Don't Mind If I Do (~BBW, ~BHM, ~XWG, ~Fantasy, ~Sex, ~Shakespeare)

Discussion in 'Fantasy/Science Fiction Archive' started by JimBob, Apr 17, 2014.

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  1. Apr 17, 2014 #1

    JimBob

    JimBob

    JimBob

    Wondering Where You Are

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    The people of spoken, and so I present the over-sized sequel to One More Couldn’t Hurt. Well, “sequel” is a bit of a stretch…it’s a story in the same universe, at least. The theme of that one was youthful excess; the theme of this is wise moderation.

    Sort-of.


    Don’t Mind If I Do

    “Richardson never rollicked or slobbered or staggered: It was not a sweaty fat man, but a dry and dignified one. As the great belly moved, step following step with great finesse lest it overtopple, the arms flapped fussily at the sides as if to paddle the body's bulk along. It was deliciously and subtly funny, not riotously so.”

    - Kenneth Tynan, reviewing Ralph Richardson as Falstaff in Henry IV at the Old Vic

    Act I (of III): A New Show, A New Lovah

    “A gift, for my sweetest of sweethearts,” he slurs, his fifth champagne sliding between the words as they left his mouth.

    Jess Cinnamon wrinkles her nose a little bit, not in disgust but in curiosity; the box being proffered by her drunken guest seems to carry in it a little sniff of heaven. John Kemp, though the most devilish of agents and well-deserving of his nickname “Smooth-Talking Jack”, is not known to skimp out on gift-giving duty. Tentatively she begins to open the lid, only for him to snap it down again, just barely stopping him from doing her an injury.

    “For the love of - I mean, Jack, you clumsy beast!” she replies, the shock nearly undoing two years of elocution lessons and letting her built-in Yorkshire accent emerge in full view of her public. “You could have cut my finger off at the tip.”

    Clumsily, he bows before her, his stick-insect-like figure assaying a few dramatic gestures while keeping the box fairly balanced. “Forgive me, my dear,” he says, “But this is a gift to be savoured in private, not amongst this rabble.” His hand sweeps languorously across the room, taking in the various denizens of the London stage world, many of whom glare or shake their heads at him - actors, directors, critics and the fellow agents who’d have his throat if they let him.

    “What’s a drunken man like, fool?” she smiles, taking both his box and his champagne-flute as he staggers back to the upright position. It’s from “Twelfth Night”, and it’s been their game ever since they were school-yard friends, to quote the Bard at each other relentlessly.

    “Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman”, he recites from the heart. “One draught above heat makes him a fool, the second mads him, and a third drowns him.” He does a little funny impression of the different stages, before his old friend Anthony catches him and begins to drag him away. Jess' own companion, her fiancé Richard, takes her by the arm as she tucks the box away on her bookshelf, innocently shelved between thick volumes of Marlowe and Keats.

    “The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. You, that way, we, this way…” he calls out to her as Anthony shakes his head apologetically.

    “Ever the charmer, Jack,” she calls back.

    “Johnny Depp plays me in the moviiieeee!” he replies as the two men leave the party. She pouts, wishing they could have stayed on; experience tells her it’s not a party without him sticking around to amuse her.

    “Why do you tolerate him?” Richard sighs into her ear, his stubble rubbing her cheek. “I know he’s your old childhood sweetheart, but this happens every time.”

    “Ah, don’t be such a misery-guts,” she replies. “There can’t be a party without Fast-Talking Jack. He brings it with him. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his charisma.”

    Richard shakes his head, but there’s little he can do. It’s her party, in her house. And she got a present and he didn’t, she remembers. Jessica Cinnamon is petty like that, but pettiness comes easy when you’re a star…

    *

    Later, when Richard is showering off the sweat from their latest romp into sexual paradise (that back of his has seemingly no idea when to quit, and his long back hair is eminently grabbable), she leaps up out of the covers, the box suddenly on her mind again. Like a little girl on Christmas morning, she rushes to collect it, her duvet trailing behind her all the way up and down the stairs. Then, kneeling on the bed with the duvet flopped over her head, a one-woman fort, she opens it…quietly.

    Inside, are…five little glass test tubes filled with a powder like Muscovado brown sugar, but finer and dryer and sparkled with gold flecks. And a small label-less container of body butter. Huh, she thinks. It’s not what she was expecting at all. A signed photograph of George Clooney, a cruise around Corfu, maybe even a gold watch, maybe, but…this?

    She tenses. Maybe it’s drugs. Maybe Jack’s finally snapped and he wants to drag her down with him. Maybe things are going south at last…

    Her train of thought hasn’t caught up with her cat-like curiosity, and she’s already dabbed a pinch of the powder onto the back of her hand and licked it up with the tip of her tongue. Not bad…very sweet, though, with an aftertaste of…ah! Cinammon! She laughs a little. Silly Jack, giving her some sort of cinnamon powder as a joke. Probably the body butter is the same flavour, but she doesn’t test it because she’s still laughing, laughing…giggling like a real trooper…like a tiny girl…what in the…a small part of her can only wonder why the hell she’s so happy.

    That same part which hears a near-imperceptible sound, close and yet rooms away…that goes:

    *floomp*

    “Jess?”

    Jess throws off the covers, her eyes streaming, to find Richard looking over her wearing nothing but his bathrobe and a bemused smile. “You’re that drunk, you try to play hide and seek and give yourself away with giggles.”

    “Ih, it’s heeehehhehehee, not that!” she gasps. “Hoo! Whoooph.” she takes in a deep breath, still smiling, and calms herself down. “Jack’s present, look.” she points down, still grinning bemusedly, at the five test-tubes, but Jack’s attention is drawn away.

    “Damn, girl…everything OK with you?”

    “‘Course it is, babe. Why wouldn’t it…” she stiffens, coming down from her momentary high. Yes, there is something…different about her now. She can barely perceptibly feel it, but it’s like…like she’s still got the duvet wrapped around her. Richard takes her hand and leads her to the mirror set into the door of her tall, expensive wardrobe.

    There before her is…a softer girl. A Jess Cinammon had she indulged in one or two more cakes and sweeties when she was a girl, instead of listening to her mother and jumping rope all the time and eating carrot sticks for snacks. There is a little sprig of voluptuousness to her figure now; she’s gone from Rebecca Romijn as Mystique to Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, in the course of a few minutes of hearty laughter.

    “What…did that idiot give you?” Richard asks, his fingers tracing the slightly more supple skin of her hips with wonder. She hopes it’s wonder.

    “Whatever it is, it can wait ’til morning. Right now, I’d say it’s time for round two,” she replies, turning and giving him a long wet snog.

    He nods assent, not breaking the kiss, and leads her back to bed.

    *

    “What the hell, Jack?”

    “My hangover says good morning to you too, luv,” he sighs down the phone. “I personally can’t wait to be rid of the bastard, but at least he’s polite.”

    “WHAT the BLEEDING ‘ELL, JACK?!” she says again, throwing ladylike elocution to the wolves. “What could possibly have possessed you to give me A-Dust as a present?”

