BBW Something's Gotta Give - by StrugglingWriter (~BBW, ~XWG)

Discussion in 'Recent Additions' started by StrugglingWriter, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. May 1, 2018 #361

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    Kelly waved the waiter back over while her father put both elbows on the table, one hand cupping the other, chewing vigorously, his countenance unfazed, his gaze never wavering.

    “You know, now that I think of it, this steak isn’t the way I like it. It’s too well done. In fact, come to think of it, I think I’d rather have something else entirely. Do you have something like a, a chicken Florentine? Anything like that. I don’t care exactly what. With some squash? And a Caesar salad to start with?”

    The waiter looked Ben’s direction, who nodded.

    “And if you could bring me a cranberry Manhattan and a glass of sweet tea, I’d really appreciate it.”

    “Of course, ma’am.”

    “Thank you. You’re a sweetheart.”

    Her father pursed his lips and nodded his head in that Hmm gesture of respect. The kind of respect you might give a worthy rival in the middle of a match, the outcome of which was uncertain. He waited for the waiter to be out of earshot before he spoke.

    “Who I have been and have not been fucking, Daughter, is between me and your mother.”

    “That’s exactly my point.” She wouldn’t let actual curse words out of her father’s mouth in her presence phase her. That’s it girl! Let him have it!

    “You think that’s your point, but you don’t know the first thing about it. Your mother is the one who chose Justine as my assistant. Now why do you think that is?”

    The idea that he would have ever really slept with Justine was ridiculous on its face. Justine had been on the near side of sixty even when he first hired her, and even Eskimos thought of her as chilly. Kelly had always wondered why her dad bothered to put up with her.

    Now she knew.

    What else didn’t she know? That she didn’t want to know?

    “And by the way, your mother hadn’t fucked me for a long time before I hired Justine.”

    That. That was exactly what she didn’t want to know.

    But the truth was, it didn’t surprise Kelly in the least. She’d long since figured that out.

    Kelly’s greens arrived, and they attacked them both in silence for a while. Not that Kelly wanted to. She still had that fire in the belly. But she couldn’t think of what to say next.

    As usual, Ben Kingsley’d known exactly how to get the last word.

    “Anyway, you should know,” he finally broke the silence, “that your mother has tied up just about everything financially. I don’t expect you to be able to appreciate the difficulty of this, but it took quite a bit of wrangling with lawyers to get those things set up for you.” He pointed to the place on the table he had tossed down the new credit cards.

    “I don’t appreciate. I don’t appreciate any of this at all.” And suddenly Kelly was holding back tears. Crap!

    “Yeah, well, I didn’t do this. Your mother did.”

    Your mother! Again. Outrage shot through her.

    “You mean she’s the one who cancelled my credit cards to start with? Or maybe she’s the one who fucked a bunch of slutty women.” Kelly’s voice shook with anger and the tears finally started spilling out of her eyes.

    “Enough on that, Kellen Kingsley!” He somehow managed to yell at her without raising his voice. He was pointing the knife at her again, this time unadorned with meat. “And that’s enough of that fucking potty mouth.”

    And it was. Every time she cursed, she thought it would feel so good. It never did. And now that she’d gone all angry on him, she realized that didn’t feel as good as promised either. All she wanted to do was stop crying. And stop hurting. She did her best to stop the first. The Manhattan arrived. She kept her hand away from it to avoid medicating the second.

    “She’s after my house.”

    Ben Kingsley was more than a glorified realtor. More than a budding developer. He fancied himself an architect, and by college degree, he was. But he didn’t have the patience for the real architectural work—just the eye. The one exception was the house. He’d been drawing sketches of it since he could draw, building models of it since his first architecture class in college. When after all the years of setbacks and hustle he’d finally got his head above water (with his first successful small housing development back in Jackson), back when Kelly was 10, he didn’t do what most developers did and dump all the money back into the next, bigger, better project. Instead, he risked the entirety of the proceeds to secure the debt it took to bring his dream house into being and scraped together his next development success from the ground up, as if success was still over the horizon and not firmly underneath his feet. When Ben Kingsley called it his house, not even Kelly really blamed him for using the moniker.

    Although she did anyway.

    “You mean our home,” she murmured, eyes down.

    Her dad paused a second, of course chewing steak. “No, I mean my house. Home is where you hang your hat.”

    Like her mother, Ben Kingsley had his own set of proverbs he liked to remind Kelly of. And the place you keep your huge kitchen, Kelly’s mother had always added. For Elizabeth, her husband’s house had always been a weight around her neck, the thing that kept them moving from cramped apartment to cramped apartment, that had Kelly jumping from school district to school district in three different states, that kept her husband away on the construction site longer and longer each day. She never hated the house, though she did resent it, if only because she had to grudgingly admit it was all worth the hassle and expense. But the kitchen, the only part of the house over which she had any say over its design, and everything to say about how it was equipped, was a continual sense of joy.

    For Kelly, the house was the only place she’d ever lived in for four consecutive years. She’d never cared about the kitchen or the pool or the hot tub or any of the rest of it. For her it was the first place that had ever felt like a home.

    Meanwhile, her father was still talking.

    “You get attached to a place as home, and before you know it you’re stuck there for life. Home for you right now is that dump of a building for that sorority you both love so much.

    “Or maybe I’m wrong? Maybe it’s on 297 Avendale with that woman you two have been living with?”

    Kelly’s mind snapped to complete attention, even as a delicious-smelling plate of pasta and white cream sauce slipped in front of her.

    “Yes, I know about her. It’s not much of a house. But I guess you two have really been partying it up over there. Sure makes me wonder why I should bother paying that ridiculous rent for some glorified dorm room on the most run down part of Millkent.”

    Kelly’s father pushed his last bite of steak into his mouth and placed his elbows back on the table, hands folded under his chin as he chewed, making his head bob up and down, waiting for some kind of response. Kelly was used to being put on the spot by her father, who more than once had scared out of her a confession involving some kind of trivial adolescent transgression he couldn’t possibly have discovered on his own, but that she always felt compelled to give up to him anyway.

    But Daddy and Mommy were fighting, and Daddy always fought to win. How could she live with herself if she revealed something that helped him do that? She stalled by cutting up her pasta just the way he’d taught her to. But slowly.

    “I guess,” she finally ventured, “that’s Mommy’s home now that she’s locked out of her house.”

    “My house. And she locked herself out. The question is, what’s going on over there?”

    “Why do you even care? Nothing special. Sleeping. Drinking. Eating.” That’s the truth.

    “You know, I think it’d be better for you if you just told me everything.”

    That was the line, the one that always got her. Not this time!

    “I just go there to see my mommy, who actually cares about what’s going on in my life.”

    “I see,” he replied, pursing his lips as he turned his plate and began stirring in the toppings of his baked potato. “And I don’t.”

    Ha! It had worked! For the first time in her life, she’d pushed him off topic!

    “That’s right. You don’t. Don’t is exactly what you do. You don’t call. You don’t visit. You don’t even text.”

    “I’m visiting now.”

    “And why are you? Visiting now?”

    “Because it’s Thanksgiving, and I wanted to spend it with my daughter.”

    “You’re such a liar! You’re here quizzing me so you can find something to use on my mom!”

