When One's Guard is Lowered by The Observer [Author's note: A post by current moderators in November noted that Ye Olde Library tales are no longer directly accessible from the forums due to some containing content not suitable under current eligibility standards. Transfer of stories was offered by contacting of a current moderator. I wholeheartedly concur with the tighter restrictions. The change affects access to a number of tales by myself (transferred circa 2004 from the now defunct old AOL Hometown "Pound Positive Paradise"). Requesting transference, however, does present a problem. All of these stories fall within current guidelines; however many need correction of typos and, in some cases, revised story development. Some of the tales have in fact already been corrected and reposted elsewhere. I am therefore happy to begin the process of transference, but by myself. ] [Summary: This story is weight related, but not so much with gaining. It is the basically factual tale of how two reticent people from dysfunctional backgrounds came to be a happily married couple.] Carolyn Winters was 26. She had quite successfully and intentionally shut men out of her life. It was understandable, considering horrific abuse from her step-father and witnessing two other disastrous relationships with men by her mother. Margaret Winters had tried to make up the tragedies to her daughter by generously filling her plate as a girl with whatever she was willing to consume --- and Carolyn eagerly obliged. Now, still living with her mother, who exceeded Carolyn's 235 pounds by perhaps sixty, she worked as a beautician. Most of her clients were other women. She was reasonably talented, a good conversationalist, and very friendly to all her customers. As a result her appointment book was normally full. This activity plus the extra pounds insulated her from most contacts with men. She felt safe, and that was the way she liked it. Tony Mueller was no more outwardly interested in women than Carolyn. Orphaned at age four when his mother died of an overdose, never having had a Father or known relatives, bounced about from foster home to foster home until he reached 18, then joining the army for four years, his self-esteem in matters of the heart was near zero. What standards Tony had, and those that he possessed were luckily positive, were but a fortunate coincidence of mentors and friends he had had over the years. But he considered himself a "blue-collar Joe" who had to make his own way against the stacked deck of the world. He had come to be content driving a truck and helping fix up houses for resale on the side. On Wednesday, May 7, Tony and his semi had left at 4:00 a.m. with the expectation of being back by 1:00 in the afternoon. Plenty of time to still get a much needed haircut, he thought. But he hadn't counted on a multiplicity of delays which delayed his arrival back until 5:30 --- all the barber shops were closed. Tony liked structure in his life and he had really been intending to get his haircut --- so, when he saw the beauty shop lights still on, he went to a pay phone and called to see if they would take an appointment for a man. The owner, Helen Whiting, asked Carolyn if she was willing to take a last minute haircut for 7:30 and Carolyn accepted. Tony had supper in a local coffee shop and then went to get his ears lowered. No one else was in the shop as Tony related to a sympathetic Carolyn the litany of what he had been through that day. Tanned and lean, eight years her senior, concerned about his job rather than focusing on her, Carolyn for some reason didn't feel she had to protect herself and simply listened with courteous remarks. But something about her kindness touched Tony. When the job was done he paid his bill, thanked her for listening, and gave her a $2 tip for taking him on such short notice. Carolyn was impressed with his generosity --- the bill had only been $9 --- but thought little of it at the time. But, several weeks later, Tony was back for another haircut, this time scheduled in advance. This process was repeated several more times. He had become a regular, but always seemed focused on himself and his activities. Carolyn had no idea how her gentleness and kindness were affecting the truck driver's calloused heart --- indeed, he was not at that time yet admitting to himself what was occurring. On October 10 it had been raining and Tony was running late again. After completing his paperwork it was after 7:00 as he headed home in his pick-up. He noticed a disabled car to the side with its lights flashing. At first he was of a mind to just call REACT on the CB and let them know of the situation, but then he noticed that the full figured driver was his hair cutter Carolyn. He immediately pulled over to assist her. Apprehension swept over Carolyn as the pickup stopped, then relief when a familiar face emerged and walked towards her vehicle. "Mother kept telling me to get Triple A and now I wish I had," she lamented. "What seems to be the problem?" asked Tony. "I really don't know --- it started a little slowly, then I went through some water at the intersection and everything just died," she replied. "Probably just water on the wires," said Tony. "Why not let me push you to the next service station where the mechanics can look at it tomorrow? Then I will take you home where you can get into some dry clothes before you catch cold." Somehow Carolyn felt she could trust her by now regular customer. So, within an hour they were at the two bedroom rented house shared by Carolyn and Margaret Winters. In gratitude for rescuing her daughter Margaret Winters insisted that Tony stay for dinner. He accepted. As the conversation developed during the evening the rain continued. Tony noticed some small leaks developing in the ceiling, also the balkiness of the plumbing, and some much needed paintwork. It soon turned out that the landlord was totally absentee and kept the rents low in exchange for an absence of complaints. That was why the two ladies tolerated the conditions. Tony, a landlord