” he repeated. “That was like the fourth time today.”

“Stop it. It was not!

“No. I’m serious. Count them. It was four times.”

She went back through the morning in her mind.

“It was two.”

“Count again.”

“I don’t need to. The other two were facebook adds.”

“Oh, please!”

“Caleb, those are totally different!”

“Sure. OK. Right. So two. And why are you getting anyone’s number at all? Shouldn’t someone be telling this to, I don’t know, your boyfriend?”

Couldn’t he just leave be? It wasn’t like she was gonna actually do anything with those numbers.

“Leave me alone, Caleb.”

She turned her attention to her computer, where she was working on integrating webcam footage into her Instagram profile as part of a final project integrating multiple social media platforms for her Digital Basketweaving class. But her mind was running through answers to Caleb’s question, Why?

Because what Caleb couldn’t understand was how sometimes a girl just needs a little attention to feel like she matters, like she’s not as ugly as sometimes she feels. And here was the opportunity right in front of her and she wasn’t gonna fend it off today just for something like appearances.

Because Mr. Big-Time-College-Athlete-Drama-King still hadn’t texted her back from yesterday, and, well, if anything came out of these phone numbers, who was really to blame?

Because the more she considered it, even better she felt about her meeting with Lennox and her prospects for getting what she wanted by the end of the semester. It was a like a whole new future, with entire new possibilities.

Because she was sitting there in those brand new leggings to replace her outgrown jeans which for all their form-fitting comfort didn’t have close to the containment of a quality cut of denim. So now when her hips flared out they spilled over the edge of the chair and rubbed up against the metal bars holding up the small hard worn-leather oval arms of the chair that were all-but covered by her heretofore unrealized-as-chubby forearms. And guys were hitting on her anyway-even with her boobs under full wraps in the baggy XL special-ordered Phi Gamma letter sweater she was wearing to withstand the first chill of fall and the world’s most antiquated heating system.

Because after two weeks of eating everything in sight she needed to clamp down on her diet. And she couldn’t because her stomach was a ravenous hole, which probably meant that at any time her period was about to start—her second period this month.

Because this morning. Monday morning.

203.6.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:17 PM   #332
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Default Sorry, kid.

Kelly was on the weight bench in the house that afternoon when Jennifer Morrison walked in. Kelly’d seen her in the house a few times since Rules and Regs in her workout gear: neon leggings that heightened the feminine lower curve of her fit chunky thighs--at least until they sought refuge under the blouse of her oversized, also-neon T-shirt, which (mostly) obscured the misplaced bulge of her waistline. The neckline was cut out with a homemade, jagged (though fashionable) edge so that her neckline, chest and substantial cleavage were emphasized, boobs just only contained by a (again) neon-fringed black sports bra and a taut spaghetti-strap tank. It all looked great. Say what you wanted about Jennifer's appearance, but the girl had style.

The actual color of the neon for these outfits varied with the day, meaning she had purchased a number of matching outfits for these occasions, as if she were serious enough about her workouts that she needed (and could afford) an entire wardrobe for them.

And maybe she was.

Kelly meanwhile was still in her letter sweater and leggings, with cut-off sweat shorts stretched across her wide ass for the sake of decency. She had no kind of exercise bra that even close to fit. She did it all each day in whatever increasingly snug underwire bra for as long as she could stand. Not that today that was much of a question: with the red storm on the horizon, cardio was out of the question (maybe running would bring it on, maybe not, but it sure always felt like it would), so who needed a sports bra anyway?

She was all thrown together as it had suddenly occurred to her in her life that she should work out once in a while. Maybe. And so Kelly looked the part of the insecure newbie in her own gym, while Jennifer looked like she owned it. It was the first time she’d ever looked at Jennifer and felt threatened.

“Hey, Kelly!” she waved with her characteristic aggressive friendliness. “I thought I might finally run into you here.” She was pulling her thick hair back into a bun and preparing to jump on the elliptical. “I thought a lot about what you told us and decided it made a lot of sense. So here I am!”

Kelly hadn’t stopped doing leg presses while Jennifer spoke. She let down the weights with a gentle click. “That’s great! Say what you want about me, but at least I practice what I preach.”