    Something let go behind Ben Kingsley’s face, and all the steely negotiator strength fell away, dragging behind it the countenance of some exhausted, lifeless defeated man Kelly had never met before.

    “I came because it’s Thanksgiving, and I’m all alone, and I wanted to spend it with my daughter.”

    Kelly sat stunned by this sudden brokenness in front of her. Something she’d never seen before—certainly never something she’d seen from him. Not Ben Kingsley, force of nature. Ben Kingsley, pillar of the business community. Ben Kingsley, stalwart father. She wanted to believe it was a ploy, a tool for whatever he was trying to get out of her. Maybe that’s all it was. If it was, it worked. She felt pain for him deep inside, and a ripple of fear radiating outward almost everywhere else.

    What had happened to their little family?
     
  2. May 1, 2018 #362

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    Oh, God bless! I didn't have to format it after I pasted it in!
     
  3. May 23, 2018 #363

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    Her father drained his Scotch, stifled a little cough, and lifted the empty glass toward no one in particular as a call for yet another one. Kelly didn’t really know what to do. She took a sip from her Manhattan and did her best not to wince from the burn. She didn’t really like the heavy alcohol hit from a martini, especially combined with the tartness of cranberry instead of the heavy sweetness of chocolate or cream, but a Manhattan had sounded like the most adult thing she could order in the moment. She followed it with a small taste of her pasta, which lingered on her lips and tongue and slipped gently and happily—finally—into her tummy.

    “I’m sorry, Daddy,” she murmured.

    “For what? You didn’t do anything.”

    True enough. And frankly, after seeing all those private investigator photos spread out on Gail’s coffee table a scant three months ago—it seemed like a lifetime—she didn’t really understand the part about being alone.

    “I know. I’m just sorry for all of it.”

    “Me, too.” Ben’s drink arrived and he immediately took a sip and placed it back on the table. “You know, maybe you can’t believe this, but I’m”—he choked up a bit, holding back tears, something Kelly had never seen—“if she’d have let me, I’d have stayed with her.”

    “Well have you talked to her? What did she say?”

    “She won’t talk to me. She sent me the suit for the divorce, and I haven’t seen her since.

    “Your mother is the love of my life. To this day, all I have to do is look at her, and phew! It’s like that very first day we met at the fairgrounds. She just—she blows me away. She just blew me away. I—She just—she never—”

    He shook his head and took another, larger sip of his Scotch. Kelly was starting to realize that this may be her father when he was drunk. No slurring, no clumsiness, not even any deliberateness. Just more open or...pliable. She wondered how many times she’d seen him drunk and she just hadn’t known it.

    Kelly knew the story of them meeting on the fairgrounds the day before the Sugar Bowl, Ben not knowing she was the Sugar Bowl Queen, compelled to ask her out on the spot with the promise that he could fulfill all her dreams.

    There was nothing Ben Kingsley could possibly see in the corpulent Elizabeth Kingsley today that resembled anything like Elizabeth Bussey then.

    “I know,” Kelly replied. “She put on all that weight.”

    “That wasn’t anything that really ever bothered me.”

    Kelly raised her eyebrows and cocked her head as if to tell him she didn’t believe him. With all the front line policing Elizabeth Kingsley ever did of Kelly’s weight, Ben Kingsley was always there to back her up.

    “That’s the truth, Kelly. I’m sure you saw those detective pictures.”

    Thank you so much for the reminder, Dad. Legendary Ben Kingsley sensitivity right on display.

    “No one Mommy’s size. She’s put on a ton of weight now, Daddy. A ton.”

    “I know.” He shrugged.

    But you said you haven’t—

    Oh. Of course. He was using detectives, too. That had to be how he knew about Gail’s house. People taking pictures everywhere! Was that where all those pictures of her came from?

    She was ashamed she even thought it.

    “The thing about your mom is—you know, I don’t ever think she saw past getting married. For her it was all about college, and pageants—really, the pageants. College for her was just ... what you did. And all that just kinda happened to her. Happened for her. And then you came along, and that was just the next thing up for her, and she just dropped everything else and threw herself into you. And that gave her motivation. She found another gear when it was doing things for you.

    “But other than that, if no one pushed her, your mother would just sit around all day doing nothing. And the truth is, I think she’d be perfectly happy.”

    She couldn’t argue with that. She’d seen it with her own eyes. But she also knew there was no way he could really appreciate how hard getting fat truly is on a woman—especially one who but for it was so stunningly beautiful.

    “Don’t you think maybe part of that—maybe the biggest part of it—has been how she had to struggle so much to keep the weight off?”

    “Elizabeth never had to struggle to keep the weight off.”

    It was the most ludicrous statement she’d ever heard her father—or really, anyone—ever make.

    “Well of course she did! She’s been dieting my whole life!”

    “No, she had you dieting your entire life.”

    “Daddy, that’s just not true! There’s not a diet I went on she didn’t go on with me.”

    “And there’s not a diet you went on that she didn’t go off when you weren’t around.”

    This was absolutely and completely out of Kelly’s comprehension. Of course she and her mother both struggled with their weight together! They’d even had Weight Watchers weigh-ins together! she told him.

    “Ok, but how many weigh-ins? Three? Four? Most of the time we couldn’t afford anything like that. She’d eat the way you did to keep you on your diet, and sure, she’d drop a few pounds. But trust me, Elizabeth’s not about anything that requires that kind of sustained effort. A lot of things come easy to that girl, and maintaining her figure when she was young was one of them. You, on the other hand, it was clear pretty early on we were gonna have to help you out from the get-go if you were ever gonna have a fighting chance.”

    Kelly’s dad looked at her like he was waiting for her to speak, like he was expecting an explanation. But Kelly was still trying to wrap her mind around what her father was telling her about her mother. So he kept speaking.

    “What happened, Kelly? We paid Jacquie big bucks, and it really looked like you were gonna have this thing licked for quite a while. And then you show up here today looking like this.”

    Tears welled in Kelly’s eyes.
     
  4. May 23, 2018 #364

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    Man, your writing has come to feel so smooth and effortless to read, I just race through each new instalment way too quickly! Especially during this stage oif the story.

    When this thing is done I'd love to hear from your side how the story grew and did or didn't change over time.
     
  5. May 25, 2018 #365

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    Thanks, Tad. The revision has been going up over at deviantArt, where I'm trying to smooth it out more all the way through. This part was easy for me to write, but it's hard for me to find the time to edit and post these days.

    By the way, what is this "done" of which you speak?
     
  6. May 25, 2018 #366

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    “Daddy, it’s been so hard.”

    And Kelly finally was able to do what she’d been wanting to do for months, from the moment her mother had disclosed the affairs and the impending divorce, and even before, starting with the unanswered texts about her sorority dues.

    She had intended to be judicious. There are just so many details about her life that a young woman just doesn’t want her daddy to know. But one thing led to another, and she spilled it all: the suspension, the parties, the alcoholic binges and embarrassing behavior, Gail, Lierman, Lennox, Caleb, the job, her expulsion from school, the review with Phi Gamma, the lies, the blackmail, the deals, the semester she was about to face. All of it—except for the Molly. Through it all her father sipped his Scotch and listened, offering just the occasional comment or observation, but not an ounce of judgment. He laughed at her award of The Bone—“They’re still doing that idiotic thing?”—and asked several questions about her friends: Jenny, Gail’s friends from the West Coast, Crystal and Jenn, and especially Elektra (“There’s something freaky going on there.”) He was clearly impressed each time Kelly described one of her schemes or deals or outright deceptions and blackmail, though he went a bit sour-faced at her confessions about how she used Chip, and Anthony Robertson. And he was agitated and disturbed about the fake facebook page.

