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Artist and Model, or Kelly's Body Upgrade

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Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2005
~BBW,~SWG. A supermarket worker becomes an artist’s lover and model, and finds the numbers on the scales changing …

Artist and Model, or Kelly’s Body Upgrade​

by Swordfish


A cold day as usual, though it was warm in the art room. Just as well, for this was Kelly’s night to be the naked life model. Nerves crawled over her as she stripped. Why had she volunteered? She could have remained one of the evening class, sitting before paper and pencil, drawing the results of someone else exposing themselves. Instead, on a whim, she’d accepted the instructor’s invitation. Perched on a chair, told to look thoughtful, she lowered her head slightly and cast an eye on her own physique. At least, she thought, there was nothing to be ashamed of: a trim tummy, modest thighs, the clean lines of a body still bearing the marks of the regular athlete she’d been at school.

Now she was 25: further enough along in life, she felt, to be more advanced in a career than she was. She’d attended college, but the courses she’d followed – art history, geography, fashion and design – hadn’t coalesced into meaningful employment. With student loans round her neck she’d had to find work at the local supermarket, stacking shelves, manning the checkouts. Wanting a wider horizon, she’d begun to take classes at London Metropolitan University. Drawing lessons by themselves didn’t point toward obvious employment. But they flexed her artistic muscles; she liked to observe, and learn. And here she was, naked on a chair.

Following the advice of the instructor, Guy, she adopted what she hoped was a pensive look, eyes cast down toward her thighs. With space to think, she wondered if her waist measurement was still at its regular 29 inches. It looked like it, she decided: not like some of the waists she’d been sketching in the class. After that her mind idled along and almost blanked out.

Job done after half an hour, Kelly snapped out of her comatose state. “How do you feel?” Guy whispered with one of his trademark smiles.

“A bit stiff, but – yes, it was fine!” Clothes back on, she took a quick tour of the class’s results. Sometimes she didn’t recognise herself at all, even though the proportions seemed about right. The best drawings achieved, she thought, just a vague resemblance. It was a difficult art, she knew that.

Afterwards, Guy suggested coffee at the university café. She accepted readily: she liked his smile, his sandy hair and piercing blue eyes, and had always wanted to please him in class. Apparently he had a reputation as an up and coming artist, though the class’s opinion was that if he was teaching evening classes at London Metropolitan he couldn’t have come up very far. In his early 30s, his work had appeared in a few gallery shows of portraits and landscapes. They’d been criticised by some as excessively old-fashioned, too straightforwardly representational. Kelly didn’t mind: she went to his classes to acquire technique and deepen her understanding of what made the old masters tick.

She asked what he thought of the class’s endeavours. “Patchy. Some I think caught you rather well.” He considered her face: the sweet turned-up nose, the brown eyes, slightly olive colouring, the unruly short brown hair with a reddish tinge. “Actually I don’t think you’re the easiest person to draw. There’s not very much of you. You’re quite –“ he searched for a word that couldn’t be taken as a criticism – “well, lightweight.”

She thought of the number she always encountered when she stood on her flatmate’s bathroom scales. 115 lbs. “I guess am I. Some of them did make me look rather bony.”

“Perhaps you should have a slice of cake?”

An infectious laugh filled her throat. “I’m not malnourished, you know! Not thanks, I’m fine.” The talk then drifted to other things.

Afterwards, she kept thinking about Guy. She hadn’t any current attachments, and he had something, she decided; certainly reasonable good looks, like Brad Pitt on an off day. She was curious about him, his work, his life; she also found herself getting interested in his physique. Emotions were being stirred, as they were with Guy. He liked her eyes, her hair, her personality, her laugh, the way she carried her medium-sized frame. The only drawback was that she was thin. He loved the spectacle of nature changing, flowers blossoming, fruit ripening, women too. To him every woman improved their allure when they gained weight. The one exception was John Travolta, and he wasn’t a woman.

