The Syndicate - by Ashblonde (~FFA, ~BHM, Romance)

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Busy writing
May 8, 2006
Part 15

I was disappointed that I didn't hear from Grant before heading out to meet Jason. I had spent the afternoon agonizing over how I would tell Jason that I wanted to leave the Syndicate. It wasn't like I was a slave to the cause, but we had a lot of history and trust built up. So much was at risk in our organization that the stakes were very high for getting in or out.

When I walked into Blake's, Jason was waiting for me in the lobby. It was a dimly lit bar, so he took my hand and led me through the maze of high walled booths to a hidden corner of the room. That's when I got the shock of my life. My ex-boyfriend Brian was there, looking self-satisfied. And sitting next to him was Grant, looking into my eyes with the same stunned reaction.

I went numb trying to process what was going on. I felt light headed and my ears started to ring. Jason saw that I was faint and helped me sit down. "I knew this was a dumb way to go about this," he muttered at Brian.

Grant jumped in angrily, "What the hell is this?"

I was frozen. "Ellie, are you okay?" Jason asked.

"Elllie?" Grant demanded.

"Eleanor," Brian smugly clarified.

I managed to finally find words, "Is this some kind of joke? Why are you here?" I directed my mounting anger at Brian.

"Ellie, just calm down, take a deep breath," Brian's patronizing style hadn't changed.

"Don't tell me to do anything," I would always be bitter about the way he tried to manage me.

"We're all on the same team here," Jason interceded, "Let's not lose sight of that."

"On the same team?" Grant and I exclaimed at the same time.

"I didn't know until last week," Jason stated flatly, as if I would be happy with the news that Grant was a member of the Syndicate. "But once we realized you two were hooking up, we had to have a meeting."

I looked at Grant. He was seething and he wouldn't look back at me. "Grant, did you know this?" I asked him in an attempt to make sense of our mess.

"Obviously not or it never would have happened," he spat out, still not looking at me. I felt the pain of my heart cracking in two. "You screwed up," he shot at Brian.

"I didn't know she was there until you were already in," Brian tried to set himself up as blameless. Reality was finally sinking in to me that Brian hadn't ever left the Syndicate, and Grant was one of his deployed operatives.

"But you knew while I was still in there and you kept it to yourself," Grant wouldn't relent. "You knew who she was, and you let me... I fell..." he stopped, unsqueezed himself from behind the table and stormed out.

I jumped up to run after him but Jason grabbed my arm and pulled me back while Brian reasoned, "Just let him go, he'll cool off."

As much as it pained me, I knew they were right, at least partially. For now I had to let him go, but I wasn't sure he would ever cool off. I was feeling my own anger as well. "I'm so done with all of you," I threw at them with venom.

"Come on, Ellie..." Jason started to plead with me.

"I really thought he would resist you," Brian interrupted him, looked intently at me, digging a deeper hole in my heart.

"No way, Ellie's the master," Jason shot back, in some lame attempt to flatter me. "She owns it."

"But the guy was made of ice. I thought he was way too cold for anyone to crack, even Ellie," Brian made me feel even worse. "But she certainly has a way with the fatties," he smirked.

I was nauseous that they were talking about us in the third person, like we were pawns in a game, so I ran outside for air. Brian came after me, "Ellie, please, don't be angry," he took a more caring tone, brushing the tears off my cheek.

I looked up at him. He was still very attractive and had put a little weight back on, but I had lost so much respect for him. "You played me, Brian, how am I supposed to feel?"

"Before you point fingers, you broke the rules, you know, getting involved with him," Brian interjected.

"So what? You and I broke the rules once too," I countered.

"No one is innocent here so just take a step back and think about this," he fell right into his arrogant style. "It was never going to last. For all you knew, he was a Freedomist sympathizer. How were you ever going to make that work? Were you going to shut your brain off for the rest of your life? Be his pretty little housewife? It's really for the best that you know everything now so you can move on without him," he defended his position like it was a campaign speech.

He was right about one thing, I had been deluding myself in playing make believe with Grant, but his logic didn't put my heart back together. I was still a mess inside; and on the outside as well. I turned away from him to stifle a sob when he turned me back around and hugged me. I instinctively accepted it, until he spoke again, "Ellie, you know we were good together."