    “I’m gonna get someone on that. I’m gonna get some answers.”

    Kelly, who by that point had moved around the table to sit next to her father, leaving her half-eaten plate of pasta and her Manhattan behind, cringed at that response. The last thing she wanted was more people—especially serious people connected to her father—pouring over degrading photos of her. She just wanted the whole issue to go away, but there was no point in trying to tell Ben Kingsley that. He was going to do what he was going to do. Including getting his daughter’s academic career back on track.

    “Don’t worry about getting reinstated next semester. They get a boatload of my money. This kind of thing is why. I’ll make the call myself.”

    And Kelly knew he would, too.

    Throughout her story, knowing her Daddy’s aggressive interest in everything going on at Gail’s house, Kelly did what she could to de-emphasize Gail’s role in her life, and in her mother’s life. If he had her figured for that, he didn’t let on. She also tried to downplay her relationship with Wade.

    That didn't fool him for a second.

    “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”

    Kelly hesitated.

    “I can tell. It’s all over your face. There’s nothing like it, is there?”

    “No, Daddy,” she smiled. She couldn’t help herself. “There’s not. It’s ... scary.”

    Ben Kingsley smiled wryly, as if to say, No kidding.

    “I think it’s about time I met this guy. Maybe Christmas Break you can all come up to the condo.”

    “The Condo.” That was Ben Kingsley’s newest project in his personal empire: his renovation of half the 23rd floor of a Midtown Manhattan high rise for his office and personal residence.

    “That’s really scary.”

    This time he was the one who smiled. “You know, Muffin, there’s a kind of happiness there”—he meant love—“that once you feel it, you know nothing else will ever make you that happy again.”

    Kelly shifted in her seat uncomfortably. He was edging back into that area of TMI about his relationship with her mother and about his elicit activities that she wanted desperately to pretend didn’t exist. Thankfully the moment passed quickly.

    “So this chubby chaser scene on Facebook, this boyfriend any part of this? How’s he about all this weight you’ve put on?”

    Kelly paused. Was he part of that? Wade? Really?

    “Um, I don’t know? He seems OK with it? He’s never pushed me either way. He’s a real gentleman to me, Daddy. I mean, don’t get me wrong. He’s clueless and an insensitive cod, but—”

    “You mean like somebody else we know.” There were drunken tears in the corners of his eyes again.

    “Yeah, Daddy,” Kelly smiled reaching out to grasp his hand. It was the first time they’d touched in the hour they’d sat there. “Kind of just like him.”

    Ben Kingsley gripped Kelly’s hand in return—as always with startling, almost painful pressure surprising in a man his size, even though there was nothing threatening in the gesture. He leaned into Kelly and pulled her into the crook of his arm, where Kelly felt like she was born to fit, like she was made for him, and he for her. She pressed into him and finally let a few tears roll down her cheeks.

    “I love you, Daddy.”

    “I love you, Muffin.”

    They sat that way for an eternity that for Kelly felt all too short, once Ben had pulled himself away. Kelly sat up and sniffled, doing her best to wipe away her tears without completely smearing her overdone make-up. Ben handed her his handkerchief, which she normally eschewed. She honked in it liberally before handing it back mindlessly, like a toddler handing a wet tissue to her parent while watching cartoons.

    “Daddy, I need to get some clothes. A lot of them.”

    “I figured,” he sighed.

    “The bras alone will cost a fortune. And there’s my hair. And my nails. And my—well, the rest of it. They’re all a disaster. I haven’t even been to the dentist. It’s gonna add up to a lot.”

    “Don’t push it, Muffin. Your blank check days are over. Best thing I ever did for you was cutting up those credit cards. Made me proud to be your father when I heard you got that job.”

    “Yessir,” Kelly nodded, wondering if he meant he'd learned it today or learned about it through some other means long ago. It should have made a difference that he’d told her he was proud. It didn’t. Instead she couldn’t help but think if he’d left those cards alone, she’d be thinner today. And losing Phi Gamma probably would have never been a possibility.

    “Daddy?”

    “Just say it, Kelly.”

    “I need Jacquie.”

    He sighed again. “Yeah, I guess you do. Let Justine know what it’s gonna take and she can run it all through me.”

    It was starting to feel like a business meeting again, and each of them had run down his list of agenda items, and the meeting was just about over. Kelly’s mind drifted to her phone, which she had turned off for the review meeting—which already seemed a lifetime away—and had avoided turning on since. She imagined it blowing up with messages and inquiries that she’d have to plow through most of the rest of the evening. Even as she thought about it, her father pulled his own phone out of his pocket and turned it on.

    She realized she couldn’t ever remember a time she’d been with her father that he hadn’t left it on. Never a time, until today, she could remember ever having his full attention.

    “Thanks, Daddy,” she said, moving to push back her chair. “I know you have a lot of things you need to—”

    He grabbed her wrist. Hard.

    “Is your mother in a relationship with this Hedges woman?”

    His mouth was steely, his eyes icy, zeroed in on hers. His grip was forceful. His tone sounded...

    ...desperate.

    What? Is she in a--hunh? Ohmigod! Are they!?

    “What?” Kelly replied, like this was some movie.

    “Don’t play that, Daughter. Answer the question.”

    She hadn’t imagined the possibility. Couldn’t imagine the possibility. Not a question she ever would have considered until it passed her father’s lips. But as she considered it, thoughts racing at top speed, she saw how it all made so much sense.

    “Daddy, I never—I don’t.... I haven’t seen anything that would make me, you know, think that about her.”

    He still had her wrist in his grip. It hurt. His gaze hadn’t wavered. He didn't speak, but he wanted an answer. It was "What are you not telling me?" all over again. He'd never grabbed her like this before! She wanted him to let go!

    “No, Daddy! I have to say, No. Straight answer. There’s nothing that ever made me even consider it until you said it.”

    Ben Kingsley let go and sank back into his chair, shoulders slumped, eyes downcast and dark and tired. Kelly tried not to rub her wrist. It ached. She wondered if she’d need a bandage. She wouldn't be surprised if she got a big bruise.

    “OK, Kelly,” he mumbled. “I’m sorry I grabbed you. I just ... had to know. If it were you, I’m sure you’d have to know, too.”

    Kelly stood up from her chair then placed her soft arm around his shoulders, pressing him into her hip and side. She’d never been on that side of fleshy motherly comfort before. It felt ... right--though she was mindful to avoid pushing her father into the comfort of her matronly bosom.

    “It’ll be all right, Daddy.” She leaned over and pecked him on the cheek.

    Ben Kingsley sat up in his chair, and Kelly stood back to her full height beside him. “Of course it will,” he answered, himself again. “We’re the strongest, luckiest family on Earth, and don’t you forget it.”