    “Oh!” he perks up, possibly because he’s sipped his first coffee of the morning. “So you’ve heard of it, then. I must apologise, my dear Cinammon, I was going to explain to you what it was but I was at a terrible disadvantage at that little party of yours.”

    “What disadvantage would that have been?”

    “As always, I was terribly drunk and all the girls wanted me. I have most of them here now.”

    Jess is about to laugh cynically, but a tediously upbeat American giggle echoes down the line and she realises he was only partly exaggerating. Fast-Talking Jack has done it again.

    “Another Broadway chorus girl, Jack?”

    “It’s a story for the grandkids and another set of incriminating negatives for the album. Advantage: me.” In the background, Jess hears a “Wait, what?” from his latest conquest, followed by the sounds of scuffling and slamming doors. When he comes back to the phone, she’s looking quizzically at the box again.

    “I did my homework, Jack. They call this stuff “Bloom”, because…”

    “It inflates the figure as they get high, yes I know.”

    “Is it possible to be allergic to it? I tasted some and got a giggle-fit, and then…”

    “As adorable as that sounds, that’s not an immune response. You’ve just been getting a dose cut with powdered food supplement designed to replicate the flavour of cinnamon.”

    She smiles a little, though angrily adding “That your idea of a joke?”

    “My dear sweetest of sweeties!” she can practically see him holding onto his heart with indignation. “As if I could ever poke fun at you. It’s a gift, I tell you, a career-enhancing gift. I trust you found the cream in the box as well?”

    “Yup. What, making me a puffed-up junkie isn’t enough, I have to have gorgeous-looking skin for the paparazzi?”

    “Not at all. The science boffin I got off this owed me a few for a bong he bought off me at Glastonbury ’98. Or ’94, I can’t remember. But he threw in the cream ‘cos he’s a fan of yours. It’s laced with a well-developed enzyme that works with the Bloom. He called it Sponge, ‘cos that’s how it works.”

    “So what you think you just explained to me, is…”

    “You got it. Smear some of that Sponge cream on your bum, sniff some Bloom dust, and you’ll be pear-shaped after an hour of giggling, adorable bliss. Rub it on your tummy and the hippies down the road’ll be rubbing it too, for good luck. Add a dab on your cheeks and you can audition for the role of “Babyface” Nelson. And as for your chest…”

    “I get, I get it, Jesus.”

    “Don’t call me Jesus. I’d like to think I’m worth more than thirty pieces of silver.”

    “So, what, your big break for me in acting is to get me to wear a…” she shudders to say the dreaded f-word. “A ‘bigger person’ suit, only without the suit? You’re really going around the bend, Jack, you know - “

    “You got the RSC gig.”

    Her heart stops for only a second longer than she stops talking. “I…what?”

    “Thought I’d soften the blow with my present, if you’ll excuse the pun. I know how you handle good news.” He knows her well; a tear is already winding its way down her cheek. “But, yes, my dear - you got the role of Titania in that all-female production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There’s a catch, though…” his voice takes on that serious tone that she’s grown used to over the years. The one where he’s trying to behave serious, but comes off as an overdramatic arse who was wise to have quit drama school early. “Which is why I gave you the Cinnamon Bloom-Dust. The director wants you…bigger.”

    “What? No way! That’s…I mean, I couldn’t possibly be expected to. I have a career to think of.”

    “Oh come on, Jess. I’m not saying you have to consider starting a career in Opera afterward. We both read our Shakespeare, and we both know Will wasn’t as good at the spelling as he was at the raunchy insults. Titania translates to “Land of Giants” - it’s Tatiana that means “Fairy Queen”. So our director is taking that literally. He wants you towering over your fairy king, dwarfing him in every proportion. Let the audience really know what he’s missing when she spurns him. Get Bottom looking at…”

    “Don’t say it,” she hisses, seeing it coming a mile away.

    “…At your…bottom.”

    “Great. So, let’s review my choices: turn away the part I’ve been dreaming of ever since Mum drunkenly told me I was going to be an actress or I wasn’t her daughter anymore, orrrrr I take an illegal, experimental drug in controlled doses to turn myself into a Rubens painting.”

    There is silence from the other end, as Fast-Talking Jack tries to smother a quick chuckle.

    “She was a scary woman, Jess.”

    “Well, let’s hope five feet of earth and a bloody great expensive tombstone can hold her. There’s no way I can wriggle out of this, is there?”

    “If I were you, I’d be taking the Bloom right now while groping three tanned Calvin Klein models off the back of a solid diamond yacht, and then it would sink and we would all die, in a frenzy of weird ecstasy. But it’s entirely in your hands. Let me know when you’ve made your mind up.”

    He hangs up before she can reply, leaving her staring quietly at the test tube of sparkling dust in the brilliant sunlight of a London June morning.

    *

    Months pass. Jess does some more of this ‘homework’ she’s mentioned, in-between preparing for the part. She finds that no-one really knows the exact chemical composition or origins of “A-Dust”, to the point of it becoming the cornerstone of a cult. Some people say it was left by aliens trying desperately to take advantage of humans by making them crazily hedonistic.

    But that doesn’t gel with the FDA science trials released last June in the USA. The say - weirdly enough - that it isn’t addictive. Sure, they say, it has some adverse side-effects when people crave the same high over and over - the people who take the A-Dust with shrinking properties are particularly susceptible - but people aren’t coming back for more and more on street corners, which is why it has to be custom-made. It has no more of a latch on you than sugar.

    “And we all know sugar makes people fat,” says the FDA chief in a video report she watches on her lunch break, “if you eat too much. That’s the definition of ‘too much’, people. I can’t stress that enough. The most adverse effects of A-Dust Bloom, for instance, are just getting too round to move; and we have surgery to fix that.

    “These are not addictive substances. But they are untested, undeveloped and uncontrolled substances, which is why FDA officers are still required to arrest you for carrying them. Don’t get caught with Alice Dust, kids. Five years in jail ain’t worth it.”

    “Whatcha watchin’, Babe?” asks Richard dully, returning from the gym.

    “Oh, nothing…” she replies, closing her laptop and picking up her dog-eared copy of An Actor Prepares. She’s getting tired of dating Richard these days, and hopes there’ll be someone cute to dally around with at the set in Stratford. She hasn’t had a nice young stagehand over for tea in ages.

    She reflects on how predatory that makes her sound, in her own head, for about twenty seconds before starting her vocal exercises for the day.

    *

    Stratford has arrived - or rather, Jess Cinnamon arrives in it, with Jack waiting to meet her at the station the week rehearsals begin. “Cinnamon, my love, always so glad to see you,” he coos, taking her suitcase in hand and pecking her on the cheek. He’s grown a Johnny Depp mustache and beard, that don’t entirely suit him, but they’re a cute look anyhow.

    "No Richard?" he asks, looking around suspiciously.

    "Nah, I let him go. 'If you love something, set it free, blah de blah blah '", she recites in a sing-song voice. He smirks back at her. "One day I'll write a book about acting for women, and Chapter 5 will be entitled 'A New Show, A New Lovah'."