himself although his hostesses did not know it, was shocked. His tenants were under standing orders to let him know immediately if anything was amiss. But he did not want to seem too forward and, anyway, he was appreciative of the the good food. He therefore proposed a trade to Margaret --- for a meal as good as this once a week he would help fix some of the problems, beginning with the roof. This bargain held through the Spring, after which everything imaginable had been fixed. Along the way Tony on two occasions had determined events to which he could escort the Mother and Daughter, each respectively twelve years older and eight years younger than himself. Everything was going smoothly and Tony's avowed self-sufficiency was slowly crumbling. Carolyn as well was enjoying the relationship more than she wanted to admit. By this time Tony had admitted to the ladies that he owned his own home outright. This was due to his having benefited from a four-member partnership which over eight years had purchased, upgraded, and resold a number of rundown residences before it ended. His profits from these transactions had given him the money to make his place free and clear. That was why he had the tools and expertise to fix things for the Winters family. But he did not tell them the rest of his story --- until the day he came over and found Mrs. Winters and her daughter in tears. "The house is being sold," Margaret sobbed, "and anyplace as nice would cost twice a much to rent. We have three months to find something, but I don't know what we are going to do." Tony knew exactly what the answer could be --- but wanted Carolyn's co-operation before he said anything. "Margaret, are you willing to trust Carolyn alone with me for about two hours," he asked. "I think I may have an answer, but having her along could help determine things more quickly." Margaret consented, as did Carolyn, although totally confused by the statement. Tony was silent, thinking a mile a minute about how to phrase what he intended to say, as they drove the ten short miles to Oak Meadows Drive. They pulled up and stopped in front of a nicely landscaped large house with a generously sized granny cottage in the back. "See that cottage?" he said. "Its slightly larger than the place you have now and has two bedrooms plus a nice living room and kitchen. In two months the present tenant will be moving to be with her children in California. If you think you and your mother would like it I believe it can be rented for what you are presently paying." "Sounds very nice, but why am I here first without her?" "Because I wanted your opinion first --- and because there is something else I need to tell you privately." he explained. "Both the big house and the little house are presently rentals. The people in the big house have saved up money and are looking for a place to buy. At some point soon they are going to do it." "How do you know all this --- and what are you trying to say?" stammered Carolyn. "The answer to the first is that I own them. When a partnership I was part of dissolved this property and one other were allocated to me. "As to what I am trying to say, well --- you know that I have worked for nearly twenty years day and night without thinking of women and marriage. And I realize that you may prefer just being friends. But I think that front house would suit you very well, especially if you were sharing it with a man that cared for you as I do." "Is this a proposal, Tony?" she exclaimed. "I don't know if its premature or how you feel about it, but, yes, I feel that, as much as I understand love, I love you and would like you to be my wife. Whether you say yes or no, the back cottage is still available to you and your Mom. But now you know why I wanted to see you alone." Carolyn's head was spinning --- she had come to appreciate Tony's simplicity and caring, he was the only man she had ever really liked. But they hadn't really dated and done that many things together. And she had always seen herself as a contented fat spinster, not a bride! Now this self-made blue collar landlord was offering to make her queen of the manse? "Could we just tell Mom about the cottage and then have a courtship period? Get to know one another better," she stammered. "You are a very nice person and I value our friendship --- but you must realize girls like me don't get many proposals. I just need some time." "At least I'm not rejected," he grinned. "The timing was forced, I know that, so I am very willing to wait and have a courtship period --- as long as it doesn't last forever. But what do you mean, though, "girls like me?'" "Tony, surely you can see I weigh almost 250 lbs --- and with a fat Mother as well, having kids might make me even larger. Just cooking for you, in fact, would probably do that. Is that what you really want?" "I see nothing unattractive about either your pounds or those of your mother," replied Tony. "You are both beautiful people --- and I will take exception defending you to anyone who says otherwise. But you are also very kind and a wise counselor as a person. Give yourself credit for being attractive all around. If you do gain more pounds I hope that part of them come from having kids and not just cooking for me ----because you would be an excellent mother." Carolyn began to glow inside and soon the feeling of acceptance and contentment that she had desired all her life began to bubble beneath her ample bosom. Together they told Mrs. Winters about the cottage, then privately Carolyn told her mother about Tony's "almost proposal." They began dating as a couple, leaving Margaret at home, and six months later were engaged. After another three months they were married and went on to have three children, two of them as prone to plumpness as Carolyn had been. Having Margaret around to supply goodies for the tykes no doubt contributed to this condition. Carolyn did gain another seventy pounds or so, most of them associated with her pregnancies, but Tony only smiled and continued to let her know daily how much he loved her.