    “Of course, Daddy.” Kelly moved back over to the other side of the table where she’d left her sweater and her coat. She slipped the bolero on and hoisted the strap of her purse over her shoulder. “Make sure you call for a ride.”

    “I don’t even have a car. I’ve got a shuttle taking me to the airport.”

    Kelly knew that shuttle would be something more like a private car or limousine.

    “I’m glad we did this, Kelly. We’re gonna make the time to do this more often. Christmas. Or certainly New Year’s. I’ll have Justine book it soon as I’m back in New York.”

    “I’d like that, Daddy.”

    They said their goodbyes, and as Kelly made her way past the maître d’ and out the doors of the club into the cold, crisp night, she wondered if she would ever see him again.
     
  7. Jun 6, 2018 #367

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    [QUOTE="Tad, post: 2233161, member: 47"
    When this thing is done I'd love to hear from your side how the story grew and did or didn't change over time.[/QUOTE]

    I'm wondering, would a chat room discussion be good? Would anyone else like to join something like that?
     
  8. Jun 11, 2018 #368

    StrugglingWriter

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    Kelly’s phone hadn’t blown up nearly as much as she thought it might. She typed out “I’m all right” to the ones who seemed worried and “Promise I’ll get back to you later” to the ones more interested in the details of what had happened at the review. To her mother she typed out “Everything went fine. All’s well, be home in a bit.” Then she started the Beamer and started driving off ... thataway. Somewhere.

    Her pasta had been yummy, but all through dinner she’d hardly been hungry. Now, at 6:30 after a stressful day with almost nothing in her tummy, she was famished. She pulled into the first Taco Bell she saw and ordered a Frito burrito. Yes, to calm her stomach and tie her over until dinner that night with Gail and her mother, but mostly to test if her debit card actually did work.

    The debit card worked. The burrito didn’t. She detoured into the McDonald’s just down the boulevard and got a small strawberry shake and a holiday pie. The new Mastercard worked just fine. So did the shake. For a while.

    Kelly wanted some time to be alone with her thoughts, to figure out just what she was gonna tell Gail and especially her mother at the High Council meeting at the end of this so-surreal day. That was gonna be an experience. Kelly wondered if after what her father had suspected whether she would ever look at the relationship between her mom and Gail the same again. In fact, nothing about Kelly’s life felt the same, from the money in her pocket to her relationship with her father, to the decisions she’d made that afternoon in front of Lindsey and the others, to everything that she’d ever thought about the relationship between herself and her mother, which to now seemed was set for redefinition in every way.

    But more than anything, right here, right now, after scraping by all semester, she kept thinking how much she wanted a new bra.

    A beautiful, comfortable, nice-fitting bra. And more than one. She found her way to the Cotton Walk, all but deserted of shoppers (but not workers) in the brisk chill of the November night air the night before Thanksgiving sales. She wrapped herself in her arms and hustled herself along to the Frederick’s, hyper-aware of the tight bra straps digging into her shoulders and the near-corset squeezing the middle of her back as she looked ahead to imminent relief. Her hips and tummy and thighs and bottom were all squeezed in place by shapewear underneath her Tahari dress, which she now recognized as uncomfortably constricting as well. It kept all those things tight the way she’d needed them to be, not like t her arms and her lower thighs, which jiggled with each stride. She couldn’t help but think back in contrast to that scorching hot day in early July, when pretty much the only thing she was aware of jiggling was her boobs, on exhibitionistic display as she had peacocked her way down the sidewalk for any and all to see.

    What could she possibly have been thinking? Her shapewear barely lipped the bottom of her breasts and supplied almost no kind of support. Her overtaxed, undersized bra did hardly better. Even now she felt her boobs wobble and jiggle with each movement—or more like bounce and jostle and twist and shift. She felt how they slipped out the bottom and squeezed past the sides of the cups, bulging into her armpits and back as she hustled through the outdoor mall. How had she ever been able to ignore this?

    For God’s sake, fat girl, get the right bra!

    And so she did. She spent the rest of the evening with a Hispanic-looking girl named Andrea, almost as stacked as Kelly—though a good deal heavier—while Kelly screened the unrelenting trickle of texts to her phone. The two girls proudly commiserated over the travails of the well-endowed woman, but they both knew who the winner was: as the thinner girl with the bigger boobs, Kelly sat several steps higher on the middle-school-status ladder, something that—though over time becomes relegated to the unspoken level—never seems to fade away.

    Kelly let herself be measured and fitted and fitted again, switching bands and cups and styles until Kelly was completely. She could afford now to be picky. And she had to be, eventually settling with some frustration on two identical styles with a 38-inch band on a HH cup, and proudly embracing a JJ in a 36 with a spacer. Just like she was 14-year-old again. She just didn’t look any further south, lest her self-worth start tanking with her gaze.

    And though in her mind those were all necessity—and in a world with The Code, she knew that word necessity wasn’t an exaggeration—all of it felt like a splurge, one after all the blows she’d absorbed all year, one that she deserved. She did, right? Even her father had said he was proud of her.

    But something had to count as “dessert” on this trip. So without a tinge of guilt she added that 1X/2X lace babydoll she’d had her eye on the whole night (the only one her size) to her bag.

    No way that would make him proud!

    It was just shy of 8:30 when, with a vague promise to call Andrea some time, she stepped back into the cold, neck instinctively craning toward the Nordstrom Rack, her face expressing something along the lines of lust and her tummy floating with butterflies. In the past that would have been all it took before she found herself at the clearance rack. But tonight that seemed like a bridge too far, and she wondered how much she should invest in clothes at her current size, and what the Rack would have to offer a busty 1X like her anyway.

    She was cold, though, and she knew she needed a winter jacket regardless. She hustled to the Lane Bryant outlet, where she cringed at buying a size 18-20 $200 navy blue peacoat—admittedly a little too big, but the only one she could button up over her boobs without looking like a freak. It rang up without a hitch onto the card next to the $320 she’d just spent at Frederick’s. Clearly her limit was at the very least reasonable.

    She smiled the smile of the relieved victorious. Time to head home! 237 Avendale. Home.

    One of the fat girls at Lane Bryant had clearly opened some kind of sub sandwich in the back, and the lingering smell of onions followed her through the cold all the way to her car (How does that happen? Does it follow you? Does it stick somehow to you nostrils?) By the time she turned the engine over, her taste buds were in revolt, and her stomach clamored to follow. But again she resisted the urge to take another turn through the drive-thru. She still had to hit the Phi Gamma house to pack a few things for the long holiday weekend at Gail’s, and she wanted to cultivate her appetite for a proper meal tonight with the girls.

    She slipped into the Phi Gamma house through the brightly-lit front entrance, then shuffled carefully inside to the foot of the stairs in the gloomy glow of the house’s dingy emergency lighting and the shadowy moonlight, which danced through the pale prisms of condensing dew on the windows above.

    It was a little bit scary, keying into the stale, silent house on her own. It was completely deserted except for her, and being that alone had freaked Kelly out since she was a child.
     
  9. Jun 11, 2018 #369

    StrugglingWriter

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    But she wasn’t a child anymore, and she made the climb to The Attic, a long one: her legs were tired from all the walking she’d done, and her feet ached after their subjection to an unusual day in heels—and that at what Kelly knew was her highest weight ever. Weight that had her taking the stairs one at a time on the way up, and pausing to catch her breath a little bit when she reached the third floor. She’d have blamed the heels, but she knew better.

