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 The alarm clankered off the bedside shelf and smacked the floor, still ringing. Jenny groaned. She slid a leg from the duvet and fumbled for it with her toes. Eventually, she nudged the off switch, and lay on the bed in peaceful quiet a little more.

 It didn’t change anything. She was awake, though not willingly so, and it was past seven am on a sunny Saturday morning. Her Freshman year of college was over, and her summer had just begun.

So too, had the start of her lousy summer job.

“This sucks.” Jenny said, to the reflection in her bedroom mirror. She brushed her tousled hair away from her eyes. Pouting back at her was a skinny redhead on the cusp of her twenties. “This sucks so hard…”

 She gazed pitifully at the cheer outfit hung over the mirror’s corner. She’d gotten through tryouts three months before – the first time she’d ever made it onto a cheerleading squad. It was three months more till summer camp – three months of hard grind so she could pay her way to get there.

 Out of sheer longing she slipped off her pyjama pants and eased the silky red, white and blue number over her body. The smiley sequin-eyed dolphin in the centre billowed. Over last Christmas she had banished the pesky five pounds from her belly and thighs, finally cementing her transition from a somewhat chubby little girl to a slender and sexy young woman. She smiled as she brushed her hands across the loose half inch of material along her side, then frowned as she found another half inch running across her chest. Losing a cup size had been a bummer, but it was no big deal. She had finally dropped down to two pounds within her goal of weighing one hundred and twenty. She’d never think herself perfect, she knew, but in her eyes that was pretty damn close. 

 She turned and put her alarm clock back on the shelf, then paled when she saw it read 7:50. How long had she snoozed for? She hurriedly stripped off her cheerleading outfit and threw it at the mirror. The shoulder strap caught the corner, then it teetered over and struck the floor with a smash, shedding a sprinkly cloud of glass over the rug. 

“Shit,” she muttered. “There goes my first paycheck.”

She didn’t have time to sweep up the thousand broken pieces. Instead Jenny found a place for her cheer outfit to hang at the back of her wardrobe, and threw on a dark blouse, her favourite jeans and blue Converse. She took the stairs down two at a time, shouted a hasty goodbye to her mother, then burst through the door and made a run for the bus stop.

 

 She had seen an advertisement for her new workplace on the bus she caught, just on time. It was an ice cream parlour called Toni’s, they were newly opened and they were in need of new waitresses. She thought she’d be in contention with hundreds of other cash-strapped teens for a job at somewhere so central, but to her surprise she’d been the first to call, and the first to get hired.   

 She made it there ten minutes late. The building looked small on the outside, with its pink tinted windows obscuring the vast interior. Jenny looked around in wonderment. The setup was like a sushi bar, but for bowls of ice cream – a conveyor belt stretched to a kitchen and back, spanning the length the room. To the side one could buy choc-ices, ice-cream sandwiches and cream sodas. Everything was pristine, and eerily quiet, though Jenny quickly remembered they didn’t open till noon.

“Jenny, right?”

The redhead spun to face a kindly old lady in sharp red heels.

“That’s me” she smiled.

“Toni Delacroiss. I’m so glad to meet you. I hope you had a safe journey here?” 

“Yeah, I got a little stuck in traffic…”

 In truth she’d gotten off at an earlier stop to hit a café. There she heartily made up for the breakfast she’d missed. She ran a hand through her hair and down over her face, quickly checking she hadn’t left any lingering crumbs from the delicious deluxe blueberry muffin for her new manager to see. It had been so good she’d stopped a few moments more to enter their number into her phone. The place was called Beauregarde’s, and as it turned out, they did deliveries.

 She took a quick tour of the place and got a brief on her duties. It was pretty simple – all she had to do was go round and collect empty bowls every ten minutes or so. The conveyer belt did all the serving for her. Pretty soon she knew all she needed to know, and it was only half eight. Still three and a half hours till opening.

“You might be wondering why I asked you here early,” Toni smiled. “It’s because I need somebody I can trust. I’m new to this town, this state, this whole country. I had to move on outta the old country last year, and honestly I’ve barely shared a word with anybody since.”