Over the next weeks they had other coffee meetings. Guy showed Kelly his apartment, on the top floor of a rambling Victorian building that had seen better days. Drawings lay in portfolios; a few paintings dotted the walls. Most were exquisitely rendered portraits of women, whom he regarded, he said, as God’s most beautiful creation. “What are the runners up?” she asked. Guy thought for a minute. “Trees. I like trees. And marmalade.”

In return, she gave him the supermarket tour. He showed interest in everything, and lined up at the checkout with bin liners, coffee, and a carton of milk. She looked into his basket with a cheeky grin. “No marmalade?” “Got some already,” he said, and he knew right then that he wanted to take Kelly home permanently.

Two week later, with classes finished, she began stopping over at his apartment, keeping a few personal things in his bathroom. A month after that, Guy suggested she move in, and also suggested she leave her job. Manning checkouts, he told her, just paid some bills, but if she worked for him she could widen her horizons. He needed a part-time assistant, he said, to order his messy life and prepare for a new course he was going to teach, this time at somewhere prestigious. “You could also be an artist’s model,” he added. “You know how you like to pose.”

“I’ve heard about artist’s models. Some of them enjoyed rather personal relationships with their employers.”

“You enjoy that anyway, don’t you?” He kissed her on the forehead.

Family and friends were bemused when she told them she was leaving her job. “Give up steady work for what?” said her working-class parents in the north. “Wwhat exactly would you be doing?” said her flatmate Angie, a fellow supermarket slave. She could only offer vague replies and talk about an opportunity too good to miss.

That wasn’t enough for Angie. “But the money, Kelly, the money! I googled your man, this Guy Miller. He won second prize in some competition with a painting of people in a bus queue. The second prize, Kelly, not the first. And a bus queue.”

“That was an early work. He’s moved on since then. It’s more intimate portraiture now.”

“I assume he’ll be painting you . . .”

“Maybe. Probably.”

But it wasn’t a painting. It was a charcoal sketch, quickly executed as she sat naked on the edge of his bed – their bed now. Her hair was tousled, her body taut, her breasts petite, her look a mix of longing and anxiety. Kelly was tickled by Guy’s homage and amazed at his speed and confidence. Charcoal lines couldn’t be hesitant; no fumbling, no rubbing out. Your marks had to be decisive, like the cuts of a knife.

The work he had supposedly hired her to do couldn’t be called onerous. He showed her the materials he needed and where she could buy them. She undertook some internet research, gathering images for his classes. But most time seemed to be spent in bed, at an art gallery or museums, or round a table drinking and eating. They kept returning to the National Gallery, where Guy encouraged Kelly’s appreciation of colour, design and depictions of the human form. The Gallery café always followed. When Guy suggested cake again at first she gave her stock reaction. But a slice of gateau quickly became the regular accompaniment to a cup of coffee as they sat outside in the spring sunshine talking about art and this and that, including pigeons. “Have you noticed,” Guy said one time, “how pigeons only bother chubby girls?” He was looking across to a nearby table where teenage tourists, well-upholstered, were brushing away one of the scavengers.

“Don’t be daft! They bother everyone.”

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But they’re not bothering us.” He peered more closely. “I think it’s the sprinkled sugar from those girls’ doughnuts. It attracts them.”

Her brow furrowed. “Wouldn’t chubby girls eat all the sugar as well?”

“It falls off in their rush to have the next bite. They don’t notice. But the pigeons do. Wasps are exactly the same.”

She looked at the pigeons, then looked at Guy. ”This is about the silliest conversation I’ve ever had.”

Her new life whirled ahead. She was surprised how busy and idle she could be at the same time. Evenings brought exhibition openings, restaurant visits, or Guy’s home cooking, or time on the sofa in front of the TV.
After all that, sex, sleep, and the dawning of another day. Kelly went with the flow, happy and relaxed: after the supermarket this was paradise.