    For the second time today, but for the first day of her life, she was thankful for The Attic’s location in the middle of the house. This time it was because of the long dark hallways, which child or not she couldn’t help thinking about a little bit anxiously. And that made her think anxiously about walking down those dark hallways, which made her think about who might be hiding in the bathrooms down those hallways, which inevitably caused her to realize she had to go. And now that she was thinking about it, anxiously, she really had to go.

    So carefully, and bravely (there could be weirdos or spiders here, you know, and, of course, there was the dark itself to worry about), she shuffled her way down the pitch hallway (but for the dull red Exit sign at its end) and into the bathroom, where, thankfully the only thing to meet her was the motion-censored light and a blast of hot air. Thank Heaven for small miracles—and that inefficient house heating system!

    She waited as long as she and her bladder dared for the ancient overhead fluorescent lights to warm their way up to their full blue brightness before finally hustling her way over to the stall, shrugging hurriedly out of her jacket (letting it fall) and quickly lifting her dress over her head (a practiced gesture). Then came the hard part. She pried and wriggled her way out of her shapewear and into freedom—every inch of her now unconstrained body to wobbling and bouncing in concert with each mighty twist and yank—then quickly rolled her undies past her thighs before dropping herself unceremoniously onto the blessfully warm toilet seat just in time to take care of her business. She closed her eyes a moment to revel in that incomparable warm sensation of bladder relief, until she opened them again with a startle.

    She’d left the door to a community stall open!

    Then mind caught up to instinct and she reminded herself she was the only one in the house. She smiled with embarrassment.

    But now alerted to her environment, it registered with her that she wasn’t alone, because she was naked, and staring at her opposite that open stall door was an old enemy.

    The scale.

    And though it stared back at her as cold and as critical as she felt toward it, if there was a better time to face it, she couldn’t think of one. Why, Not? Her day had been defined by courage. No reason to stop now.

    She kicked off her red heels, dropped her panties the rest of the way to the floor and finished up, then carefully slipped out of the mega-comfortable (especially for an underwire, and a new one at that) bra she’d worn out of the store that night. The air was warm but the floor was not, which mostly had her thinking about walking on her tip toes rather than thinking about the sway and jiggle of her body around itself that these days usually grabbed her attention these days whenever she walked around without clothes. She stepped up to the scale and breathed out like it would matter, then stepped on top, ready to face her reckoning.

    Reading the scale these days now meant she had to step off. She did, let the number register, and hustled back over to the stall to put back on her clothes.

    212.4.

    The number didn’t surprise her in the least. She’d known these past weeks where she was headed. She also knew that finally acknowledging it was always the first step toward dialing that number back. Which she also knew was why she’d waited these long weeks to face it.

    But not quite yet. Kelly was still hungry, and there was a Thanksgiving feast yet to be had.

    The dark of the hallway hit harder this time coming out of the harsh light of the bathroom. Still she breathed easier: this time she’d left her shapewear off and hanging over her arm.

    She felt her way down the hallway and clunked up the familiar small hollow wood stairs to balance on the small landing in front of her Attic room, keying in to be greeted by the unfiltered luminescence of the night’s full moon, framed inside the room’s small high window. She flipped on the room’s dim light, which with the darkness of the house behind her washed over her like a flood. Gluttonous resolve or no, she would have yielded to the temptation of a roaring stomach had there been anything more than a stale blueberry bagel left from Kelly’s dorm stash of snacks, tribute accepted by Monet and Marla after Kelly’s long semester mooching off their good graces.

    Kelly found her dilapidated little pink duffel and filled it with the last of her shirts, pajamas and underwear—all that she’d need for the weekend, knowing the kind of shopping she was going to do instead of laundry over the weekend. The rest of her things—her bedding, little bits of décor, a few beauty products squeezed into the ancient wardrobe that served as the Attic’s tiny closet—she could pack up next week when she had Wade to help her.

    Packing done, she stood in the middle of the room for a room for a moment, turning in a slow circle so she could take it all in: the tiny space, the cracked yellowed plaster of the walls, the water seeped through the seals of the storm window, the cool draught and musty smell, the tiny bunk beds reaching up to the window and the tinier twin nestled against the wall behind her, Monet’s computer table and hard tiny office chair, the ragged cheap Target pink rug they had in the center of the room, the unshaded bulb hanging from the rafter—all the bare necessities squeezed between the decaying, barely inhabitable bones of a 100-year-old house exposed in its ugly truth—ungarnished by the frills and distractions and the other finished surfaces that constituted the public image of the Phi Gamma sorority house.

    I’m really gonna miss this place, she thought, with a melancholy wave of nostalgia.

    “I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy—"

    She didn’t have time to linger and reflect any longer: the message she’d been waiting for all night finally arrived in the form of a phone call.

    “Hey!”

    “Don’t you ‘Hey!’ me!” It was Gail, the burble and chatter of a cell phone in a car fluttering behind her voice. Either that or her voice itself was fluttering. “I flew sober tonight so I could hear what happened, so spill!”

    “Not on your life!” Kelly laughed, reveling in power and attention. “You’re gonna have to feed me first! And it better be something awesome or you get nuthin’.”

    “Nine-thirty at night? After a night on a plane? That’s a hard deal you’re pushing there, Rise-N-Shine.”

    Hard deal. Gail had no idea.
     
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  10. Jun 15, 2018 #370

    StrugglingWriter

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    “Oh my God, Baby! You have to stop doing this before I have a heart attack!”

    Maybe it’s just in the South where there’s this thing that fat women do, where they clutch their hands to their hearts and rock back in forth in place a few times, like they’re so anxious with anticipation that their hearts are somehow going to explode. That’s what Elizabeth did about the time Kelly reached the point of her story after they shared with her Lierman’s letter, where the Executive Council girls told her what it was they wanted her to do for them. Gail at that same point had her head leaning on her left fist, one fat cheek smushed out around the ball of her fingers, two bowls of red down and a third in her glass, all attention on Kelly, smiling. Like she knew the end of this story all along, and that this story had a happy ending.

    “And you,” Gail offered, “told them you’d do it but you’d need a letter telling you that they ruled in your favor before you agreed.”

    Kelly shook her head.

    “Oh, God,” she said, actually clutching her right fist to her bosom the way Elizabeth had, clearly without realizing it. “Tell me you didn’t just agree without the goods first.”

    “No, I didn’t just agree. In fact, I disagreed. I told them no.”

    “Dear sweet Jesus!” Elizabeth cried. “Why, Baby? Why!?”

    Gail gave Kelly a sideways look that said, Did I hear what I think I just heard?

    Kelly twisted a fork of spaghetti marinara and slipped it in into her mouth. It was the first time she could remember actually savoring the flavor food for the last—oh, who knew how long? A month? Elizabeth, who had known enough not to nag her daughter with texts her all night, had also known enough to prepare Kelly her go-to favorites for dinner, and also enough to lay off the wine early so she could find out what happened. She’d broken out a bottle the minute Kelly insisted on telling her the story one dragged-out detail at a time, exactly the way she’d told them about the deal she’d made with Lennox. Like Gail, Elizabeth was already past her second bowl of red, the second bottle of Merlot popped open and half-drunk between them.