    "I heard the 'h' in that pronunciation, you shameless hussy."

    The town of Stratford is well-renowned for its most famous son, Will Shaxberd, and also somewhat for his wife Anne Hathaway, who received his second-best bed in his will. The place crawls with theme shops, pubs and performers, and the river Avon flows pleasantly through it in certain places. As Jess is driven to the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theatre, she reflects that this might be the perfect place to settle down if she ever retires.

    She sniffs a little. Once upon a time, that 'if ' might have been a 'when'. Ah well...

    "You've been using the Bloom, then, I take it?" remarks Fast-Talking Jack over his shoulder.

    "How could you tell?" she says absently, though she finds herself suddenly terribly conscious of how comfy her 'back seat' is on the car's...back seat. She's used perhaps a tablespoon of the stuff since receiving it, ever cautious of doing something that could never be undone. Besides, it wouldn't do to be giggling all through her line-learning.

    "Ha bloody ha, love, but you'll have to do better than that if you want to impress Camillo. You know him by reputation, but he's even more demanding in-person."

    So our poor Ms. Cinnamon finds when she's led to the rehearsal space, there to be met by Mr. John Camillo, Director of this year's production, who resembles a bulkier Pete Postlethwaite. Grasping her by the hand, he assures her he's greatly looking forward to working with her, then eyes her belly. "Eating well, I trust?" he murmurs confidentially.

    Jess blushes with indignation at such a sensitive question - as well as Mr. Camillo's gaze being drawn to such an innocuous area of her body - but Jack pats her on the shoulder and stage-whispers "Show must go on," before exiting stage left. She assumes her most beatific of sincere-looking smiles.

    "Certainly I am, Mr. Camillo. I'm sure we'll be able to guarantee a memorable production, and I intend to do my bit for it."

    "Atta girl," he says, and suddenly all is normal and non-harrassment-esque again. Over the next few hours Jess is introduced to the principle cast, as well as the extras, all of whom are completely lovely and supportive. Set-designers and choreographers make sure to block in a part of her schedule, and the costume designer makes sure to keep plenty of material for her costume - they're going with an earthy feel, so that in scenes involving the Lovers and Mechanicals Titania can become mistaken for a mighty tree.

    Finally, she does dialogue rehearsals with her two 'lovers' - Oberon King of the Fairies and Bottom the Weaver, who later wears the head of an Ass. Oberon is played by Nick Ross, a well-spoken bearded gentleman, and Bottom by Henry Elbow, a shy young lad of 22 who comes alive in his performance, drawing on wild gestures and lewd body language.

    Jess is all dignity and grace, really sinking herself into the role. But of course, inside she's bubbling with joy. Never has she wanted to be anywhere else, so much.

    *

    That night, going over her actions and gestures in front of a mirror in her new flat, she notices how much her track suit bottoms seem to be hanging off her figure. She bought them, she reflects, one size too big...in fact, since accepting the inevitability of this new development in her life, she's splashed out on an entire wardrobe of loose-fitting, stretchy-material garments, knowing she can't be in costume all the time.

    She hugs herself, looking in the mirror at the barely perceptible suppleness of her skin and the slight roundness of her face. This wasn't so bad, right? And of she's going to commit , she might as well commit now...

    Quickly she marched over to the kitchen area and puts the kettle on. While it brews, she takes not one, not two, but four heaped teaspoonfuls of Cinnamon Bloom and mixes it delicately into her sugar-bowl. That should last her until final performance, and it'll be easier to get used to in doses rather than all-in-one-go.

    As the coffe brews in her mug, she takes care to smear the proper areas with the "Sponge Cream", reflecting fondly on Fast-Talking Jack's penchant for terrible nicknames. A miniscule dab on her face to keep her innocent and doll-like; a good dollop on her chest area, arms, thighs, rear end...and only a little for her tummy, despite Mr. Camillo seeming to think that so essential. She can't let herself be completely led by him, after all.

    The coffee is imbued with a fine sweet flavour that tingles in her nostrils and makes her nose wrinkle. She waits for it to cool, sips...drinks...gulps. Utters an in-ladylike belch, reflecting that gulping might not be the best course of action.

    "Then I must be thy lady," she begins to recite from memory , "
    but I know/When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,/Ah - ah, ha, ha, and in the shape of Corin sat all day/Playing on eeeeeeheeheehee, puh- puh- pipes of corn and versing love/To amorous Phillida.
    "

    *floomp*

    She stumbles, half-drunk on a caffeine and sugar high, back towards her bedroom, suddenly amorous and full of dreamy relaxation, and very much needing to be naked. She catches a sight of herself in the full-length mirror, and...

    She gasps a little, and giggles. She hefts a swollen breast in one hand, feels her more malleable tummy with an unexpected delight. Her body is grown by only a few pounds, barely three or five, but the effect is noticeable, and she has begun to take on a solid apple shape. Even her suddenly puffier face is adorable.

    "Why art thou here," she whispers,"Come from the farthest Steppe of India?"

    She skips merrily into the bedroom, looking for the little bag in which she keeps her 'helpers' for bored and lonely nights, next to a store of batteries, and can't help but keep reciting as she flops down on the soft double bed:

    "But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,/Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love..."


    End of Act I
     
  2. Apr 17, 2014 #2

    JimBob

    JimBob

    JimBob

    Wondering Where You Are

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    Act II (of III): The Bottom Line

    Four weeks into rehearsal and a month before opening night, Jess Cinnamon seduces Antonio, the stage-hand with red hair and seemingly no long-sleeved shirts. He's got an innocent sense to him, and she likes that.

    She's really growing into the part now, and her occasional brunches with Fast-Talking Jack on weekends allow her to stretch that pun to its thinnest point. She's begun to notice the extra space she takes up; favouring armless chairs and sofas in the rehearsal spaces and occasionally asking Maria the costume designer to let out the rich green gown and ornamental wings she wears as Titania. Luckily her crown always fits - her head isn't getting any fatter, thank goodness!

    Her mood is improved too; as imperious as she must be for the character, over the course of the play Titania shows herself to be maternal, adopting the child of an Indian friend who dies giving birth, and loving, embracing the oafish charms of Bottom under the influence of ...certain substances. It's as if the Cinnamon Bloom has permeated her system; she's never without a giggle, a beatific smile or a hearty joke.

    Her libido is getting turbo-charged as well. Probably because she hasn't seen Richard in ages, and toys can only do so much on their own. Antonio's hip to it, though; proudly showed off his freshly-purchased butt plug at this, their latest session, before admitting he had no idea how to put it in.

    She gazes at his ever-so-foolish tattoo, one of those swirly ink-tentacle things that stretches down from the neck and across the torso. That it's a rather good-looking torso makes up for it, even if the spiral around his right nipple makes her giggle, especially after he makes her a cup of chamomile tea with a spoonful of Cinnamon-Bloom-and-sugar mixed in.