"No we weren't," I pulled away from him, "It was always a struggle to be who you wanted me to be."

"What are you talking about? I was lucky to get a girl like you," I knew he was referring to his formerly fat physique.

"That's superficial crap, Brian," I disagreed. "You always played the weight card to act as if I had some power over you, when the opposite was true. You constantly got me to do what you wanted and treated my opinions like they were rainbows and kittens."

"Come on, let the past be the past. We can start over," he bushed his fingers through my hair and put his finger under my chin to look at me, "Damn, Ellie, I didn't think it was possible for you to get more beautiful, but you found a way." Then he leaned into kiss me.

I pulled away, "Brian, what are you doing?"

"Even if we had our issues, you have to admit, the sex was incredible," he tried to kiss me again. There was a time that we were great together in bed, but our history wasn't helping his cause now.

"Brian, you just destroyed my relationship with the man I'm in love with, and now you're hitting on me? Are you insane?"

"You and I make sense, Ellie, we believe in the same things," he held my shoulders. I raised my eyebrow at that; I wasn't so sure we did anymore. But he kept trying, "I'll even put more weight back on for you," he shook his modest belly, "I know what you like," he forced me into a kiss again.

It was bad enough that he had treated me like his little doll, but to physically coerce me made me feel totally violated. I pushed him away and ran at lightning speed back to my apartment. I knew that he only wanted the dutiful girl I once was, not the independent woman I had become.

Jason texted me a few times that night, but I heard nothing from Grant. At some point I stopped crying and fell asleep.

The next day, I woke up wishing that it had all been a bad dream, but when I looked in the mirror and saw my red, puffy eyes, I knew it wasn't. I wanted so desperately to curl up in Grant's arms and feel good again, but that was a pipe dream now. I tried to analyze how I would talk him into giving us another chance, but every logical scenario I played out in my head ended with him painfully rejecting me.

The calls and texts from both Jason and Brian continued. I tried to contact Grant but he was totally unresponsive. The following day I finally agreed to meet with Jason. I couldn't even imagine seeing Brian again without rage pumping through my veins.

"You look like crap," Jason sat across from me at a picnic table in the park near my place.

"Thanks," I moped. I put my sunglasses on to hide my pained eyes.

"I know you're upset with us but I honestly didn't know everything going on with you until the meeting the other night," he said. "I didn't even know who he was until a week ago. I felt awful when I found out you were actually in love with him."

"You didn't know? Obviously you guys were watching us," I was skeptical.

"Brian knew it. After you took off, he admitted that he had pictures of you and Grant on the street. He said the way you looked at him, he knew."

"Bastard," I muttered.

"Ellie, we're all in the game. You signed up for this too, so you've got to own your part of this mess and let go of some of that anger," Jason reasoned. "Besides, I can't blame Brian for wanting you back," he reverted to his smooth talk technique with me.

I half-smiled at him, "Enough with the charm already."

"You know I tease you, Ellie, but you're a remarkable woman. I was always a little jealous when you were with someone new. But I wasn't willing to grow man boobs," he laughed, rubbing his lean torso in jest, "So I knew we'd never happen."

"Jason... always with the fat jokes," I sighed.

"I try to find the humor in life, something you should do more," he was trying to cheer me up in his own way.

"I'm not coming back, Jason. I'll be out of the apartment at the end of the month." I wasn't sure where I was going but I knew I couldn't rely on the Syndicate for my backing any longer.

"I figured as much," he sighed, "but Brian will still try to keep you in. He thinks that any woman who could break a guy like Grant could go very far in our line of work."

"I didn't break him," I became upset at the mention of his name, "It was love."

He sighed more at my passion for Grant, but continued, "Just so there are no hard feelings between us, I have something for you." He reached in his pocket, pulled out a piece of paper and pushed it across the table to me. "You didn't get this from me. And I'll deny it and throw you under the bus if you tell anyone you did."

I unfolded it and saw an address scribbled on it, 2367 Harlow, #788. I knew that Harlow was a main street in Fairview. "Is this what I think it is?"

"Fairview," he confirmed with a smile, "Take your best shot."

I hugged Jason and thanked him for giving me a new chance at Grant.