    Kelly hadn't had any wine, didn’t need any wine. She was half-drunk on power as she let the details sip out one delicious bite at a time.

    “I told them I was at my breaking point with Phi Gamma, that I couldn’t stay on with them.”

    She paused. Elizabeth shook her head. Gail just kept staring at her.

    “Unless some things changed.”

    “I knew it!” Gail breathed.

    “And?” Elizabeth insisted.

    “Lindsey got upset.”

    “Kellen Elizabeth Kingsley!” Elizabeth snapped. “That’s enough of that! You tell me what happened or else.”

    Kelly stifled a laugh. For the first time in who-knew-how-long, her mother had actually just used the Mom voice on her!

    I wonder what the “else” would be anyway, now that I’m grown?

    But that didn’t keep her from straightening up and telling her Southern mama exactly what she wanted to hear straight away.

    First, Kelly had told the Council girls she wanted out of the Attic and back on the second floor. And, because she insisted Marla and Monet had to move with her, she demanded a corner room. Three beds, no bunks.

    “Don’t tell me you can’t do it,” Kelly had told Lindsey, “now that Kerry Y. is leaving at semester.”

    The girls had looked at each other, but it must not have seemed like there was much to argue. They accepted on the spot.

    So, of course, Kelly had pushed for more.

    “Goodness, child!” Elizabeth laughed. “When did you become your father’s daughter?”

    "I think probably around the time I moved into 237 Avendale," she grinned.

    Gail smiled back but didn't speak. Tears were welling up in her eyes.

    Kelly had then asked for her position back on the social committee. Lindsey and Isla had looked the direction of Kerrie Lipscomb, chair (or maybe former chair?) of that committee, who looked to be in mid-nod before Lindsey gathered the four Execs back together for a brief discussion. Kerrie, Lindsey and Isla hissed a few brief arguments with each other while Brittney towered behind them, arms crossed, a look of “Who are these people?” splashed all over her face.

    “We can do it,” Lindsey’d finally turned around and said. “But only if you run Spring Rush.”

    Ugh! Figures. I shouldn’t have mentioned Kerry.

    It was a crap job. But with Kerry Y. gone, the need was obvious. Beggars can’t be choosers, even beggars who drive hard bargains.

    “Is that it?” Lindsey had asked impatiently.

    “I want to be on the Charity Committee, right in the middle of CMN. And I mean at the hospital.”

    CMN. Children’s Miracle Network. The biggest charity gig in Greek life. And Kelly was essentially asking to be the most important point person for that gig, hobnobbing with the most important people at Carter County Community Hospital. Kelly bet it almost physically hurt Lindsey to think of a fat girl as the face of Phi Gamma in such an important place.

    “You know with my dad I can take that to another level,” Kelly pushed.

    “Half the girls in this house have a dad that can take that to another level.”

    “Yeah, but my dad will take that to another level.” Kelly actually had no idea whether he would or not. Now she was just seeing what she could get away with. Judging by Lindsey’s face, it was pretty much that and not much more, though Kelly still had something else on her mind.

    But Kelly held back on it, moving instead to her demand for written confirmation of the dismissal of all charges before she would consider approaching Lierman about anything.

    Kelly nodded Gail's direction. Gail raised her glass in salute.

    And then Kelly went about smoothing over as many ruffled feelings as she could, swallowing her pride and expressing her thanks, but most of all assuring Lindsey she was repenting of her sins, affirming her authority and expressing her confidence in the wisdom of her leadership, which of course she had just demonstrated. Lindsey in turn reiterated how the entire deal remained contingent on Kelly’s selection by the sororities to sit on Lierman’s board, which she suddenly made seem like it wasn’t the fait accompli she’d represented it to be before.

    They both knew it was bluster: Sorority Row wouldn’t turn down an inside seat at the table like Kelly.

    “And that’s what happened,” Kelly said, finally for the first time that night, around the 11th hour, reaching to fill her goblet with red.

    But that hadn’t been all. There was one final part of the deal she had left out of her story for Gail and her mother. The thing Kelly held back for the very end.

    Formal, loose-armed, not-so-much sorority hugs had been exchanged in pact, and then they were all standing around trying to figure out the right way to end the meeting the way Kelly knew they would. And that's when she made her final play.

    “Before I forget, there is just this one other thing...”

    Lindsey actually rolled her eyes. Isla crossed her tiny arms. Brittney looked at her watch.

    “This may seem like a little thing to you, but it’s something I’ve been needing to get off my chest all semester.”

    Kelly had paused. Lindsey had cocked her head and widened her eyes in dramatic irritation. Like, Yes! Get on with it!

    “Sherry left, and I lost my Big Sis. Do you think someone could take her place for me?”

    Lindsey, Isla and Kerrie all stared back at her in blank surprise. Clearly it was the last thing any of them had expected.

    Brittney slipped in between them all without missing a beat.

    “I’ll be happy to! I always considered you my unofficial Little anyway.”

    And while the other Exec girls stood and watched, the two had embraced in a squishy, warm, tight, not-so-much-sorority hug. Tears had streamed from Kelly’s eyes.

    “Thanks, Brittney!” Kelly had finally choked out. “You’re the best friend I ever had!”

    END OF BOOK TWO​
     
  11. Jul 3, 2018 #371

    StrugglingWriter

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    EPILOGUE BOOK TWO​

    Thursday, December 5

    By the time Kelly walked into Lierman’s office the Thursday after Thanksgiving, she weighed north of 216 pounds.

    Thanksgiving Day brunch had been as colossally indulgent as Kelly had known it would be: turkey, sausage stuffing (and dressing), Ambrosia, homemade cranberry sauce—all the usual fixins. Straight up, without the gourmet twist that the two older, fatter girls usually brought to things.

    Just the way Kelly liked it.

    Thanksgiving was the one time Kelly had never felt disgusted for stuffing herself to her limits. If America had decided it was her patriotic duty to engorge herself with every last delicious bite she could, who was she to argue?

    Such a feast might have been expected to induce a daylong tryptophan coma. By early afternoon Elizabeth was in her post-meal stupor on the couch, and a shaky Gail had retired to her bedroom. But Kelly had shopping withdrawal and money to burn and was more than willing to take on the Thanksgiving sales by herself. She dipped into her mother’s room for leggings and enough layers up top to fight off the day’s cold drizzle and yet still survive the oppressive moist heat of crowded Southern malls on the eve of the busiest shopping day of the winter.

    She opened the door to her (mother’s) room shocked to see Gail standing dressed and refreshed in the living room.

    “You ready to do this again?” she smiled, a twinkle in her eye.

    So they had hit the Cotton Walk together all over again, this time shivering in the cold as they raced from one plus-sized section to the next, sipping the bottle of Phi Gamma tea Gail had slipped into her handbag. Against the chill, you know. Kelly did her best to focus on the moment instead of the 2X shirts she kept having to try (admittedly, only because of her bust size, but that just made them baggy everywhere else)—and the fact that both she and Gail kept trying on the same pairs of size 16 jeans. Today she was a 16, and that was the way it was. Tomorrow could take care of itself.