Jenny raised an eyebrow as she heard the words, and picked up the flecks of a southern Italian upbringing in her boss’ voice.  

Is this a place a front? she wondered. She’d read enough crime novels to get her spidey senses tingling. Seriously? Is this lady from the Mafia?

“What I’m asking is if you’ll help me test some of my latest produce,” Toni smiled. “I’m paying you to eat ice cream, basically.”

“Oh…” said Jenny, a little loudly.  

“So that’s a yes?”

“Yeah yeah. Sure!” she nodded.

Jenny was all up for the idea. Who’d turn down free ice cream? Or ice cream you got paid to eat, even?

Maybe this job won’t suck so hard after all.

 

 As well as waitressing, Jenny arrived at nine every weekday and Saturday morning to sample Toni’s latest ice cream flavours. She served them three scoops each in a bowl, and there were usually five or six to get through. Toni was full of ideas for new flavours and combinations, as she puzzled her way to selecting which to promote in her advertisements. In Jenny’s mind, the Treble Napoleone Supremo was a massive hit. 

Testing flavour after flavour in Toni’s company had let Jenny get to know her a little better. She was half Italian, half French, and she’d owned ice cream parlours all over Europe before switching to the States. 

“I got tired of all the red tape,” she said, when Jenny asked her about the move. “They’re not so nitpicky about GMO over here.”

“Genetically modified ice cream?” said Jenny, a little bemused.

“No, no, dear. It’s the milk. It comes from my own little herd of cows from out of town. They’re such darlings. They make twenty times more than your regular Holstein-Friesian. And it’s twenty times as tasty – more myristics and oleics, you see.”

 Toni talked a lot of science, and Jenny smiled a lot and pretended to understand. It had never been her favourite class but learning a little more about her food was interesting enough. The chocolate sauce was sourced from Venezuela, the cones from Belgium, the sprinkles from England. All of it tasted exquisitely good. Better yet, Jenny got to take a carton of her favourite of the week home with her. It made an excellent dessert after every dinner.

 Midway through another shift of taste testing Jenny got a call. It was Hayley, her best friend.

“Up for practice?” she asked.

“No…gotta finish work…”  

Her bank balance had slipped out of four figures even before the last semester, and she desperately needed the money for California.

“I don’t get why you guy are going there,” said Hayley. She was a cheerleader too, but they went to different colleges. “There’s coaches, beaches, gym halls all in Florida, right?”

“I know…” said Jenny. But Costa Mesa, CA was where her newfound friends were going to be, and having worked so hard to get into the cheer squad, she didn’t want to risk alienating herself by missing out on their annual summer camp. It would mean three whole months of work to pay her way to get there, but it’d be worth it. Especially with it being so delicious. 

Jenny agreed to do a practice the following week. Then she licked her lips and tucked into another bowl.

 

 Two weeks passed, and Jenny woke up again one Saturday morning to find herself every bit as lethargic as before, if not more so. Coupled with her morning malaise was her discovery that putting on her size eight jeans was getting more than a little finicky. The two halves of the button simply would not meet. 

“Come on…fit…” Jenny mumbled. “I wore you last week. Why can’t you just do as I say?”

A finger’s width of flesh spilled out from her sides with each determined pull. She paid it no notice.

“Stupid pants.”

 She finally breathed out. Her bellybutton peeked out again, but her eyes were scanning the creases along the legs. They had been washed recently. Which meant they could easily have been shrunk. 

 Jenny made a mental note to tell her mom to switch washing powder, then slipped out of her size eights and into a spare set of tens. They felt a little snug, but were otherwise ok.

 Another two weeks changed the scenario. Her mother had switched washing powders, but now it was her size tens that were giving her trouble. She put that down to poor stitching – they barely looked bigger than her eights anyway. Her size twelves, the largest she had,  awaited her in the back of her wardrobe by the cheer outfit. Two weeks more and even they were testing her patience.

 Her quest for appropriate pants finally brought her to Hayley’s door, after she’d offered to lend her some sixteens belonging to her older sister. She’d insisted on putting Jenny on the scale first though, out of curiosity.

“One hundred and seventy-seven pounds. Whoah.” Hayley whistled.