Library Girl
Staff member
Library Mod
Jun 21, 2008
:) - admittedly, this denouement was on the top of my list of options ever since the Delacroix painting (knowing it's backstory, that it's Goddess Liberté leading the people to the other ideals of the French revolution Egalité and Fraternité - doesn't necessarily match Freedomist ideology ;) )

Still - really loved it and am now impatiently waiting for the grand finale!


Busy writing
May 8, 2006
So here I am, finally at the end... yes, I know, I took way too long, but this was a labor of love.

I probably did a little too much foreshadowing in terms of Grant's real identity, but his mystery was so sexy to me, I couldn't resist playing that angle up ;)

So, without further adieu...


Busy writing
May 8, 2006
Part 16

I sat on my bed looking into my closet, agonizing over what I would wear when I went to see Grant. I didn't want to dress in something that reminded him of Nora. I wanted to look good for him, but that was such a "Nora" thing to do. I had to re-introduce myself to him as Eleanor and I didn't know her so well lately. I decided on a white fitted button down shirt, dark rinse jeans and brown riding boots. It was a sunny but chilly autumn day, so I threw on my belted brown pea coat and headed out to catch the 5:15pm train to Fairview.

When I got off the train, I was well past nervous and pretty much on autopilot. As I was walking down Harlow Street, I realized I couldn't have described a single person I had seen since I left my place. Normally I was hyper aware of everyone around me at all times, but I had been so altered by my heart.

I followed the half-mile walk to Grant's place with my mind blank over what I was going to say to him. When I got to the door and rang the bell, everything I wanted to tell him suddenly flooded my brain and I panicked. Maybe I could do this tomorrow?

And then his door opened; there stood Grant, looking big and handsome as always, but different. I had never seen him in jeans or sport a five o'clock shadow before. His casually delicious look made me even weaker in the knees as I noticed his untucked plaid button down shirt barely covered the droop of his expansive belly. I tugged hard at my coat belt, pulling it tighter into my waist, just to keep my hands to myself.

As soon as he saw me, he looked down, "Now is not a good time, Nora. Or Ellie, or whatever your name is."

I took a deep breath for courage, "When is a good time?" I insisted.

"Honestly, I don't think any time would be a good time for this," he kept his eyes down.

I reminded myself that I was there, at his door, risking it all, because he meant everything to me. I wasn't going to back down easily and just walk away. "If you're going to tell me you never want to see me again, you'd better look me in the eye to do it," I raised my voice,

He looked around outside the hallway and pulled me into his place, "I thought you would have learned a little more discretion by now," he snarled at me, with his eyes now intent on mine.

"I don't care anymore," I told him, glaring right back.

"Apparently you didn't care before either," he lashed out with obvious anger.

"What does that mean?" I returned his anger with my own.

"When you thought I was a Freedomist, you didn't try to conceal our relationship at all. You were so obviously using me," he accused me.

"If I were using you, I would have never seen it through," I argued back. "You know how the game works... you and I were not about that."

"You mean the way you operated on the Congressman?" He was still burning over my liaison with Dan.

"That was part of my job," I shot back, "What would you have had me do, host a tea party for him?"

"Our relationship is built on so many lies," he shook his head.

"We were both blindsided here, Grant. You're acting like I'm the guilty one. How was your charade any different than mine?"

"Because we were motivated by different things," he glowered at me with more anger.

"Oh, really? And what was my motivation? I'm curious," I indignantly set my hands on my hips. As much as I wanted him, I wasn't going to let him tell me what was in my head or my heart.

"I was an easy target," he shrugged his shoulders, "I was the desperate fat guy with all the information, right?"

My chest felt tight as my anger transformed into another kind of frustration I knew all too well. This was going to be about his weight. "You mean that through all of this you still didn't believe me when I told you how I felt? How I still feel about you now?" I ran out of breath and tears welled up in my eyes.

But he just ignored my words and stuck with his perception of things, "It's as much my fault as yours, I guess. I let this happen. Being as big as I am usually keeps me insulated from this kind of drama. I wanted to believe that you were actually interested in me, so every time you pushed me for more I just suspended reality a little longer," he calmed to a whisper.

"Do you really think I could fake this? Those nights we spent together?" I instinctively moved closer to him, "It was incredible with you. Our bodies fit so well together. And the way you looked at me while we made love, I know you felt it too," I closed my eyes and the tears that had been welling up in my eyes streamed down my face.