She wasn’t even upset after a few weeks when she noticed as she slipped on her panties that she was gaining a little weight. Her tummy had softened slightly, just enough to give the rim of the panties something to dig into. The reason wasn’t hard to find: cakes, drinks, increased calories. Standing on the bathroom scales she’d only just noticed under the sink, she found the needle settled at 119. She had put on four pounds. The body, she told herself, was just making a small adjustment. Nothing to be concerned about. She also convinced herself that the extra weight was only visible to herself. Tucked away behind clothes, who could possibly notice a little tummy fat? Guy hadn’t said anything, she reasoned, and he saw her naked every day.

Her new life continued. Some work. Gallery trawling. Eating. He sketched her in charcoal. She sketched him, though she felt embarrassed by the results. “I’ve made you look like a carrot! There’s no character there.” “Everything comes with time,” he said gently, giving her waist a squeeze. He’d begun to do that more often. “I hope so,” she said.

After six weeks of living in a cocoon, she felt the time was right to reconnect with old friends. She met
Angie for early evening gossip and a drink at their old local pub. “Well look at you!” Angie called out as Kelly came in, a little late. “You’re looking very bohemian! Has he done an oil painting of you yet? What’s been happening? Tell, tell, tell!” Kelly breezed through the daily routine.

“And you model for him?”

“I model.”

“With or without clothes?”

“Mostly without.”

“You couldn’t do that in the supermarket, especially near the frozen foods. But what about the evenings?”

Kelly shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, ordinary things. Watching some TV. Eating. We have long meals.”

“I can see that.” She peered at her with slightly narrowed eyes. “ You’ve put on a bit of weight!”

Angie’s tone wasn’t censorious; even so, Kelly felt as if she’d had been stabbed through the heart. No-one had ever told her that before, not in her adult life. She felt overcome with guilt. “Oh, just a few pounds,” she said, trying to be offhand. “It shows, then, does it?”

“Well, your face looks fuller. Maybe your waist too?”

She looked down toward her midriff, pressured by the top of her jeans into a squeezed into a slight bulge, outlined under her blouse. “I see I can hide nothing from you!”

“Nothing to worry about, though, is it? Just a little body upgrade.”

“Yes, that’s it. A body upgrade.” She liked that description – it sounded positive. But she still engineered the talk toward other things, like Angie’s love life (always in turmoil). And underneath Kelly continued to feel bruised.

Guy was waiting when she came back: they had planned to go to an Argentinean restaurant, recently opened nearby. Hearty food, Guy had promised; sides of beef, generous desserts. Kelly didn’t feel in the mood, especially after she stood on the scales. Four extra pounds had become over seven. But she wouldn’t abort their plans. She’d just not eat very much.

The El Gaucho menu came in the shape of a cow. “That’s being honest, at any rate,” said Guy. “It’s lucky you’re not a vegetarian.”

“You know,” Kelly said, casting her eye over the main meals, “I’m not feeling that hungry tonight. Maybe I’ll just have a salad.”

“You’re not sickening for something, are you?”

“It’s not that.” Lowering her eyes shyly, she ran a hand over her midriff. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been gaining a few pounds. Seven, actually, in six weeks! Angie could tell right away. It’s all this food, Guy. My body’s not used to it. Maybe I should go easy for a bit. Can you see any difference?”

He’d been expecting this conversation. First his eyes had spotted extra flesh around her face, covering up some of her cheekbones. Then he’d caught her waistline as she’d sat naked on the bed, her softer tummy divided at the belly button by a shallow horizontal crease. He’d looked, enjoyed, and said nothing. Now the time had come.

His voice was tender. “Since you’re asking, yes, I can tell you’ve gained a little. But believe me, there’s nothing bad about it. You look really good. I always thought you needed a little extra flesh.”

She winced inside. “But it’s different for a woman, Guy. A man can put on weight and it doesn’t matter. Women’s bodies are different, and there’s all this pressure to stay slim. I could tell I was gaining a few weeks ago, but it still really hit me when Angie told me to my face. She could see it in my face too. I thought it was all lower down.”

Guy could see the waiter hovering and judiciously waved him away. This was an intimate conversation. “It’s all to the good, Kelly. A little roundness in the cheeks. A slight curve on your tummy. These things help make women beautiful. Hasn’t art history told you that?”