“That’s not fat,” said Jenny, shrugging. Her softer shoulders wiggled just a little. “That’s not like, two hundred.”

“It’s getting close.” Hayley said in a low voice. “What are they putting in the ice-cream you’re eating?”

“All natural ingredients…” said Jenny, quietly.

I mean, the cows may or may not have been grown in a test tube, but they’re cows. They’re still natural, right? she thought to herself.

“Aren’t you worried?” said Hayley. “It’s been a month and a half and you’ve put on like, forty pounds.”

“It’s more like fifty,” said Jenny, in a low voice. “But I don’t wanna focus on it.”

She stepped off the scale.

“I can lose weight at Costa Mesa. That’s what summer camp is all about. Training. So I can be in tip-top shape for nationals.”

“I don’t get it.” said Hayley. “Last year you were fretting about getting under one-thirty. Now you’re fifty pounds up and it’s like it doesn’t even bother you.”

“It doesn’t,” Jenny replied, truthfully. “I know a couple girls my weight on the cheer squad.”

“Yeah, the girls who are six foot plus. Not five foot six.”

“Shut up. My weight’s just a number. Getting to one-thirty was my goal last summer. My goal this summer is getting to camp. That’s all that matters.”

“You can’t just ignore what’s going on around you,” said Hayley, her eyes skimming Jenny’s rounded hips. “Tunnel vision is never a good thing.”

“Says who?” Jenny grinned. “There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, and I’m gonna make it there.”

“Yeah” Hayley mumbled quietly as they packed up. “Not unless you get stuck there along the way…”

 

 Jenny worked overtime at Toni’s through to the end of the month, and was rewarded with a tasty paycheck on the weekend. She had accepted Hayley’s invite to her mother’s fiftieth at an Italian restaurant in the centre of town, and as a treat to herself she clandestinely ordered a big bottle of succulent rosé wine from over the bar. At midnight they’d eloped for a night out, hitting a string of bars, before crashing back at Hayley’s, snacking on potato chips right through to the morning.

That had been a month ago, and while they’d spoken on the phone they hadn’t seen each other since. Besides Toni and her mother, Jenny hadn’t seen much of anyone else at all.

But what she had been seeing was a lot more of herself.

 Still half asleep, Jenny staggered down the stairs to breakfast. She grimaced as they creaked with every heavy footfall. She made a fleeting effort to tug her shirt down from under her jiggling breasts, then groaned as it rolled up again to expose her bulging waistline. She used her other hand to steady herself along the balustrade. The tug and pull of her newfound weight was a foreign feeling to her – no longer could she glide gracefully, but only awkwardly waddle as her fattened frame shifted from side to side. Her belly carried her downwards, quite literally leading her to the kitchen, and preceding her as she waddled through the doorway.

 Jenny’s mother looked on with concern as her chubby daughter rifled through the breakfast cupboard. Her occasional comments about her eating habits were proving ineffective. Since taking up her job her appetite had grown threefold. She didn’t even wait to find a bowl, spoon and some milk before tucking into her chocolatey cereal, seizing fistfuls straight from the box and cramming them into her mouth. With her cheeks filled up with crispy goodness she found a bowl and poured herself a colossal portion, on which she poured a whole pint and a half of full-fat milk. She ate messily – flecks of milk stained her pyjama shirt. When she finished her first bowl and poured another, her mother was moved to say something. 

“Jennifer, how’s cheer practice going?”

“Great.” she mumbled as she slurped up the chocolatey milk.

“Hayley came by yesterday when you were out working” she said. “She wondered where you were. I said you’d be free today. How about you go practice at the gym together”

Jenny grunted. Cheering wasn’t her idea of fun at this time in the morning, and especially not on an increasingly full stomach.

“I’ll call her.” she said. Her mom gave her a soft smile. 

Eventually, after finishing her breakfast, nipping out for a muffin, eating an extended lunch and letting it all digest, Jenny got her on the phone. She packed her cheer outfit and a chocolate bar and got on the bus to a gym just two blocks from Toni’s. She found Hayley browsing a magazine inside.