He looked at me helplessly without speaking. He was so obviously conflicted... almost pained by my words. He took a deep breath and then he begrudgingly whispered, "I did."

"And why would I be here now, trying to get you back, if it was only part of some stupid Syndicate plan?" I pressed my case.

He shook his head like he knew that what I was saying was true but he still couldn't process it.

"Grant, please, believe this, if nothing else, I'm in love with you. I don't even know your real name, but I'm miserable without you."

He paused, swallowed hard and reached his hand out to shake mine, "Grant Sumner."

"Eleanor Gray," I shook his hand. It felt so good to finally feel his warm touch again.

He then turned and paced. Watching him move slowly across his big open room was a thing of beauty. He ran his hand through his jet black hair, "Something still just doesn't add up," he murmured.

"What?" I was anxious from the emotional rollercoaster of our conversation.

"Eleanor, you're a beautiful woman. Believing that you would want me, no strings attached, makes me feel like such a huge fool, I just can't get past that. No one else would believe it, so how can I?"

"Honestly, Grant, besides being brilliant and capable, have you ever looked in the mirror? You're incredibly handsome, you have beautiful eyes... and kissable lips," I smiled coyly.

He turned a little red and gave me a sheepish grin, "Thanks."

Then I mustered the courage to express my attraction to his size, because that was obviously where his insecurities were well entrenched, "And I adore your body, Grant. You turn me on like no man has ever before." He turned redder, and his smile transformed into nervous bafflement, but I nodded anyway in unspoken reassurance. I could see that him understanding my attraction to his size was going to be a long-term project.

He changed the subject by diving deeper into admissions about what was actually going on in his head during our mutual masquerade. "I left the Davis campaign because of you," he whispered. "It was getting so hard to control how I felt about you. When you kissed me I had to get out."

I was still surprised that he had developed feelings for me while we were still in the Davis campaign, as it had always seemed so unbearably one-sided. I had no idea that he had struggled with the same intense yet confounding feelings. "The job with the Independent wasn't the only reason?"

"Not exactly; we knew that a strong Independent could throw the election to the Equalitarians but Brian had someone else in mind for that job. When I told him that I needed to get away from the distraction of you, he changed course... and now I know why Brian was all too happy to get me away from you."

"The distraction of me?" I folded my arms across my body. I was a little hurt by his terminology.

"I wasn't supposed to fall for anyone, least of all a Freedomist," he winked, "but you were persistent."

"I wasn't supposed to either, Grant, but I couldn't help myself. I fell for you before I could even figure out that it was happening. By the time I found you in Brighton, I was done for," I acknowledged my crush.

"Yeah, that day," he rolled his eyes and smiled, "I couldn't believe I was sitting there offering you a job after I had just gotten away from you."

"You make me sound like I was a disease," I was laughed nervously at his backhanded compliments.

"Something like that," he flashed a smirky grin.

"I left the campaign over you too, you know," I admitted.

"But I was already gone," he was confused.

"That was the problem," I explained. "I was done with Davis, his weakness was already exposed. But I stayed as long as I did because of you."

"Was I a target then?" he asked.

"I wanted to figure you out so badly," I acknowledged my initially clandestine interest in him. "But it became less about politics and more that I just wanted to get closer to you. When you left, I was crushed. It wasn't because you were a Syndicate target, it was because every day I hoped that would be the day you would call me into your office, grab me and kiss me," I got close enough to him to caress his chubby side. I was no longer able to resist taking pleasure in the way his body felt.

He put his arms around me and gave me a kiss that said we were more to each other than the duplicity that originally brought us together. And with that kiss, he pulled me further into his big body, showing me how much he still wanted me.

He picked me up, took me to his bed, and confidently moved over me. He took total command while I watched his plump fingers unbutton my blouse, unzip my jeans, strip me to nakedness and consume my body with his own. I was bewildered by the irony that for all the time he acted tough, his physical confidence wavered; and now, the emotional risk of revealing his feelings for me actually enhanced his sexual prowess.

After we made love, I lay in his arms with his body totally enveloping mine. "When we were in the office working together, I used to think about this. I would imagine what it was like to be naked in bed with you," I whispered. "But you didn't even want to kiss me," I reminded him that he had rejected me.