    And though it was awful to think this way, at least she could take solace that she wasn’t in Gail’s situation. Her diminutive itty-bitties didn’t give her the slightest trouble. It was, of course, her wide, round belly. 2xes left her shrink-wrapped. Even 3Xes swelled out to their max, while drowning the rest of her in excess fabric. Kelly was pretty sure a couple of times she noticed tears in Gail’s eyes, right before she turned away. Gail more or less confirmed it by following the gesture with a swig of Phi Gamma tea and a deep sigh Kelly could see even from the back.

    But otherwise Gail had been filled with energy, wit and laughter, despite the blow to her ego and all the holiday alcohol. They ended their evening at the Cotton Walk where they ended it last time: with enchiladas and strawberry margaritas at Chico’s, the place Gail had first told Kelly her philosophy of fat fashion. And that had been fun while it lasted. But for the first time Kelly could recall, it all seemed to catch up with Gail. So much so that she was a tearful, blubbering mess on the way home, drunkenly, repeatedly proclaiming her pronounced regret for making Kelly drive her home early. Gail even fell asleep on the way, and it took her mother’s unsteady help to shuffle the portly girl the few steps from the garage to her room. She was a no-show the next morning, when they all had plans together to drive to Atlanta and join Wade, who was on the road with the team, in watching the football game. It was another disappointing loss at the hands of their in-state rival, the traditionally mediocre Tech.

    But it hadn’t been a total loss. The food was incredible. At the game, after the game, and even for late night room service and the early morning complimentary Continental breakfast. They arrived home late Saturday afternoon to a bright-eyed Gail, a late lunch, and a 6 of Sapporo, followed by a steady parade of cocktails and tapas until Gail and Elizabeth fell asleep late that night in the living room.

    Wade had come, too, and even while the two alkies had still been awake, Kelly hadn’t given a second thought to not dragging him in and out of her room (again, temporarily), for some “alone time.” Or about dragging a turkey panini or a plate of mac-and-cheese or whatever else struck her fancy in with her.

    Wade had complained to her Monday morning that he’d never been more sore in his life.

    With the holiday smorgasbord behind her, Kelly’s attention turned back to her studies. And though the pressure of grades was off, and Kelly had never been more confident about her finals in her life (even in high school), once Monday arrived there was still plenty of study to be done. She spent most of the week when she wasn’t in the lab or the library huddled at the kitchen table, behind her new laptop, by herself, joined only by the growing stack of cardboard boxes that she kept like trophies—testimony to all the pizza and molten lava cakes that she‘d “killed” during the most productive solitary study time she’d ever known.

    So by late Thursday morning, Dead Day, the day without classes before the university started the finals period on Friday, had known her weight had to be higher. Kelly awoke for a meeting with Lierman about her expected appointment to the diversity council to discover that her mother was showering in the hall bathroom. So she’d slipped quietly behind Gail—zombified at her computer (when she wasn’t glued to the phone) as always during work hours, no matter what was going on around her (How does she do that without eating?)—to use her bathroom. And the scale. It flashed 215.0, but Kelly knew it was a good pound lower than her benchmark scale back on the third floor of the Phi Gamma house. No surprise there.

    What surprised her was when she stepped out of the shower a few minutes later, her mother was in the bathroom in there.

    It wasn’t too much of an exaggeration to say her mother filled Gail’s tiny “master” bathroom. She was squeezed up against the vanity finishing up the last touches on her lipstick. Her large bosom reached near down to the faucet handles. Her great wide hip had the door pinned against the wall. Her huge round bottom practically filled the doorway, just inches away from the doorjamb. Every aspect of her looked massive.

    Not that Kelly really noticed. Tears brimmed her eyes because for the first time in who knew how long, Elizabeth had actually put effort into herself to go out.

    “I thought I’d come with you today,” Elizabeth said nervously. She turned to face Kelly. The door knocked against the wall as her left hip dragged across it and then bumped into the vanity. Elizabeth had to step to her right to make room. Her right hip bumped into the door jamb and her backside banged the door back into the wall again.

    “It’s like bumper cars in here!” she smiled, still nervous, her left hip squished into the corner of the vanity up against the wall. She rested a fat forearm against the doorjamb and presented herself.

    She had on a dress Kelly hadn’t seen before. Not the glorified nightgowns she’d lived in the past four months, but an actual fitted dress—though fitted didn’t quite describe it. It had pleats around the shoulders and tufts at the bosom to accentuate her shape, though the rest of the dress was just a drape to accommodate her 3x or maybe (probably?) larger plus-size tummy.

    “You look beautiful!” Kelly choked. She was wet and naked but she pressed into her mother’s round form anyway. Two massive sets of mammaries competed for space above Elizabeth’s great belly, wedging her hip and cheek into the corner. The door banged against the wall again.

    Campus was, as might be expected, dead. Just a smattering of people crossed campus or sat at tables and chairs, almost all of them studying. Kelly was thankful for that. It was cold, and there was plenty of parking close right next to the Simpson Student Center. Even with that, Elizabeth still took a minute to lean against one of the heavy armchairs in the atrium and catch her breath before the two of them crossing over to the glass-enclosed elevator.

    Kelly didn’t know what they would have done if Lierman were still over at the Psychology Building, with all those flights of stairs.

    The dour student aide wasn’t working today, and the administrative offices were all but empty, but Lierman’s light was on. She opened Lierman’s door with a big smile and pushed her way past the (armless!) chairs as far as she could into the corner, the better to accommodate her mother.

    “Good morning, Dr. Lierman!” she beamed, though actually it was already afternoon. “I’d like you to finally meet my mother. Mommy, this is—”

    “Hi, Dennis!” she interrupted. “It’s been a long time.”

    Lierman looked at her a moment, his eyes squinting behind his little round glasses and his mouth half open. Then he turned his head to study Kelly’s smiling face a moment, then whipped back to face the huge brunette with the even bigger smile filling the doorway in front of him.

    “Elizabeth? Elizabeth Bussey?”
     
  12. Jul 5, 2018 #372

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    Now that was a twist I didn't see coming!
     
  13. Jul 6, 2018 #373

    StrugglingWriter

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    Was it a Right Turn, Blinkers or a Barrel Roll?
     
  14. Jul 9, 2018 #374

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    The whole situation with her sorority was what I'd addressed that comment to, and it was definitely a barrel roll -- carrying forward in the same direction, after some dramatic maneouvers (and in early flight dog fights, generally in a superior position, coming back into line behind the foe who had previously been behind you).

    Blinkers would have been a carry forward but more slowly than usual (like driving slowly with your hazard lights on) such as if she had to take a year off or something.

    Right turn would have been her choosing a whole new direction, saying the hell with the sorority and maybe even college -- but doing so because sheds decided what she wanted and who she was were not the same as a couple of years earlier, rather than from no choice, and probably cracking open issues at the sorority on the way out (a mix of a literal right turn, and the '''right turn Clive' meme).

    Those terms were meant as my memory aid for possibilities I'd thought of for that situation, not a comprehensive catalogue of possible plot shifts!

    Eta: .I lost my beloved Blackberry phone recently, and so am now back to an on screen keyboard on a generic android phone. I fixed the most egregious resultant typos above, but im sure some re main
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  15. Jul 16, 2018 #375

    StrugglingWriter

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    Epilogue 2 Book 2​

    Kelly and Elizabeth stood together, back in Jackson. They were standing inside Kelly’s lofted room, deciding how best to move everything out.