    He seems to enjoy her own body well enough, sits there fascinated when she rocks with laughter and *floomps* her way into largesse. The time before last, as she did it he held her close to him, feeling her grow ever-so-imperceptibly wider around the hips, letting his fingertips part ways as his mop of curly hair lays comfortably on her shoulder.

    They laugh and make love together. Tonight, she's wearing a yellow nightdress designed in a size she'd never imagine wearing, though still only the average size for a woman outside of show-business circles. He peels it off her slowly and sensually, marvelling at how she grows for him each time they make love, rubbing baby oil into the folds of her underbelly to keep the stretch marks at bay. The Sponge Cream has been working well; with its help, she's growing into more of an exaggerated hourglass shape, all hips and bust with only a hint of pudge around her middle.

    She pulls him close down to her, whispering in his ear, "Pick me up".

    He grins, and slides off the bed, getting his hands under her. With a grunt, he straightens his back, letting his legs take all of her weight, supporting her wider bottom in the crook of his left elbow while his right hand sinks into her well-padded shoulder. He wobbles, a bit - but perseveres, standing straight beside the bed and smiling proudly at her reflection in the mirror. You don't get to be a stagehand for a couple of years without learning a thing or two about lifting.

    "Good boy," she coos, kissing him. "But someday you're going to try that and not manage it."

    "Ah well," he replies, kissing her back, "I suppose I should savour a good thing while I still have it."

    A flick of his arms, and she's flopped down onto the bed unceremoniously, her tummy meeting the duvet first and her bottom wiggling as she laughs with the sudden shock, but in the back of her mind she's discontent. Antonio is a rough young man, handsome and good for a shag now and again, but there's something she needs, something she feels she could be getting elsewhere.

    She doesn't dwell on it, preferring instead to pull her lover-boy down and start on round three. He grunts again, with anticipation.

    *

    Rehearsals carry on long into the month, and her Titania grows in confidence. She radiates the regality of an indulgent queen - all the dignity and radiant beauty of Elizabeth I at the height of her powers, and all the jolliness and flashes of cruelty of that monarch's father, Henry VIII. She is no longer known only as Jess around the set; as if to more properly encompass her expanding form, the cast and crew now address her primarily as Jessica, or even Ms. Cinnamon.

    Her Fairy Queen is one who knows her subjects see her as a symbol of their prosperity and all that is good in the world; her posture is ever straight and commanding to symbolise her singleness of mind (though the need to support her steadily-growing assets partly contributes as well). When she enters the scene, poor Mr. Ross has to do his very best as Oberon to appear challenging to her rule, and Conrad, the quiet young man who plays Puck, seems to have incorporated a kind of fascinated awe into his characterisation. Or maybe that's just how he really is. He's an odd one, that Conrad.

    She has begun making consultations with Camillo and Maria on the costume; changing her tiara so that it seems to be made of green grass, for one, and adding a ruff that seems to be made of yellow and orange rose petals, complimenting her fuller face. Her gown is made wider, its sleeves looser; Maria is wise enough to anticipate her future growth. In a frenzy of genius, an idea comes upon her to forgo footwear; rather than heels or pixie boots, she will embrace the idea of Titania as a nature goddess, strolling barefoot through the forest with the knowledge that no living creature will harm her.

    Mr. Camillo praises her every idea, and is cautious enough not to grope her. This amuses Jessica, a little; the idea that she is growing so impressive that the puppet-master himself is intimidated. Still, he roars with laughter when she strides convincingly about the stage to tell the story of Titania's adopted Indian boy, using her powerful hips in her stride to make sure she's the centre of attention, and at the line:

    "When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive/And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;", she punctuates it by landing a resounding slap on her own softer midsection, taking advantage of the way it juts out in her rehearsal clothes.

    Though the other 'fairies' in her train laugh at her fond self-parody, she can hear a little mocking cackle at the back of the room. Turning, she sees Olivia, who plays the fairy "Peaseblossom", barely wiping off a scornful smirk.

    Jealous, she thinks. But it troubles her. How big can she possibly get before this goes too far? Yet a voice that seems apposite to the voice of reason shrugs the idea away. No, she thinks, this is all for the part; and the rewards will be well worth it. No-one has ever played Titania the way she has, and no-one will again, and mocking actress or no she has every confidence in this cast and crew.

    Still, she makes sure to flip the bird at Olivia when no-one's looking. Heaven help her, she can't be regal and classy all the time.

    *

    *floomp*

    The sound has grown ordinary to her. True, it still heralds pleasure and gets her immediately excited, in a very Pavlov-esque way, but Jessica Cinnamon has grown used to it with time. Again she feels a lingering, unnamable incompleteness - as if some missing ingredient could be added to the Bloom to make it that much more tantalising, to make that sound cause thunder in her heart. Maybe cutting it with something else would do the trick? She makes a note to look into that later.

    "You ready?" calls Antonio, relaxing luxuriantly on the bed in nothing but his too-tight boxers.

    "Coming, Red," she calls, watching in the mirror as another bra size forms in her hands. She's come to enjoy watching the effect, seeing herself grow inch-by-half-inch into the majestic Queen she's kept inside all these years. Maybe it's the Bloom constantly in her system, but her misgivings about growth seem to be fading away the more confident she is in the part. It's like -

    Her phone starts to vibrate, an angry bee buried in her handbag. An unknown, withheld number, she notices. Whoever could it be?

    "Hello, Jessica Cinnamon."

    "...Conrad?" Weird. How did he even get her number?

    He detects the suspicion in her voice and quickly corrects himself, stating "Pardon, Miss Cinnamon", without altering his tone of voice in the slightest. Jessica finds herself wondering why Camillo cast him in the part. He's as obscure an actor as they come, and besides, isn't Puck meant to be silly and tricksy? Why make him deadpan serious all the time, and cast an actor who's never out of character? (She doesn't reflect on the slight hypocrisy of that last thought.)

    "I thought you ought to know - I was just going to borrow your copy of the script while I did some late rehearsal with Henry, and I found some dead flowers left on your desk. I am going to get rid of them, but as I said, thought you ought to know."

    "Dead flowers? What in the..."

    "I suppose they must be from your not-so-secret detractor, Olivia. I can have a word with the director, if you like..." Again, not a trace of emotional commitment one way or the other. It's as if he’s just a servant doing her bidding. “Oh, and there is a label. Says ‘Flowers Wither After They Bloom…So Will You,’ then something rather rude which I will not read.”

    What the hell? Jessica finds herself thinking. She’d no idea things were that bad between her and the fledgling actress. All this positive attention she’d been garnering to herself, and the first bit of negativity hits her like a hammer. But she has a gracious, dignified image to maintain.

    “Just…just throw them away, Conrad. I’ll have a word with her later.”

    “Whatever you say. Have a fun night.”

    She blushes. “And what exactly do you mean by that?” she growls, a little Yorkshire coming through.

    “I have no idea what you think I meant. I was merely trying to be polite. Goodbye,” and he hangs up as unceremoniously as he called. Jessica is left pondering whether she said the right or wrong thing. But at the end of the day, Conrad was trying to help her. You think you know someone…

    “Come on, Jess!”