"It wasn't just the kiss that scared me off. You were so naturally beautiful that day; like you are now," he stroked my cheek and rubbed his hand along my waist the way I wished he had when I was pressing pins into his congressional map. I beamed with joy at his honesty and sweetness.

"But you were the strong one, keeping me at bay," I giggled. "You really got me fired up about that immigration data."

"You know I was testing you," he admitted.

I nodded, "I know that now. Did I answer like a good Freedomist?"

"You answered like an independent thinker, which made me like you even more."

"And yet you were still an operative, sworn not to complicate your mission with some pushy girl."

"It wasn't just a Syndicate thing," he sighed. "I was frustrated with the whole situation. I couldn't have you for so many reasons."

"What reasons? Once I left the campaign, I was fair game. You were with an independent candidate and I was getting away from politics altogether," I reasoned.

"You have to understand, Eleanor, I do what I do for the Syndicate by summoning every last shred of confidence I have. The only advantage to being this heavy is that I seem to intimidate people and keep them at a distance. You threw me off... Around you I just felt like a big, fat oaf."

"You are not an oaf," I kissed him, letting my fingers settle into one of his side rolls.

"But the big and fat can't be denied," he grimaced.

"And that's a good thing," I ran my hands around his soft nakedness. He seemed to be more accepting of my touch as he began to understand that my feelings for him were genuine and unconditional.

"So... now I have to tell you something else," Grant interrupted our Zen-like moment.

I raised an eyebrow at him. What now? I thought to myself, wasn't everything already out on the table?

"I was offered a job in Kensington, working for the Governor," he shared.

I was stunned. Kensington was nearly a thousand miles away. But working for an Equalitarian governor in a high profile city not only gave him a chance to go legit, it put him on a fast track for a national position. "Wow," I was excited for him, "that's a great opportunity." I was immediately thinking about how easily I could move there to be close to him.

"And you'll be offered a job with Senator Michaels," this news quickly cooled off my dreams.

"You mean with Brian?" I cried out. My blood turned to ice. Brian was pulling the strings again and wanted me to be his pretty little puppet.

"You don't have to be a genius to see what he wants," Grant observed bitterly.

"He wants me back, I know," I acknowledged miserably. "I won't do it. I can't work for him."

"It's a pretty smart plan, actually," Grant was resigned in his tone, which made me ache. "It's all or nothing; if either of us decline, we're both out."

I was speechless. The terms were severe. If I refused to work for Brian, Grant would miss out on an amazing opportunity. And if I took the job with Brian, I would probably never see Grant again. I kept scanning my brain to figure a way out of Brian's proposal but all I could feel was helpless.

"He's more connected than you realize, Eleanor," Grant could see me working out the scenario in my head. "He believes that you still love him and all you need is some incentive to go back to him. He just got me a job as insurance."

"I don't love him," I was dejected. "I don't want to be in the same city with him, much less work for him. But Kensington is too good for you to pass up, isn't it?" I conceded.

"Yours is a great opportunity too, you know," Grant suggested like he was offering condolences. I was crushed that he seemed to be accepting our fate, especially while his belly was so intimately rubbing against me while we faced each other in his bed.

"Is this what you want?" I asked him pointedly, still not sure exactly what either of us was thinking anymore. "I have to know that in your heart, this is really what you want."

He sighed deeply and shook his head. "No, Eleanor, it's not."

"Grant," I pleaded with him, wrapping my arms around his substantial circumference, "Tell me what you truly want."

"I want to believe in something again," he whispered. "That sounds cliché, I know, but I don't want to work for the party anymore. And I don't want to wonder what might have been..." he stopped himself.

"I feel the same way," I smiled, lifting his face back to mine. I had always been so attracted to his cool distance and mystery. But at this moment he was so beautifully vulnerable that I fell another step deeper in love with him.

He paused to look at me with a sweet and loving gaze. But then he gave me a playful grin and rolled over on his back with his hands folded behind his head. "Then it's a good thing that I've been offered another job."

My heart pounded and a knot reformed in my throat, "Are you trying to make me crazy with all of this? I can't take any more surprises," I pounced on his soft chest, causing a jiggle to erupt throughout his sexy torso.

"This is a good one," he rolled himself back towards me and rubbed my arm, "At least, I think it is."