Hayley failed to recognise her friend at first. She’d known Jenny since her chubby junior school days, but she’d never seen her so round. Hayley quickly glanced down at her feet and took her in from her toe to the top of her head. Her widened thighs touched from her knees up, even though her knees themselves weren’t touching. Her waist was lost under a ring of wobbling fat, merging with her equally voluminous hips. Her newly developed boobs rested on her paunch of a stomach, gently rising and falling as she breathed. Chubby cheeks framed plump, luscious lips, which parted into a puzzled smile.    

Hayley though back to the girl Jenny had been. The nascent muscles she had worked so hard to forge had melted away beneath a soft layer of fat. She had surpassed two hundred, easily.

“Yeah…” she stuttered. “Hey. Let’s err…let’s go inside”.

 They found the changing rooms and Jenny locked the plastic door of a booth. She peeled off her home clothes there and produced her cheerleading outfit. She picked off the specks of dust then lifted it over her head. She was surprised - but allowed herself a little smile - when it jammed along her bosom. Over the last month she had suddenly found herself blessed with a burgeoning rack – it had made getting into her bras a pain, but she wasn’t complaining.

 Her satisfaction simmered down though when she found the tightness heightened as she pulled the outfit further and further down her body. Her breathing grew shallow as she pressed in her paunch, trying to slip the sequin-eyed dolphin over the top. She felt the pressure along her ribs. Her fingers slipped as she wrenched down harder. The outfit was still stuck annoyingly above her belly button.

Frustrated, she crouched down and pinned the edges of the skirt down with the balls of her feet. She grunted as she slowly stood up. Her outfit, pinned down, slowly shuddered over her jiggling belly. She bit her lip as she felt it clench around her hips. She pulled it down at the back so it covered up her ass, then stood up.

She heard the unmistakeable sound of a seam splitting. She gave her outfit a quick check, then found the source of the noise. She fingered the little tear, the size of a quarter, just beneath her left breast. She lowered her arm to cover it, then unlocked her booth and made for the door.

No sooner had she put one foot in front of the other than the outfit tore with a giant scratch.

“Shit!”

 Jenny spun in panic. Soft, supple fat burst through a tear that stretched down her side, exposing her from her hip to her shoulder. She clamped a hand over the cleaved material before it could explode off her, and hurriedly shuffled back into the changing rooms before Hayley could see. There she pulled off the outfit and brushed her hair out of her eyes and inspected the catastrophic damage.

She nearly cried. Half the stitching had ripped, and the seams on the other side had been tested to the max. The dolphin in the middle had been stretched out of its proportions. The slender sea creature now looked, in Jenny’s eyes, kind of fat.

 She put her clothes back on, grunting as even though she’d come to the gym in leggings, her belly was getting in the way of her bending down.

What’s happening to me?

 She pulled the pants over her sides, still red and angry where the cheer outfit had pressed them most.  She wondered there and then that she might have overdone the eating that day. Clearly, she was a little bloated. She made another mental note to skip her ice cream dessert that night, and maybe the muffin the next morning. In the meantime she was sure a little practice would soon get her back to normal.

“Let’s start with some stretching.” said Hayley after Jenny tied up her hair and joined her outside.

 They did their forearms and shoulders first, which were fairly easy, then got to work on the legs. Jenny felt her butt and hips pool along the floor as she lay down and lifted a thickening thigh into the air.

“Hnnnghh….hhnnghhh…”

She struggled to reach her toes – just like before, rolls of fat bunched up around her midsection. Hayley saw her straining and helped her by pushing her foot downwards. Hayley stared spellbound as the fat creased up on Jenny’s middle, as she finally tapped her toe with a chubby finger.

 They went on to cat and camel stretches. Jenny rolled back onto her knees, stretched out her arms then turned crimson as she passed a little gas. She quickly kneeled up and pressed on her ass. Another fart escaped, muffled by the floor.

I’m definitely too bloated… Jenny thought to herself.

 Hayley, her face down, pretended not to hear anything. She led the way when they practiced jumps. They went through hurdlers, spread eagles and T’s before she caught sight of Jenny gasping, and decided it’d be better to ask her what she wanted to do.  