“Yeah you do. You’re like a machine.” Jennifer turned on the elliptical and started a slow workout.

Rookie. “Yeah, well, you have to keep at it.” As if to underscore the point, Kelly began another set of leg presses.

“I do! I’m really serious about it,” she said, her voice quivering already with the effort of each weighted stride. “I’m already down three pounds!”

She said it with such optimism and pride! Looking at her, Kelly certainly couldn’t tell any difference.

Is that what people think about me when I say stuff like that?

“You go, girl!” Kelly strained to say it, since for some reason she seemed to be pushing a few pumps more out of this stack than she normally would have attempted. She gassed out after four more reps and this time let the stack down with a crash.

“Whew!”

Jennifer probably heard none of it: she was already perspiring and focused on her workout, oblivious to her surroundings thanks to Dr. Dre’s Beats.

Kelly made that odd duck walk people make when shuffling to their feet with a weight bench between their knees, then made like she was wiping away sweat from her brow. There wasn’t any: she hadn’t been there that long. But it had occurred to her that the two Phi Gamma fat girls were alone in the gym at the same time, and that image wouldn’t be good for either of them.

And, conversation with Jennifer always felt like a power struggle.

Nevertheless Kelly knew not to skip her easy post-weights cool down on the treadmill. She put Jennifer's and her own frumpiness out of her mind and put that image of her future out in front of the treadmill again—though this time it was an image just as easy as her gait. Where everything could return to normal, where she never had to face expulsion from the university, or ostracizing from the girls, or to fight through financial worries, where she could go back to just enjoying being Phi Gamma again. It was all in her reach.

She waved back to a struggling Jennifer on the way out the door and started toward the stairs, then jumped in surprise as someone flagged her down.

“Kelly!”

Kelly’s heart pounded far faster than it had ever beat during her workout, stepping back just in time to not run into Brittney Shore, who was standing at the bottom of the stairs next to the bathroom.

“Oh, hey. Sorry. didn’t mean to startle you. I thought I might find you here.”

You and everyone else, apparently.

“Hey, Brittney! You just ‘bout scared the pee out of me!” For all her efforts at sophistication, sometimes the rural South just spilled right out of Kelly.

“Good thing the bathroom’s right there.”

“Hunh? Oh, yeah. Hey, that’s funny!” Kelly still had to catch her breath. She placed her hand on her bosom in that gesture somehow meant to slow down the heart, which of course it never did. “Speaking of which, that thing you did to Elektra...”

Brittney looked at her quizzically.

“...the tea party, that was first rate funny.”

“Oh, yeah. Rush. What was really funny was how she handled it. She’s a riot.”

“No kidding! And she told me about what you made her do at Rules and Regs, too. Funny!”

Brittney got that quizzical look again. “What did I make her do at Rules and Regs?”

“You know, the Rules and Regs I led that one night, where she gave me such a hard time.”

“Um, I didn’t tell her to do anything at Rules and Regs.”

“Of course you did! You don’t remember?”

“No, really, I didn’t. I didn’t even find out about Rules and Regs until later.”

“Oh.” Yeah, that Elektra. She’s a riot. Stinker!!

“So, hey, uh,” she looked each way down the hall, up the stairs and behind them toward the grand entrance. “Speaking of that....”

She had a serious look on her face and Kelly’s pounding heart dropped into her stomach. Whatever was coming, it wasn’t good.

“We, uh, the Executive Council just finished a meeting, and I’m supposed to give you this.”

Kelly noticed for the first time a sealed envelope embossed with Phi Gamma’s insignia in Brittney’s hand. She handed it over to Kelly then reached her long arm around Kelly’s shoulders.

“You have a really good heart, girl. I mean it. You’ve always been one of my favorites.”

“What is it?”

“It’s—“ She stopped almost as if she’d choked up a bit. Or maybe she was miffed. You couldn’t always tell with Brittney. “You’re just gonna have to read it.”

She squeezed Kelly tight into the crook of her arm, then started her escape up the stairs.

“Sorry, kid.”
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