"Please tell me it doesn't involve you moving a thousand miles away from me," I pleaded.

"Not quite that far," he reassured me. "I actually made some great contacts with the Independents; they want me to run a new campaign in Eastport."

I was elated for him. Eastport was a progressive, diverse city on the coast and a big opportunity to do well with an independent candidate. But even better, it gave him the chance he needed to break free from the Syndicate and still do what he does best: win elections.

"What about Brian?" I cautioned him, imagining how he might react when he doesn't get his way. "He could blow this for you if I don't go with him."

"I'm not worried," Grant confidently said, "I have much more dirt on him if he doesn't let this go. He may love you, Eleanor, but he loves himself more."

"He's usually smart enough to cover his tracks," I was skeptical.

"Not once it became about you," Grant smirked. "He lost focus; made mistakes... and I caught them."

"I don't want to ruin him, Grant, I just want to get out." I had mercy for Brian even though he didn't quite deserve it.

"I have one more thing to tell you," he started to say.

"Now what?" I was exasperated. What more could he spring on me?

"About this campaign in Eastport... I need a smart writer who knows their way around both Freedomist and Equalitarian strategies."

"That's a pretty special skill set," I hoped he was saying what I think he was saying.

"I could only think of one candidate," he winked, "and she's incredibly beautiful too."

"I hate her," I joked in a vain attempt to conceal my excitement that Grant wanted me to join him.

Then he became serious, "Eleanor, I don't know what you see in your future, but if you want the job, it's yours."

"Does that mean you want me to come with you to Eastport?" I needed total clarity of his intentions considering that I was under the influence of his intoxicating chub nestling into my body.

"Do you want to work for me?" He paused and then sheepishly smiled, clarifying his question, "Do you want to be with me?" He asked, like I hadn't already said I did in fifty different ways.

I nodded with a big grin, "I've learned more about myself in the last couple of weeks than I did in several years with the Syndicate. I can't live that lie anymore. I want to be proud of what I do and who I share my life with."

"I love you, Eleanor," he finally said the words that I'd wanted for so long to hear him say.

"I love you, Grant," I wrapped my arms around as much of him as I could. No more Nora, no more Ellie... I was finally free.


Qit el-Remel

Geek and FFA
Oct 7, 2005
I second Shuefly's sentiments. (By the way, I could swear I'd written a FFA named "Elinor Grey" into a story I wrote way back when, since lost to the Interbutts. Great minds think alike?)


Active Member
Jun 18, 2009
This story was wonderful! I think I fell in love with Grant! Thank you so much :)
Mar 28, 2006
Thank you. This story is a wonderful gift. It had me waiting with anticipation at each installment, and left me breathless and teary at the end. I felt like I just went on a roller coaster ride and fell head over heals in love, and was fed to the point of exploding, all at once. It is so good that it leaves me speechless, like looking at an incredible painting for the first time. I don't understand the artist's technique, exactly, but I know it's really good and that it is totally and utterly captivating.


Jan 9, 2006
I found this story because Stevita mentioned it on a podcast as one of her favorites, and I can see why--it is OUTSTANDING. What a fun world to play in.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
This story remains one of my faves of all time! It has everything I love: political intrigue, plot twists, very sexy smut scenes and amazing characters.

Who is that? If I may ask?
The podcast they mentioned was an episode of Woods Weird Wellness. You can find it with a quick Google search. The podcast is feedism-centric and focuses on a lot of positive aspects of this kink while examining its intersection with social issues such as gender, class, etc. Wood also has their own paysite where they have videos and a YouTube where they do fun things like feedist-themed tarot readings. I was on their podcast once and I got the chance to rec my favorite stories; this is one of the ones that made the cut!


the bitchy one
Nov 26, 2010
This story remains one of my faves of all time! It has everything I love: political intrigue, plot twists, very sexy smut scenes and amazing characters.

The podcast they mentioned was an episode of Woods Weird Wellness. You can find it with a quick Google search. The podcast is feedism-centric and focuses on a lot of positive aspects of this kink while examining its intersection with social issues such as gender, class, etc. Wood also has their own paysite where they have videos and a YouTube where they do fun things like feedist-themed tarot readings. I was on their podcast once and I got the chance to rec my favorite stories; this is one of the ones that made the cut!
Thank you so much for the answer!

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