Kelly tried to smile, but it wasn’t coming. “But I’m not a woman on a canvas, and these jeans are already getting tight. One more meal and I might have to leave this top button undone.”

“You know, I’d find that very sexy.”

“I’m sure you would. Anyway, that’s why I’m looking for a salad.”

He didn’t argue further. She ordered a chicken salad and tried not to notice Guy’s beef topside, with chunky chips and a rich gravy. To appease the hole she felt in her stomach, she had a few of Guy’s chips. She also had two scoops of ice cream, not the Argentine bread pudding with caramel sauce, but still a dessert. “How are those jeans doing?” Guy said after she’d taken her last lick. She felt the waistband. “OK, just about.”

He reached for her hand and kissed it courteously. “Coffee?”



Summer started with depressingly low temperatures. Leaden grey skies; the sun barely peeking through. Kelly had planned to take more exercise and walk in the parks, but the weather wasn’t encouraging. She still ate salads, undertook mild gymnastics, and began to see some of her tummy recede. More definition appeared in her face. She felt virtuous as she fought off the temptations of food. She was getting back to normal! True, dieting wasn’t fun, but she told herself that you can’t have everything in life. Guy kept his patience, suspecting that Kelly’s exertion of willpower wouldn’t last.

And he was right. As soon as warmer weather arrived she started to rest on her achievement and began to say yes rather than no: yes to the exotic ice cream, yes to the slice of cake, the second helping, the chocolate biscuits. Small things, really, she told herself; the important thing was to take them in moderation, then everything would still be OK. But small things consistently taken still produce a noticeable effect. The weight she’d lost began to creep back – something she mutely accepted as she ran her hands over her tummy in the shower, or found herself feeling snug again in her clothes. What she blocked her mind to as much as she could was the fact that the pounds were creeping into new territory, spreading enough to begin building real tummy podge, soft and bulging, and start thickening her hips. To foster emotional tranquillity she pushed the bathroom scales further under the sink, out of sight and, she hoped, out of mind.

Guy didn’t want to do anything to rock the boat, both as lover and artist. As her weight increased there were details he was anxious to pin down on canvas, like the new quick-moving little creases that were starting to appear as she twisted her body this way and that. But for the moment he avoided nude modelling. The face alone gave him plenty to work with: the cheeks rounding noticeably when she smiled, the extra flesh starting to settle round her jaw. He also wanted to show the vulnerability of an attractive woman gaining weight as an adult for the first time. He’d already spotted some physical signs: the idle hand gauging the depth of her midriff fat, a finger exploring under her chin. But to convey her vulnerability through the cast of her head, the look in her eyes: that was his challenge and goal.

When he felt Kelly was getting more used to having a softer body, he began encouraging her to show a little more flesh in the modelling sessions. One day she posed in singlet and shorts, as if ready for a game of tennis. Her tummy stayed covered, but arms were bared, along with legs and a good bit of thigh. “Imagine you’re resting between sets,” he said.

Kelly looked amused. “Is this a match I’m going to win? I’ve never played tennis in my life.”

“Of course you win! You win everything.”

Guy quickly established the pose’s outline, but slowed to a crawl pencilling in details like the singlet’s tight fit and the texture of her exposed flesh. Eventually he came to a halt, much to Kelly’s relief. Her joints seemed to have stiffened up.

“What do you think?” Guy said after she’d stretched her limbs. She surveyed the drawing and pursed her lips. She knew Guy’s pencils didn’t lie. “I’m looking chunkier, aren’t I? Like someone who’s eaten too many ice creams.”

“You have been gaining some weight, it’s true. But I’d rather say you look healthy, not chunky.”

“Maybe I should really play tennis. It would be good exercise.”

“Don’t you dare! I love you just as you are.”

“Even this tummy bulge?”

“Especially your tummy bulge.” He stood up and embraced her, cherishing every pound. Just then her empty stomach let out a gurgle. Breakfast was a long time ago.

“I’ve got to have food,” Kelly cried, “quick!”