    “Don’t jerk yourself off, I’m coming,” she says, striding through to the bedroom and not betraying the slight irritation she gets from being called Jess. It doesn’t seem to belong to her any more; even Jessica just feels barely adequate, like a skin-hugging shirt.

    “Whoah…” says Antonio, propping himself up on one elbow. “Is that all for me?”

    Jessica wrinkles her nose. She’s heard that line before, in some movie, and it doesn’t sound any more charming coming out of the mouth of this boy. But she’s still feeling a little charged, a little energetic, and soon she’s skipping over to the bed and starting to get it on with her lover-boy.

    Kissing upward from his neck, she begins to French him, rubbing his crotch against hers and smushing her belly against his hardened abs. He kisses back greedily, grasping behind for her buttocks, but as if on autopilot she quickly pinions them to the side instead, awkwardly holding him down. He smiles - nervously - only to find her lowering her full weight on top of him.

    Suddenly Antonio is struggling for breath, thrashing weakly underneath her, his face pushed deep into her cleavage and his body pinned under her increased bulk. He’s kicking and making struggling noises as she moans, caught in a haze of lust, until suddenly he manages to escape her grasp and push her away with one hand. Jessica falls awkwardly to the floor as Antonio gasps for breath, choking a little bit on a lungful.

    “Wha - what the fuck? What the fuck was that?”

    “I…” Jessica isn’t entirely sure herself. She really didn’t seem to have any control…the whole thing seemed like one of those situations where you absent-mindedly leave the top of the blender before pressing the button. She just got a thrill from using her bulk to control him, somehow…what the hell was that?

    “I’m sorry, I thought…”

    “No, Miss Cinnamon,” he says, reaching for his trousers. “Obviously you didn’t think, or you’d have asked me whether I get off from being fucking suffocated.”

    “Miss-?! How old do you think I am?”

    “I don’t know, but I’m only 19, Miss Cinnamon, and I’m not ready to experiment with stuff like that yet. Besides that, you’ve been really weird lately, and I’m not sure I can do this any more - I’m going home and starting business school like Dad wanted.”

    “Red - baby - “

    “Don’t sweet-talk me.” his shirt is already on and he’s getting his coat from the hook. “And don’t call me either. I need a break.”

    The door is slammed shut before she can say anything else, and suddenly she’s alone in the flat, sitting amongst the bedcovers, alone and confused and trapped in a body that’s bigger than she’s ever been used to before. With weird tastes that she’s never even thought of having...

    *

    “Ah. So we’re going to have this conversation now, then,” says Jack at brunch the next day. She’s just finished irritably recounting - in as delicate a detail as possible - the poor results of her final romp with Antonio.

    “What…is that supposed to mean?” she asks, her eyes narrowing.

    Fast-Talking Jack shrugs. “I only found out recently. They’ve been doing new tests on Alice Dust…mice and the like…coming up with some odd results. Apparently in one or two cases, subjects who’ve been using the stuff on a semi-regular basis begin to show excessively dominant and, sometimes…amorous traits.”

    Jessica practically chokes on the toast slice she’s chewing. “You mean, on top of blowing up like a damned balloon, the stuff is…altering my mind?”

    “Only on a temporary basis. Remember, the stuff’s not addictive, and they’ve found the symptoms get reduced over time when the subject is weaned off it.”

    “You said ‘reduced’. Not gone forever?”

    He shrugs again, which she finds infuriating, though she knows he has no better control of this situation than herself. It’s…it’s not his fault. “Sometimes things just stay in the system, sweetie. The best to do is grin and bear it, and squirrel away some cash for a tummy tuck if you’re that paranoid about how you look.”

    "There is of course an alternate treatment where the dominant subject is paired with a subject who's had similar doses but displayed submissive behaviour, but...yes, I can see your eyes glazing over.."

    Jessica is not bored; she's just processing this information as he talks, wondering how long the Cinnamon Bloom could possibly have been changing the way she thinks. Dominant, she said…is that why she’s been so confident of late? Is she giving off some sort of pheromone that makes men weak and women jealous? No, that’s ridiculous sci-fi rubbish, and besides, the other fairies aren’t trying to get her - just Olivia. And it’s not all men getting intimidated…Conrad’s been fine, and Jack…

    Jack never seems afraid of her, or in awe of her. They’ve been friends forever, always will be. He’s looking back at her now, even in her worried state, and his kind smile relaxes her more than ever.

    “I know what this is,” he says. “You’re getting nervous because the press performance is tomorrow, and then it’s on with the show proper, and you’ve been having trouble with that Olivia woman. You’re sublimating it in your other problems, but you’ve got nothing to worry about. This show is going to go great.

    “See, the bottom line,” he says, “is this: you’re brilliant, Jessica Cinnamon. Perhaps the greatest actress ever to have the ill-fortune to be represented by me. And when you’re brilliant, there’s bound to be rivals.”

    “Oh come off it,” she says, “I’m turning into a great hog and a giant vamp all at once, and probably this play is going to be laughed off-stage. I mean, look at me!” she pats her now grapefruit-sized breasts for emphasis.

    “I don’t think so. In fact, I’d come along to cheer you on myself if I didn’t have a hundred appointments and at least a dozen girls waiting for me back in London. And speaking of.” he straightens up, pulling on his coat, and stretches in the sunlight. Jessica wishes he could come and cheer her on - she needs a friend, more than ever.

    Fast-Talking Jack looks at her, wrapped in her elegant sky-blue blouse and skin-tight jeans, her bulging figure straining them both, the morning sun reflected in her wavy honey-coloured ponytail, her pouty red lips smiling bravely through her worries. He bends down.

    “You are rather pretty, dear,” he says, kissing her on the forehead. It’s in the ‘third eye’ area just above the bridge of her nose, and the mere touch of that part makes her feel suddenly looked-after.

    Then, he walks away, leaving her to her performance.


    End of Act II
     
  3. Apr 18, 2014 #3

    JimBob

    JimBob

    JimBob

    Wondering Where You Are

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    Act III (of III): Like A Globe

    Press night has arrived, that time when critics shall gather around the fresh production with their poison pens at the ready and their beady little eyes sharply narrowed. Jessica’s morning *floomp* does only a little to improve her mood; the ‘opening night’ jitters have come early.

    The set is a whirl of business and noise when she enters, getting the standard greeting from her compatriots and the usual curt nod from Conrad. She doesn’t see Olivia anywhere, and when Mr. Camillo runs into her, she asks him about it.

    “Oof! My dear Miss Cinnamon, I’m looking greatly forward to seeing you on stage tonight!” he says, grinning an intoxicated grin. He seems a little shorter than usual, or - Jessica suddenly realises - she’s taller, with her added weight. How odd.

    “I hope we’ll make you proud tonight. All of us. We couldn’t have asked for a more creative director. I was wondering, though…have you seen Olivia? I need to have a talk with her.”

