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chrissy

Picturing Perfect

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“Okay, so we were able to meet or exceed our target and raise 436 accounts to the business tier this past month...” Zoey started. We were in our quarterly update meeting and Zoey was presenting to the board. As her manager, I couldn’t be more proud. We were really doing it: In the wake of the pandemic, we seized the opportunity to take market share from the big dogs—Azure, Dropbox, S3—and instil confidence in our own solution. 

She was a firebrand, at least as far as cloud storage solutions sales could be called as such. Coming from photography school before pivoting into communications, at 32 years old she was primed to enter the next phase of her life and I had really enjoyed working with her at Vantage when we were in the building in our San Francisco office. But then, of course, March happened. It all happened. We’re lucky to be alive, really, much less having our business thrive. Like many tech companies, we’re almost embarrassed by the success. Almost. 

Zoey, a lady of principle, never stopped dressing up for work once we were all at home. She still wore the same blouses, pencil skirts (having been able to tell on our one on one meetings as she got up for a coffee refill), and somehow even cut her own hair to maintain the bangs and an up-do. Or maybe she kept to pyjamas on the says we weren’t scheduled for a Zoom, but let’s pretend I don’t think about it too much. 

Miraculously, she was able to mostly keep down what folks around work were calling the “covid 19” — myself, even, admittedly somewhat included, as I felt the jeans a little tighter, but nothing overly concerning yet. I guess I just needed to be doing more of Zoey’s photowalks — taking pics around San Fran with her Nikon, in her own Levis, living a life for a moment outside the corporate world — I almost envied it; my thing — if you could call it that, bar nights out — was very much off limits (at least for me, as a law-abider with a job on the line).

Prior to lockdown, Zoey was always up and down the same five pounds, cresting the wave when her shirt might ride up just half an inch — enough for plausible deniability that none of it was intentional. Her chest, similarly, went from a respectable B to a sizeable one. Entering her early thirties, accepting a doughnut on Friday was a dicey proposition, and she indulged maybe half the time.

But post-lockdown, natural accountability was off the rails. There was no one to dress up for necessarily, to be inspected from all sides by coworkers. No observations of eating habits. And after almost a full year, it was finally starting to show—as she ran down the report, it was almost to easy to pretend to be looking at nothing in particular, when I couldn’t help but notice the way that Zoey’s blouse tugged and pulled at her sides and chest in a way I’d never seen before. It still fit, sure—but it was a real change. Being untethered from the rules of accountability myself, in a decisive moment, I took a screenshot.

”Well done, Zoey!” I offered. She smiled. “Doing well, hanging in there?”

”Yeah! Considering a... camera upgrade with the bonus money, actually, keep me out there.”

”Pretty cold now though, no?”

”Yeah, well that never stopped me before, haha.”

”Fair enough, fair enough. Well don’t be a stranger eh?”

”Hahaha... I keep forgetting you’re from Canada.”

”You really don’t do the eh, eh?”

”Oh my god, stopppp.”

”Fine, fine. See you tomorrow?”

”See you.”

 

As usual, I put my less honourable thoughts about Zoey away with the work day. But then I opened the screenshot, five minutes later. And it got me imagining.

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Wow, lovely start. Nice imagery and character.

 

And I know I've gotten old when my taste fully changes from cheerleaders getting to big for their skirts to early thirties professionals getting too big for their skirts.

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1 hour ago, Batman76 said:

Wow, lovely start. Nice imagery and character.

 

And I know I've gotten old when my taste fully changes from cheerleaders getting to big for their skirts to early thirties professionals getting too big for their skirts.

That aint it 🤨 professional suits are tighter and have moar seams and buttons. Each pop and tear is it’s own adventure 😍

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It had been almost a month since I had taken that screenshot and, to my credit, I had done next to nothing about it. I mean, I know so much better: Company pen in the company ink, and all. But, truth be told, I had also had an eye on Zoey for a long, long time. Since she had joined the company five years ago in fact. And so we had a bit of a camaraderie, but I never pressed it further. Not because I didn’t want to, but because it just inevitably wouldn’t end well. But the distance of the pandemic and my incorrigible curiosity was shifting that equation.

I left my thumb hovering over the send button for a solid minute. The text: “Hey, do you happen to post your photos anywhere? Wondering how that upgrade is going.” The only thing preventing me is that it was an off-topic message on work communications. You know, the Slack that the boss can see. I needed a way to shift it off channel. That was step one, I thought.

Finally, I just did it. And waited. About a minute later, I decided to think nothing of it and get back to work. A response came about half an hour later—it was a base 64 hash. I descrambled it, grinning. “@photozoeysf.”

She had some wonderful work up there. Potrero Hill and the Central Waterfront were favorite destinations. from what I could gather. For a moment I even forgot that I had an ulterior motive. 