“Cartwheels.” she said, resolutely. Jenny was sick of jumping. She’d worn herself out practicing low Herkies, and had no desire to add to the burn in her thighs.

“Ok,” Hayley agreed. “I’ll go first.”

She readied herself, then skipped, jumped and executed a perfect tumble, landing each arm and leg silently, with poise and grace. She raised her arms in a finished position.  

It was Jenny’s turn. She took a deep breath, then jumped and turned, catching herself with her left arm, then her right. She spun one hundred and eighty degrees, and suddenly got a faceful of her own boobs as they flopped in their bra to her chin.

Knocked off balance, her elbow buckled. Her face hit the floor first with her breasts, then the rest of her body tumbled after with a heavy thud. Her butt jiggled and shook upon impact.

“Ughh…” Jenny moaned. “Owww…”

The pressure on her belly left her winded. She gasped for breath as she squirmed, nursing the pain in her knee.

“Are you ok?” Hayley asked worriedly. She dashed over to her friend and grabbed her arm. Jenny rolled onto her back. Her belly had escaped the confines of her stretchy top, wobbling over her waistband. Hayley pulled against her wrist then juddered forward as her strength failed her. Jenny was a little heftier than she’d thought.

“You’re too hea - …sweaty…” she stuttered, saving herself. “Here, let me get a better grip.”

 Hayley took hold of both of Jenny’s arms and with a grunt from both of them she got her back to her feet. Jenny groaned as she briefly set her weight on her knee. Hayley offered her a shoulder and Jenny lifted a pudgy arm on top. 

“It’s not broken, is it?” said Hayley.

“No…I think it’s just bruised…” Jenny huffed.

Kinda like my pride she thought to herself. How had she screwed up something so simple so badly?

“We’ll try again tomorrow, ok?” Hayley said, trying to sound cheerful.

“I might need some time to recover.” said Jenny. She knew her knee would still hurt the next morning, and she had no desire to be sent sprawling on the floor again.

“Maybe the day after?”

“Maybe next week.” Jenny had a double shift at Toni’s that day. That meant double the dollars. And crucially, double the ice cream.

“Um…ok. Sure. Are you ok getting home?”

“Yeah yeah. I’m fine.”

 They said their goodbyes and Hayley left the gym room. Jenny hobbled out, but not before setting her sights on a vending machine. She stocked up on enough chocolate to satiate her for the bus ride home. The day had felt long, the stairs to her room were doubly hard with just one good knee and despite the lingering sugar buzz, Jenny napped through to dinner the moment she cosied up in her bed.

 

 Jenny used her bruised knee as an excuse to partake in no real movement whatsoever. The next morning it had swollen to twice its size. She stayed cooped up in bed for a whole week, and after a phone call to Toni, arranged for her ice cream to be delivered to her door. Her mother brought up the rest of her meals, and the occasional box of Beauregarde muffins on request. Seeing her daughter hurt had soothed her attitude towards her rising weight.

 Once the swelling had gone down Jenny became a little more mobile, just enough in her mind to trek from her bedroom to the kitchen and back. When the bruising had vanished completely she made a return to work. She had to ask for a larger uniform first though – a week of virtual immobility followed by a week of reclusiveness had rendered another skirt useless. A new work outfit was shipped to her house, and Jenny was pleased to see that her hips no longer creamed over the beltline. 

 Her other clothes were another story. Having bought a whole new wardrobe at the start of summer, Jenny could not budget for anything new if she wanted to get to summer camp too. Thus after rolling out of bed on her days off, Jenny would stubbornly shift her fat into the old clothes. Each week the ordeal was taking her longer. What had started as few minor adjustments to sooth slight pangs of tightness became an awkward shuffle over jiggling boobs and thighs. Then it became an unwanted workout – sucking her belly in, pushing it out whilst bouncing, squeezing, straining and cursing until finally, the routine turned into a full-blown wrestling match, pitting her sprawling, softening figure against relentlessly unforgiving clothing.