    “I think I saw her in makeup,” Conrad calls out from over his shoulder, helping someone set up a prop. Jessica thanks him and shuffles as fast as her ever-tightening jeans will let her towards the makeup room.

    When she finds Olivia, the girl is just adding some beautiful green eyeshadow to her Peaseblossom ensemble, creating a stunningly punk-rock-esque fairy that shimmers as much as she intimidates. She’s still half a head shorter than Jessica, though, and glares up as the zaftig leading lady enters.

    “Erm…is it OK to talk?” Jessica ventures. Olivia glares a little more, looking like a cornered animal, but nods slowly.

    “I just wanted to say…there’s no hard feelings about the, shall we say, ‘present’ you left me a few nights ago,” she continues. “I don’t know what your problem is with me, but I think it’s a problem we can solve by talking about it. It’s opening night soon, and we’ll all benefit from the two of us burying the hatchet. What d’you say?” Jessica tries to look sincere, even stretching out a hand in peace.

    Olivia doesn’t so much stand as rotate her body around her glare until it’s straight. “Very well. You’ve said your peace. Here’s mine.”

    Before Jessica can ask her what she means, the door to the makeup room is slammed closed and locked. Olivia pockets the key, marches forward and taps her, very hard on the chest.

    “You have done NOTHING to get where you are today!” she shouts. “Nothing except becoming a pathetic junkie! Look at you!”

    “I think you may be getting the wrong idea - “

    “Stop treating me like a child! Just because you’ve slept your way to the top and drugged your way into the part! While someone like me has to work my hands to the bone to get to play a fucking flower fairy! You make me sick, you stupid great cow!”

    Jessica is panicking a little. Obviously Olivia has a lot of issues to get through, and she’s being a bit unbalanced with them, but understanding her has suddenly fallen very low on the priority list now that the girl has shown herself to be crazy and locked them in a room together.

    “I’d be a hundred times the Titania you are, without your stupid dust and the stupid bloody favouritism they play!” She darts to the left, and her hands are suddenly in Jessica’s handbag.

    “Hey! Don’t - that’s private!” she shouts, only for Olivia to seize a brown test tube and hold it aloft.

    “HAH! See! You’re still using the stuff! You’re nothing but a pathetic junkie…” she becomes morose, her anger quieting into a low growl. “To think I admired you all those years, tried to follow in your footsteps. And you turn into, into…this, and she pokes Jessica again, hard, in the belly.

    “Alright, missy!” Jessica snarls, suddenly rushing forward, her dominant side taking over. She squashes the smaller girl against the door, Olivia squirming behind her bust. “I have TRIED to be nice to you, and understanding, but if you’re going to act crazy and behave like a little bitch, I’m just going to have to - “

    “OFF me!” shrieks Olivia in a panic, pushing out. She’s stronger than she looks, and with a lower centre of gravity, and Jessica slips, her weight giving her a little bit of a clumsy streak at exactly the wrong moment. Her arms paw the air as she slips over with a shriek, bashing the back of her head against a mirror and sinking into unconsciousness.

    Olivia looks about the room in a sudden panic. “Shit…” she whispers. “Ah, shit.” She had intended to just read ‘Titania’ here the riot act and walk out, head held high, but she was not expecting things to get ugly. She looks at Jessica’s prone, unconscious body and quickly grabs a cushion off one of the makeup chairs as someone starts banging on the door, propping up the head of her victim. There’s no blood…she’s just been knocked out.

    Olivia looks at the door, with the banging getting louder, and at Jessica, and at the tube of Cinnamon Bloom in her hand…and at the water cooler.

    She smiles, malevolently. Think of your career as a ship, she thinks to herself. If the ship is sinking, might as well light it on fire…make it into a spectacle.

    She goes and gets a glass of water.

    *

    *FLOOMP*

    At the edge of her perception, Jessica realises this is not a good sound to wake up to; but that feeling is eclipsed very quickly by more pressing concerns. The back of her head is cold and numb, and she realises someone is holding an ice pack to it. It’s…oh, it’s…Jack? He looks worried, poor baby. What could he possibly have to worry over?

    “…Jack? Are you alright?”

    “I could ask you that same question, Cinnamon,” he says in a quiet voice. “Can you stand up?”

    “I…I think so…my head hurts.”

    “How much?”

    “Just a little bruising, that’s all…I spoke to Olivia…”

    “We’ve had her thrown out. We need to take this one step at a time.”

    She sits up at that, looking quizzically at him. “Oh, Jack, no need to be dramatic. Whatever’s happened, there’s always understudies and…” her vision coming into focus, she can see how really terribly worried he is. What about? It’s only press night, and they’re going to dazzle…

    She realises the door is closed. She also realises it’s a little chilly in here. In fact, why can she feel the air conditioner on her bare skin? She’s not that scantily…dressed…

    She stands up, adopting that rare ludicrous expression used commonly by people who do a double-take after seeing their own body.

    Jessica Cinnamon is enormous.

    “I…what…Jack! What - “

    “We think she found the spare tube of Bloom you were keeping in your handbag. Knocked you out, mixed it in some water, made you chug it while you slept…and as soon as it took effect, you woke up. She was kicking and screaming, yelling about how she hated you...I’m so sorry, Jessica…I didn’t realise you were in danger. I thought she was just jealous.”

    His words are drifting over the edge of her consciousness again as she paws and prods at her suddenly softer body, a panic attack seizing her enlarged frame. This cannot be happening, she cannot look this, this cannot - she loses balance a little, feeling something attached to her rear, something huge and wobbly - not...

    "My...my bum!" she says unselfconsciously, grasping it with two hands that seem to be dwarfed by its largesse. It quivers from the touch alone, and she snaps her hands away from its softness, getting a ludicrous vision of losing them in there like quicksand. She plops herself down on a creaking chair, barely able to keep upright.

    It's worse at the front - evident by the fact that her hands are automatically resting on her great belly as if it were merely a cushion strapped to her body. The thing is humongous, a great globe that pulls her figure forward and shifts it entirely into the apple shape that genetics gave her instead of the hourglass she's been moulding herself into. She prods it beneath the material of the shirt that is rapidly riding upward with every heaving, stressed-out breath, and seeing her pudgy index finger sink into it up to the second joint she feels a blush of embarrassment.

    The dressing-room mirror confirms that blush, and she watches it spread over her heart-shaped face and wobbly chin. Her entire neck is swallowed in a collar of blubber that might be endearing and adorably babyish to anyone looking from an outsider's point-of-view, though she can't appreciate that with tears welling up. Even her lips seem a little more swollen.

    "Oh god, I look like Rennee Zellwegger having an emotion," she sighs, watching her cheeks quiver even as she says it.

    Everything is swollen out of proportion; from her breasts, which now seemed to be almost the size of a human head, to her upper arms, having grown the rounded ‘cherub wing’ shape she’s seen in larger ladies, even down to her calves utterly drowning out her ankles - though she can only glance at them beneath her belly. Lines from The Comedy of Errors start to stream into her mind, the speech where Dromio tells his master about his wife Nell, a "marvellous fat marriage", and "spherical, like a globe. I could find out countries in her". She has never felt so huge in her life, so titanic and buoyant and - oh, why doesn't the real globe just crack and swallow her up!