Over the summer, long and fairly hot, her feelings about her herself and her body kept fluctuating. There were days when she felt comfortable with her extra pounds. There were also days when she felt silted up, weighed down, and nursed pangs of guilt over losing the super-trim figure that had long been part of her identity. At the same time, embarking on a diet again never occurred to her. It was as if she regarded life as purely the workings of fate: whatever happened, happened. So she ate, she indulged, she felt pleasure and remorse, and one day, reluctantly, she took some of her jeans and slacks to a charity shop and bought others in bigger sizes. It seemed like the end of an era.

All the while as the weeks passed she grew increasingly conscious of a cloud on the horizon. It was the duty trip up north to see her parents – something she’d long been putting off. They’d immediately see the difference in her looks. But it wasn’t just that. She knew they didn’t approve of Guy and her new way of life. What they wanted for her was a conventional job, steady money coming in. Besides, the trip meant a weekend in Grantham, a place which had recently won second prize in an online competition to find Britain’s most boring town. All Kelly could look forward to, she felt, was two days of sitting round the kitchen table being criticised .

It turned out better than expected. “We thought you might be skin and bone, living with Guy. You know what artists are,” said her mother said once they sat down and had tea. “But you’re looking very well. Looking rounder, too. That’s a surprise!”

Kelly shifted a little in her seat. “I’ve put on a bit of weight, I know.”

“Well, it shows that Guy is looking after you. That’s good, isn’t it? You’re obviously getting enough to eat.”

The cakes, ice creams, and pasta dishes passed before her mind’s eye. “Oh yes, no problem there.” She rubbed a hand over her tummy. “It’s probably time I went on a diet.”

“Rubbish,” said her mother, “you look fine to me. Doesn’t she, dad?”


Kelly smiled cautiously. To have her gain pointed out still caused some embarrassment. But to be told by her parents that she looked well, even “cracking’: that was a comfort.

“We’re having Lancashire hotpot tonight. I thought you’d probably need something solid.”

The framework for the weekend was set. Delighted to have a daughter with an appetite, her mother kept pushing food at her, second helpings and all. Kelly didn’t want every mouthful – the food was stodgy, old-fashioned, not what she’d become used it. But she didn’t want to spoil her mother’s pleasure at being the family provider again. “I must have put on another pound already,” she muttered to herself the next morning, eyeing her midriff as she dressed.

Along the way they quizzed her about her life with Guy, and tried to probe his finances. “He earns money, don’t worry. He teaches. He sells things. He writes the odd article. We get by fine.” They appeared moderately pacified.

“You look really happy,” her mother said as they said goodbye at the train station on Sunday. Kelly’s grin emphasised the flesh on her cheeks. Back in the car, ignition key just switched on, her mother muttered in a confiding tone: “She’s certainly been eating, hasn’t she? I wonder how much she’s put on.”

Her father’s brow furrowed. “Fifteen pounds? Twenty?” Then he checked the wing mirrors.

Kelly settled into her seat as the train started its journey south. The ordeal of a weekend, she mused, hadn’t been much of an ordeal at all. Her parents accepted her living with Guy. She’d been told she looked well. With the train picking up speed she found her eyes drifting toward the woman sitting opposite, reading a magazine. About her age, she thought. She had a tummy of her own, spilling onto her lap. It didn’t seem to bother her. Kelly also scrutinised her companion’s face. The hint of a double chin. Soft cheeks, only a little fuller than the ones she saw when she looked in the mirror herself. Kelly wondered what the best words were to describe her companion. Chubby? Not really. Certainly not fat. Healthy, the word Guy kept using: maybe that’s what this person was, healthy and normal. Didn’t women need fat stored in reserve, for pregnancy and so on? Guy, she decided, had been right all along. She’d been underweight for years, and was now simply getting the figure nature had always intended.

Visiting the buffet car later, Kelly came back with coffee and a big chocolate muffin. Her travelling companion looked up from her magazine and smiled. “Join the club,” the smile said; “We like our food.”


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