 Dabbing the sweat off her chubby face, Jenny peered over her breasts and pressed down her belly to get a better look at one of her increasingly few and far between victories from her bathroom. After a long fight her jeans button had burst off, leaving her waist to splay out the zipper. Her voluminous hips were keeping them up – keeping them taut and tight. Elsewhere her bra had snapped at the back. Only the pressure of the overfull cups against her painfully tight T-shirt was holding it in place.

“Well…two out of four…ain’t bad.” she huffed with a shrug. Her shirt rolled up from her thick waist to expose the shadow of her panty line. She’d lost sight of it as soon as she’d finished pulling it up her thighs, when she let go with a snap and watched it disappear between her rolls of fat. 

 What was she saying? It had taken her the better part of an hour just to get to this state, and not just because the clothes were too small. Months of unchecked weight gain had drained her stamina to almost nothing. Every bounce, every bend, every squeeze had pushed her further into exhaustion, so much so that midway through she’d stopped just to hit the pillows and rest, gulping air in greedily. Even now her cheeks were red, her brow was sweaty and her breathing was still ridiculously heavy.

 She bit her lip as her eyes caught sight of the scale. Something was wrong and she couldn’t put it off any longer. She had to know.

Her belly bunched up against her as she bent over and laid the scale on the bathroom floor. She took a deep breath and stepped on.

Another ten pounds…she resolved. Maybe twelve…

 She realised she couldn’t see it. Her breasts and belly filled up the view of her feet. She shuffled and shifted her boobs apart, then sucked in her belly. Then she titled her head down, pressing her double chin on her chest. At last, she could see.

The needle was teetering on two hundred and fifty-five pounds.  

 Jenny whimpered and let go of her fat, reburying the hard truth between her chubby feet. It was still there, though. She had piled nearly seventy more pounds on to an already voluptuous frame. In one summer, she had doubled her size.

There was no denying now that she’d gotten huge.

“How did I let this happen…” she whispered. The thought of summer camp, once a hive of excitement, now filled her with fear. How could she perform looking like this? She thought of the cheer outfit she’d have to wear, a size goodness-knows-what, the sequins popping off as she hopped and twirled. How could she perform like this? She thought of the pyramid, of a dozen hands pressing into the squishy fat on her butt and sides as half a dozen girls struggled to raise her weighty body. She thought of collapsing onto the bleachers, feeling them creak as she gasped for breath, while the other girls gossiped, giggled and pointed at her overflowing bulk.   

Jenny shook her head and let her long red hair tumble back into her eyes. She didn’t want to see any more of herself. She felt nervous and scared. But more than that, she still felt hungry.

“Fuck it” she mumbled. “Just…fuck it…”

 She was a fat girl now, and there was no going back – not in this summer. She kicked the scale away and waddled into the kitchen for another snack. She ignored her mom’s protests that it was nearly time for lunch, and soon she was back on her bed, stuffing her face with bacon and cheese.

 

 The day of reckoning came sooner than Jenny would have liked. She was spared a journey to California on the plane because her mother had offered to drive her there, all the way across the country. She pictured the tight squeeze through the aisle, the awkwardness of having maybe to ask for a seatbelt extender, the even greater awkwardness of having someone sit next to her and being unable to avoid spilling out onto their lap, and hastily agreed. With the money she saved, she’d finally managed to buy herself some bigger clothes. She packed them into the trunk of car, and herself in the front seat, with a little wiggling.

 The car was no more comfortable than the plane would have been. It was an old model Chrysler, and the seatbelt was cutting into her. Every so often she would feel her mom’s hand brush her side as she adjusted the stick-shift, and earn a stern tut.

“It’s not my fault…” Jenny groaned. She couldn’t press any more of herself against the passenger door. The Arizona sun was hotting up the metal, and heating up her body in turn. Even with the air con on full blast, her heavy curves were warm and sweaty.  Her auburn bangs were matted to her brow. The shower she’d had at the motel en route had felt like nirvana, even more so than the huge barbecue meal she’d amassed for herself at a local steakhouse at dinner time. But both felt like they were ages ago. She was damp, she was uncomfortable, and even though she’d done nothing but sit in the car all day, she was tired. Of course, she was hungry too.