What to say? I imagined how she might be looking now, with an additional month of covid-induced habits. A layer of softness causing the need to be aware of camera angles. Those heavy Bs giving way to Cs. The way last year’s leggings must be… ahem.  One step at a time.

Once again I was faced with the daunting task of an at once perfect and innocuous opening. I paused, grimaced. Typed and deleted. Again.

“Incredible pictures. Wish I had asked about it sooner!”

She didn’t take nearly as long to type back.

“Thanks so much! Yeah, I waffled on making a portfolio site, just didn’t feel the urge as my job’s more than fine and I don’t want to make it work… but yeah.”

“No no, I encourage you to go for it—I mean, if you want you. Well, sometimes in my experience I find you have to dive in first to really understand if you want it.”

“That’s very decent advice.”

“Any ideas for the next photo walk?”

“I’m a habitual person. An east side person.  Now that you mention it, maybe I should venture out one weekend to Sunset. Plus, I’ve never tried Andytown Coffee or really ventured beyond Philz.”

I imagined Zoey tucking into an almond croissant. That was her absolute sin back in the building at Venture. I only saw it with her about once every couple of months. 

“That sounds wonderful. Well I won’t bother you too much. Thanks so much for sharing. Yeah, can’t believe I didn’t ask before.”

“Besides the work boundaries thing, but I think this is cool :)”

“Of course. Take care”

I left it at that for now. I had her Instagram, and who knows what would show up there. And I was a bit closer, which I genuinely, simply appreciated. 

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It’s nice that they’re together, for sure, but what will she do if she spots that screenshot? It raises questions 

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Nearly a solid three months had passed between then and the next quarterly update meeting, which is exactly how time works measuring quarters of a year, of course, but it was also the amount of time I had to suffer with not so much as even a hint as to how Zoey was doing outside her regular Instagrams. I pushed it to the back of my mind most of the time, when I could, but it was turning into a bit of an obsession. Fine. A real obsession. A problem. 

The nice part, though, is through regular Instagram chats I was getting to know her better than I ever had at work. Loves instrumental jazz. Can be a martini person on certain evenings. Donuts, but not bagels. Lots of dumping on Adobe software (ha)—and of course tons of photog talk. Heck, I think I was being persuaded into getting a camera myself. 

I saw waiting for the meeting, nursing a coffee in hand. It was one of those mornings where I felt a little tired, yet in a comfortable way—maybe satisfied with the indicator of having worked more than enough lately. 

The Zoom screens populated. Mark, in operations. Emily, in advertising. She was looking noticeably bigger these days too... Samantha, customer relations... more, in that flurry around 9:01am when most people apparently decide it's the right time to join... and Zoey.

Oh wow, Zoey.

There's only so far you can go in three months, but it was pretty clear to me that her pattern fo succumbing had taken a firmer grip on her. Whatever habits she had taken up had earned her some clearly-tighter sleeves and a chest that, were you looking for it like me, has clearly been bumped up a notch—hence the modest black attire, most likely. With her face held up like that you honestly couldn't tell from a headshot, but it was always that way with Zoey. You had to look under the neck to see any effects of indulgence on her figure. It was a blessing, maybe—it also probably made it harder for her to justify a diet, in addition to the myriad other reasons going on right now. I ached to see her stand up, but knew that wasn't happening.

I didn't hesitate to take a quick screenshot, though.

"Our acquisition rate is accelerating; 759 accounts raised to business tier in the past month alone; global diversification strategy and referral program is working wonders..." Zoey delivered enthusiastically. It was true. We were doing astoundingly well.

Not the only thing accelerating and working wonders, I thought to myself.

I didn't dare check the share price for fear I'd be tempted to sell. That was my rule. I had a lot of shares of Vantage having been hired on the ground floor, and I feared—as my shares would undoubtedly be valued in the millions by now, at least—that had I given it any serious consideration I would be tempted to sell and go. The fact was I liked my job, overall. It gave me regularity. 

 

A few hours later, in the afternoon, a surprising text. It was always a bit dull in the afternoon after a quarterly report—like a corporate hangover. 

"Couldn't help but feel your eyes on me this morning. I'm probably wrong..." Zoe DM'd me on Instagram. Oh boy.

"Well I wanted to pay attention—it's exciting earnings, what can I say?" Leaving room to interpretation. Was she testing me? This kind of stuff gets you reprimanded at best. Careful.

"Haha, true true. I think I'm gonna order in tonight. UberEats discount. Wouldn't want a good discount to go to waste."

"Nice plan," I stated.  "If you wanted to take a photo walk and the rest of this afternoon off I think that's reasonable. I can cover you if any questions in the next hour."