    Jack is by her side, a little glum, ice-pack at the ready. She grabs him and begins sobbing into his shoulder, her sausage-shaped fingers pawing at his jacket. “I can’t go on like this! They’ll crucify me! If they can get a cross that won’t collapse!” she whimpers.

    “Stop it! Listen to me! Listen to me, Jessica.” He grabs her softened shoulders, looking determinedly into her eyes. “You are still the greatest actress with whom I’ve ever worked, and you are still going to knock their socks off tonight, Olivia or no Olivia.”

    “That’s right,” comes a voice from the auditorium. Mr. Camillo is standing in the doorway to the makeup room, arms folded and looking as if he could trust her with his life. “We’re all still with you, Ms. Cinnamon, even in this trying time. No-one can divide us. We are the cast and crew of a Shakespearean masterpiece, and that is a bond which can never be broken by any tragedy."

    Behind him, the cast and crew are staring - with curiosity, admittedly - but none of them with disgust or scorn. Jessica looks up and smiles through her tears. They’re all behind her - still. They’re all ready to support her, no matter what happens.

    She wipes away her tears with a pudgy paw, and - steadying herself on Jack’s shoulder - climbs back on her feet. That determined grin, that purposeful step; the Queen is coming into her own.

    “How many hours have we got?” she says, as a cheer begins to erupt amongst her friends and comrades. “Just two and a half,” replies Jack.

    “Long enough,” she decides. “Maria - let’s get that costume modified one last time, see if we can add a girdle to the ensemble. Everyone else - let’s put on a show!”

    Hours later, they cheer again as she leads them towards the theatre space, glowing in her resplendent costume, her ruff puffing out her face and a cloak wrapped ceremoniously around her. With the critics huddled in the darkness, she enters from stage right, dwarfing the stoic-looking Oberon and his suspicious Puck as she casts aside her cloak. Wobbling a little, she cries:

    “What! Jealous Oberon!”

    - And the night is made.

    *

    Coming down from drink or drugs is hard. Coming down from a gigantic self-confidence wave is tougher, especially when drugs are what brought it on and drink added to it. Jess awakens the next morning with not so much a headache as a mood-ache, a slog of grey depression that drains the colour from everything she thinks about. What wakes her up is her phone, ringing through the half-light of her flat, and continuing as she gets up, waddles over awkwardly paws it for three and a half minutes.

    “This is Cordelia York, from the Citizen,” says a nosy-sounding voice. “I was wondering if I could interview you about your…unique perform-“

    The phone is slammed down and powered off before she can finish the sentence. Sniffling, Jess waddles her way awkwardly back to her bed, trying not to think about the impact on the poor frame as she slumps her whole weight down. If only she could just fall asleep and not ever have to wake up again…not that she’s suicidal. She’d just rather live in a dream forever than keep undergoing this.

    The memories buzz around her brain. The memories of her monstrously-high self, spouting out her lines as if she were Queen of the Universe, a bad caricature of all of the traits she’d built up over the past half-year. Her exaggerated figure dominating the stage, her bum resting against props and actors thudding into her belly. When Titania chooses to sleep in a flowery grove, her massively round figure in its Earthy gown seemed to resemble a little hill, or at least she thought it did; and Bottom did lean on it one or two times.

    The confidence, though, the intoxicating confidence! It seemed to drown out all of the rational voices in her head, even the ones demanding that she retain some kind of feminine mystique instead of playing as an overly-sensual fat woman; she swears she can recall burping through her lines at least three, maybe four times. Oh god, oh god…

    No. No, she decides, she cannot just sit here moping. She needs a walk, a walk in the morning sunshine to clear her head. Her sunglasses are waiting, and there’s an overcoat that at least protects her shoulders if not fitting around her frame. It’s so odd to feel all this growth at once; already she’s learned how to prevent from losing her balance, but she’s still so clumsy. And still waddling where she should be taking strides.

    She quickly realises she’ll need to move sideways to get out of the door...

    *

    Stratford is as charming as ever in the midday sunlight, and her craving for a hearty breakfast is quickly satiated by a couple of ham and cheese croissants. This new, even healthier appetite will take some getting used to as well. While she’s out, she manages to find a clothes shop that does plus-size clothing, quickly finding herself a pair of jeans that will fit and a decent-enough-looking top.

    Exhausted by her exertions, especially the day after a long night treading the boards, Jess sits herself down on a park bench overlooking the river avon.

    “Hello, Jessica Cinnamon.”

    She nearly jumps out of her skin. “Conrad! Have you been following me? What the hell is - “

    “No,” he replies. “I’m just here enjoying my lunch.” She looks down and notices that he is indeed taking oranges out of a paper bag, unwrapping them, and eating them segment by segment before spitting out the seeds. “I suppose you’re a little mortified, no?”

    “Mortified? Me? Why…whatever gave you that impression?”

    He blinks. “Perhaps the fact that you’ve been using a slightly-illegal mysterious substance to put on weight for this show of ours.”

    “That’s - “

    “And that said substance altered your mood and behaviour in unexpected ways. Such as your libido.”

    “You - “

    “As well as your self-confidence, and your performing ability. And that, unbeknownst to you, certain members of the cast possessed an inherited allergy to the drug that made them become aggressive towards you - only one of them acting on it rather than just drowning it in alcohol and hopes that you’d fall down a flight of stairs and let them understudy you.”

    “I don’t see how - “

    “Not to mention that you’re devastated that your performances under the influence last night may have caused you to become dangerously out-of-control and ruined the play for the whole lot of us, and your acting career with it, and you don’t know what path to take from here."

    Jessica stares at him, dumbfounded.

    “Conrad…how the hell do you know all this?”

    “I am the Puck, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Puck sees all, and knows everyone’s business,” he says, without further elaborating. “You should hear some of the secrets that Camillo is hiding."

    “I’ve had all these problems,” she says, ignoring him, “Maybe because I didn’t feel good enough, maybe because I’m a self-saboteur…” she begins to tear up, and he hands her a tissue nonchalantly. “If I could have just told someone - who’d understand how incomplete I feel…"

    "Well, that's the thing," says Conrad, spitting out an orange seed into the river. "There's one person out there who speaks your language, one person alone who can't seem to get enough of you but feels too afraid to grasp you while you're in his hand. One person who'll be there for you when no-one else would.

    "We both know who that person is, don't we."

    She nods, blowing her nose in the harsh wind. Conrad reaches into his pocket and takes out, perplexingly, some shredded lettuce. This he tosses onto the river to be gobbled up by a pair of greedy ducks. "Bread gives 'em botchelism, y'see," he explains.

    "I know that I should go to Jack...tell him everything...but I don't know how to make him stay. I don't know what to do…”

    Conrad shrugs. “You will."

    *

    One last spoonful of sugar, she thinks.