 Her body wobbled as the car veered off the highway onto a dirt track. She was closing in on Costa Mesa. Her humiliation was just heartbeats away.

She weighed as much as any two of them put together, and probably more. Her mother made her get back on the scale three days before the journey and told her, as she had no chance of seeing herself, that the reading was two hundred and eighty-eight pounds.

“The diet starts right now.” she declared.

 Jenny was too numb with shock to protest. Her mother left her standing there, rooted to the spot with embarrassment. She smoothed a reluctant hand across a belly bigger than a basketball, and pinched at her doughy love handles. They filled up her palms and more.

 Eventually, the standing left her back aching and she sat down, and a little while later she quietly recovered some ice cream to spend her afternoon with. There was no way she could lose all ten stones plus of her added bulk in that time, so she saw no point in trying to start shedding even a little part of it. Even if she cut her weight gain back by half, her friends’ shock would be all the same. Jenny decided her diet could start once she’d passed the camp sign – till then she could splurge to stave off the thought of the moment. She’d since packed another seven pounds on to her overburdened body, though by now she’d gotten so big she could barely notice a difference.  

 Saying goodbye to Toni had added at least five of those pounds. She had never bothered to inquire about the ice-cream, though she quickly sussed the funky milk had definitely swallowed up her metabolism. As a parting gift she’d been left with the month’s remaining stock – a whole crate’s worth of mouth-watering dairy goodness. To save it melting away, she’d had to stuff herself with it practically all in one go.  When it inevitably sunk into liquid, Jenny took a glass and drank it up. Over two days she had gotten through half – the rest she managed to cram into the freezer for later.

 She pushed one last double bar of sticky, melted chocolate halfway into her mouth as she saw the shadow of a sign loom in the distance. She pushed it the full way in, chewed and swallowed.

The glint on the sun flashed behind the wooden board as the car trundled underneath. Jenny stared at the multi-coloured lettering.

It read ‘Wellspring La Jolla’.

“Huh?” She gulped down the rest of her snack. “Mom, this isn’t Costa Mesa.”

“I know honey. This is a different sort of camp.”

“Where are we?”

“Don’t worry,” her mom said, blankly. “You’ll feel right at home with your new friends, I’m sure.”

They drove through a tunnel cut into the mountainside, and Jenny whipped out her phone. In the darkness realised the truth. Anger and denial coursed through her first.

“Fat camp?!”

“It’s for your own good, sweetie,” he mother said immediately. “You’re to stay here for one month, I’ll be in touch. And if you think about leaving, remember they’ve already debited your bank account, so you might as well stay. I gave them your details yesterday.”

“Mom!”

“Jennifer…please…”

“I can’t believe this. How could you do this to me?”

 Her rage was tempered by sheer humiliation. Not even four months ago she was a cheerleader, sleek, fit and beautiful, on the road to grace and glory. And then summer happened – muffins, takeout, chocolate, Toni and whatever the hell she was putting into that deliciously addictive ice cream… 

And then split seams, and burst buttons, and stretchy tops, and huffing and puffing and growing…and growing...

And now, fat camp.

“Jennifer, how you could do this to yourself? Haven’t you looked in the mirror lately?”

Jenny hadn’t looked in a mirror since the first day of summer, all those months ago. As the car neared the tunnel’s end she miserably pulled down the visor to shield her eyes from the light. Then she slowly flicked open the little mirror on the inside.

 She tried to look defiant, but the girl who looked back at her simply looked overindulgent. But it was her, and she knew she had to accept it. She looked at the mirror, then her body, fattened up beyond her imagination. Then she looked at the chocolate wrappers screwed up in her hand. Finally, she looked at her mother.

 And as the car cruised out into the sunlight she smiled as she set her new goal. 

 

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Hello Curvage! I'm ShrubberyLogistic, just making a foray here from my usual abode at DeviantArt. Check my page out if you like what you see - or alternatively just stay here, since I'll soon be shifting my other stories from last year to this forum. Thanks for reading, and I hope to unveil some new pieces for you in good time!

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Hey thanks for the  story,  that was a good read!  Very well  written :-) 

Hope to read  more from  you. 

Cheers

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