    “I already moved out everything I wanted,” Elizabeth shrugged. Photos and photobooks, trophies and ribbons (almost all participation), cheerleading paraphernalia—anything the mother of a grown only child might hold onto out of her room, which probably amounted to anything with her name on it, or anything attached to even the slightest memory.

    “Well we’re definitely moving out all the clothes.” Kelly wasn’t delusional. She knew she was almost a hundred pounds away from fitting any of those clothes, even though she’d already gotten a start on that hundred pounds by losing two. She just couldn’t stand disrespecting clothes, and so much of what she had was oh-so-nice! No one would treat them as well as she would.

    “I knew you’d feel that way. I already did it.”

    Kelly looked at her.

    “What did you think I was doing all that time I was up here?”

    Kelly knew she’d come up to Jackson last month to take care of the house. She didn’t know that had meant coming up to shut down the house. The gates and doors had all been locked. The dead landscaping had all been removed. There was chain link fencing around much of the property as a theft, and as an emblem of the division between each of Kelly’s parents. The furniture, what was left of it, was all covered in sheets, and the appliances had all been removed.

    “I can’t do anything with it now,” Elizabeth had told her as they passed through ont heir way up to Kelly’s room. “Not until I win and the For Sale signs go up. But the truth is your father won’t want any of that anyway.”

    Packing up the house wasn’t the only thing Elizabeth had done with her week away in Jackson. “AA,” she’d told Kelly during the long drive out. Alcoholics Anonymous, she meant. Kelly’s draw had dropped. “Meetings. I tried going every day. And every day after I went, I came home, packed some stuff with an open bottle of wine, and drank myself to sleep. I did try, though. I think it just—those people just ... they just weren’t my kind of people.” From Elizabeth, that always meant status. For Elizabeth, accepting other people as they are had always been more precept than practice.

    But she knew a place where perhaps she could find her people. Inpatient treatment. Expensive, high-end, spa-like treatment.

    “Your father finally agreed to pay for it, though he finally insisted we officially stay married long enough for the insurance to cover it. I don’t know why. It’s not like he couldn’t just flip for the whole thing out-of-pocket.”

    Her treatment started next week and would last a month. In Nashville.

    But that hadn’t even been the big news.

    “I’m going to get the surgery.”

    Weight-loss surgery. Bariatric, the most radical of all the weight-loss procedures, cutting down her stomach and replumbing her intestines. She’d visited a weight loss clinic in Memphis, a couple in Nashville, even one in Birmingham before settling on the local clinic in Jackson. “I always knew it was going to be them. They don’t have as many programs, but I’m tired of running away. My problems started here, they’ll end here. And I’m not sure I can do it if I’m close to the house.” She meant close to Gail’s house, with its next-level bingeing and endless boozing. “Besides, I have a serious crush on Dr. Mebane.”

    She wasn’t actually serious. Mebane, senior surgeon at the most successful surgical practice in town, was famously handsome and respected around these parts. He was also close to 70. Elizabeth had been joking about an affair with him for years.

    All of it scared Kelly: mother without her wine, without her food, without her kitchen. Without her home and her husband. And all of it hundreds and hundreds of miles away from her daughter. Most of all, she was scared of losing her mother to the surgery.

    “Mommy, are you sure you want to do that? Why don’t we try losing the weight together?”

    “We’ve tried it together all our lives.”

    Kelly’s mind jumped to her conversation with her father at Thanksgiving. Have we? She wondered whose story was correct.

    But Elizabeth was still talking. “You were so successful keeping the weight off at school I hoped once I got there we’d be able to do it. But that didn’t work out too well, did it?”

    “It’s too dangerous, Mommy.”

    “I weigh 365 pounds with no end in sight, Baby. How much more dangerous can it be than that? You said it yourself. My Baby needs her Mommy back, and I have to do something.”

    A month ago. Apparently, she really had taken her speech to heart. Kelly wanted to regret every word she’d told her mother that day, but she couldn’t. She knew she was right. But it didn’t feel like she was getting her Mommy back. Just the opposite. It felt like her Mommy was slipping away from her.

    “I support you, Mommy,” she had lied, slipping every bit of Phi Gamma sincerity into her voice she could. “In every way I can.” She was glad she couldn’t hug her mother while she was driving. It might have given her lie away.

    Back at the house Kelly had learned that her mother had already started Weight Watchers. She had an appointment with the nutritionist and her first official weigh-in that very day, after they finished at the house. She’d leave the clinic with a workout plan, and if she could prove to them she had what it took to make the surgery work by losing enough weight, and if the lawyers finally resolved the remaining issues between her and her husband, she’d have the surgery by March. She already had the apartment rented, the furniture moved in, the gym membership in place, the Weight Watchers group arranged, even the AA meeting schedule posted on the refrigerator if she needed it, because the inpatient clinic in Nashville had insisted on it.

    Elizabeth Bussey Kingsley—eventually to be Kingsley no more—was ready to move forward. And as much interest as she’d expressed in exploring some post-degree work the week before after her two-hour meeting with Dr. Lierman—or as it turned out, Elizbeth’s old college classmate Dennis Lierman—apparently moving forward meant moving back away from campus.

    “Nothing,” Kelly finally said.

    “What, Baby?”

    “My stuff. We can get rid of it all. I don’t need to keep anything.”

    Kelly was ready to move forward, too.
     
  16. Jul 16, 2018 #376

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

    mostly harmless

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    The great white north, eh?
    Whoa! Having passed a crisis point I thought things were going to build quietly for a while, then this.

    Does epilogue 2 book 2 mean there will be a book 3 coming? (I don't remember a first epilogue, but it may have faded in the mists of time)
     
  17. Jul 19, 2018 #377

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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    My efforts for now are focused on revising the two books and putting them up at deviantArt. It looks like what I have now will be three books, with perhaps more to come.
     
  18. Jul 19, 2018 #378

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

    mostly harmless

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    The great white north, eh?
    Ah, so nothing new for a while then. We'll, when the revisions are up maybe I'll have to re-read from the beginning.
     
  19. Jul 20, 2018 #379

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

    StrugglingWriter

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  20. Jan 4, 2019 #380

    squeezablysoft

    squeezablysoft

    squeezablysoft

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    Wow, I just finished reading the part about Kelly's dinner with her father, and I must say I'm impressed with how this one day put a whole new spin on the course of events in Kelly's life. I'm also rather impressed that Kelly technically had 4 meals in quick succession (the steak, the pasta, Taco Bell and McDonald's) and fought off the urge for a 5th (the Lane Bryant sub sandwich incident) en route to yet another (dinner with her mother and Gail), even if she did barely touch the 1st, didn't finish the 2nd, and the 4th was only dessert. "Cultivating her appetite" indeed! Reminds me of the first time I hit up 2 fast food joints back-to-back (Wendy's followed by Subway, Wendy's had the bacon cheeseburger plus nuggets plus fries and a drink for $4 deal plus it was summer so 50 cent Frosty, and Subway has the best cookies in all the world, and they were literally right next to each other, so obviously I pretty much had to do it). :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    LifelongFA likes this.

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