    She’s come back home to her flat, in the midst of despair, and come to a desperate decision. Remembering her home baking skills, she’s put together a set of beautiful-looking cupcakes, each infused with the last of the sugar-Cinnamon Bloom mix. Her plan is simple: devour each of the twelve fattening cakes in turn, become so swaddled in fat that no-one could ever recognise her, and wide the wave of self-confidence towards fleeing the country and starting a new life as a farmer’s wife or something in South America.

    She dusts the cakes’ icing lightly with her last teaspoonful of the Bloom, and wipes away another tear. There’s no hope for her in the theatre, no hope with Jack, and certainly not anything else she can do but wipe the slate clean.

    Tentatively, she begins to nibble at the first of seven cupcakes, succeeding in eating a quarter of it as her doorbell rings. She considers leaving it - probably another bloody vulture tracking her down - until it is met by furious knocking and a voice which stills her heart, calling: “My sweetest of sweeties! Let me in!”

    Allowing a little *floomp* to bring out her smile, and grunting as she feels her belly jut out another inch and her new jeans creak dangerously, she opens the door only for a lithe figure to jump on her, sending her crashing to the floor in a massively loving hug.

    “Jessica Cinnamon, you bloody wonder!” cries Fast-Talking Jack. “You’ve done it again!”

    “Whuh - what?!” she gasps, as he steps off her and helps her up with two strong hands. “What in heaven’s name…”

    “You haven’t seen the papers? Well, feast your eyes, love!” he says, shoving one into her hand as he goes to close the door and then make a beeline for her wine supplies. As he walks off, she notices how unusually unkempt he is; there’s stubble on his lip and cheek, she notices, and his shirt isn’t tucked in. A bit of a pudgy beer-belly sticks out, evidence of too much time at the pubs. She never noticed it before…it’s…it’s kinda cute, actually...

    But the paper. What did he mean, had she seen the papers? Why would she want to do that?

    Her shaking hands finds the theatrical review, and peers about for the inevitable panning. Instead, she finds…four and a half stars. What? What?!

    “An inspiring casting choice,” she reads aloud. “Playing Titania as a woman of largesse, the celebrated Jessica Cinnamon brings out both her powerful physical presence and maternal warmth during her more sensual scenes. Here is an actress to keep in mind for productions focusing on women’s rights.”

    She doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Jack, swigging a beer found in her fridge, does the former for her. “You see what I told you! We’re going to make a killing in salary, you and me! We’re going to bring Shakespeare kicking and screaming into the modern world!”

    “Jack, I can’t believe it,” she says, dazedly wandering back to plump herself down at the other side of the table, facing him.

    “You’d better, Cinnamon,” he says, “Because it’s happening. Your career is made! And on that note - “ and before she can say a word, he has scarfed the first of seven cakes, the one she’d bitten out of. Jessica has no idea how to respond. She’s reeling from the good news; but Jack eating the cake - she should stop him. She should...

    “Oh - I - but you shouldn’t - “

    “What?”

    Her heart racing, she pushes the cake-stand forward. “You shouldn’t take just one. You’ve always been so sweet to me, Jack - but I’ve had too much sweetness. It’s time for me to give you some.”

    “Very generous of you, Cinnamon,” he smiles. “Don’t mind if I do."

    Jess says nothing; merely burps a little, more out of surprise than ingestion, and watches in shock as he scarfs every last one of the little cupcakes down, one by one. It feels as if that little phrase encompasses everything she’s been through of recent. Like she’s been waiting to hear someone say it, her whole life. Don’t girls usually wait to hear the last two words? But she’s not just any girl. Her appetite is…healthier.

    “Jack,” she says, coolly, “why did we never try anything? Just the two of us?”

    “You mean - go steady? Come off it, love. You’ll never get Fast-Talking Jack to stop talking long enough to say ‘I do’, let alone get him on a first date.”

    “But…you never thought of settling down? Working from home? Living with an understanding wife?” She leans her chin in her hand, utilising all of her skills to create a portrait of pure nonchalance.

    “Oh, I don’t know,” he replies, licking his fingers, “It’d take a miracle to get a guy like me to slow down and take it easy. Eh?”

    A miracle indeed, Jess thinks, and feels herself riding a wave, a high which neither drugs nor alcohol can replicate; the high of daring, freedom and clever triumph, and when she’s atop its crest she’s kissing Fast-Talking Jack full on the mouth, cupping his cheek in her gloved hand, waiting for it to swell like an apple into the curve of her palm.

    She thinks of those experiments he told her about - pairing a dominant subject with a submissive subject, both growing that way after they took the A-Dust. Fate might be lucky. Fate will be lucky, this time...

    They say the way into a man’s heart is through his stomach, but - well - you have to go through the mouth first. They don’t say that the way to snag a fast-talking man is to keep his mouth plugged, but give her time to get famous and she’ll have ‘em all saying it. She’ll have ‘em eating out of her hand, but there’s only one man in the world she wants to do that, these days. Just the one.

    He’s kissing her back, riding his own high, the blessed high of seven A-Dust doses in a row, all waiting for their caramel payload. She rubs his bare cheek and thinks how handsome he’d look if he re-grew the old musketeer beard and mustache, a proper Falstaff-like gentleman, waddling about their house to make appointments and arrange contracts and never be without food as long as her big star budget can keep it from happening.

    Her own knight in creaking trousers, too slow to chase the girls and too heavy to get him under them. So dry and dignified, because she’d made him so. His great belly swaying to and fro, bursting the buttons of his shirt, pressing against her own and making her feel tiny…

    Mmm…

    Detecting that the climax of the Bloom is near, she decides to end this little tale with one of the Bard’s own phrases. Why not? All’s Well That Ends Well, after all.

    Pulling away and gazing wickedly into his lovestruck eyes with a mischievous grin, Jessic Cinnamon whispers: “How long is’t ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?

    "...Wha - "

    *FLOOOOOOOMP!*


    (Curtain…;)

    (Happy Easter, everybody!)
     
  4. Apr 18, 2014 #4

    JimBob

    JimBob

    JimBob

    Wondering Where You Are

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    As always, feedback/comments would be appreciated!

    Also, a bit of author's commentary: almost every name used in this except "Cinnamon" is drawn from one of Shakespeare's works.
     
  5. Apr 19, 2014 #5

    Vongola27

    Vongola27

    Vongola27

    Well-Known Member

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    "Doubt thou the stars are fire;/Doubt that the sun doth move;/Doubt truth to be a liar;/But never doubt I love." And buddy, do I love this. Shakespeare, weight gain (on both sides, no less), and character development? Bravo, JimBob!
     
  6. Apr 19, 2014 #6

    ffaboots

    ffaboots

    ffaboots

    Member

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    This story is magnificent.
     
  7. Apr 19, 2014 #7

    JimBob

    JimBob

    JimBob

    Wondering Where You Are

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    Ah, high praise indeed from two of the giants of the Dims Library - writers of "Capes and Cuisines" and "Scenes From The Three"! Glad the both of you liked it, hopefully as much as I loved your own works. I can't hold a candle to you guys, but I'm glad to have provided a little distraction.
     

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