"You're too sweet. You know, one of these days you should come with. If I succeed in getting you to give in and get a camera, that is. Get tested."

I paused again. "That does sound nice."

"Just sell one of your bazillion shares. Did you see the ticker price today? Don't... I know that's your rule. But yeah. Think about it. ;)"

"You were always good at tempting people with offers, huh? Almost like it's your job." I teased.

"You mean like this?"

Zoe sent a selfie on DM. She had changed out of her black shirt into an old graphic tee. A bit of cleavage—where there was none— betrayed her, showing off her new C-cup assets. She smiled sweetly; her arms showed a bit of new softness, filling out her sleeves and beginning to tighten them. God she was starting to get big. I couldn't help it; I took a screenshot, knowing she would be notified.

"Can't help it, can you?"

She was on to me, no doubt.

 

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I pause, unsure where to take it next, even though it was fairly clearly an opening and exactly what I had been hoping for. I just, reasonably, never thought it would actually get there.

“A rare treat to see you outside a meeting,” I finally mustered. It was true, and danced on that thin edge between appropriate and inappropriate. Well, it probably wouldn’t stand scrutiny. But it could probably stand a lawyer. Despite my mind telling me to get the hell out of there, I felt a rising excitement. She had me. 

I paused. Breathed.

“You know this is dangerous…”

The typing indicator on her end went on for a solid minute. Oh boy.

“Ya that is more than fair. I’ll be honest… This quarantine stuff is driving me nuts. It’s ruined everything. My outings with girlfriends, my ability to get out…. my diet… I just need something more.”

“Well first of all, you look just fine. Way more than fine. Second of all, something more doesn’t necessarily mean… whatever this is… with your colleague and yeah, supervisor…”

“Ha, and that’s why you asked to comment on my Insta?”

“It was just an interest in your photos.” I lied.

“… and that’s why you took a screenshot of my selfie? Dig your hole deeper why don’t you, haha.” 

Guilty as charged. I paused again. This already looked terrible if anyone saw it. Damn. 

“What’s your address?”

“Woah there, first you pump the brakes and now you’re asking me where I live?”

“Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. Zoe, we’ve known each other for five years. Trust me.”

“…. 757 Polk.”

I sent Zoe a screenshot of the delivery order. Mochill doughnuts, just like we had in the office on Fridays.

“I thought you might have missed these and I wanted to apologize a little for being difficult.”

“Damn! Thank you… but you realize this is six doughnuts for one person right? Haha… usually I’d have like, half of one.”

“Whoops… Give to those who need it on a photo walk?”

“That’s a fabulous idea. You know, you’re pretty decent for a corporate shill ;).”

“Ha. I’m nothing without my team.”

With that innocuous ending, I was left with little doubt that Zoe was about to slip even further into her darker habits.

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The next few weeks and months were a bit of a blur. I would continue to try old standbys and new places for Friday afternoons with Zoe; it was getting to be less and less of a surprise, but it was apparently no less appreciated. It was always a half dozen, with the implicit assumption that she was—unlikely, but ostensibly—sharing.  

After the third week I decided to try for dinner. Unannounced. 

“Hey. So I know it’s been a long day,” I started on Instagram DM.

“God, got that right. Fifty new accounts. I mean, great problem to have.”

“So you deserve dinner.”

“Um…. are you just aiming to pick up all my food bills now? What’s going on? Haha.”

“Just feeling generous. You’ve done so much for the company.”

“I won’t argue with that.”

“So?”

“Don’t judge, but screw it. I wouldn’t saw no to jack in the box rn.”

“Haha, no no I get it. I think I’ll do the same. Coming up.”

“My god you’re a sweetheart. And terrible. And a sweetheart.”

Eventually, it ran up to three order per week. I didn’t see much in the way of selfies, but I didn’t press. We kept discussing the usual ins and outs with work, photography, the news—now with this running current of deliveries in the background. 

Frankly, I couldn’t wait to see Zoey at the next quarterly meeting in May.

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It started with just one meal a week — a thank you, a pick me up, with the tacit admission that I could very well afford even more than she could (albeit we were both doing more than okay). By the third week, in early April, it had expanded to two evenings a week; we tried multiple different places around SF. By mid to late April, three meals. It became more and more “normal” and even expected for me to treat her to dinner in, and she always expressed so much gratitude. It seemed innocent enough until you really thought about it — no one does this. But here we were, a closet appreciator indulging a dormant but awakening foodie. 

The impact, as it turned out, would remain a secret as of the next quarterly report in May. Zoey’s camera was apparently out of commission. I had to instead admire her avatar picture. I suspected, however, it was intentional. She was no longer willing to show face. And I couldn’t know for sure, but I strongly suspected it had something to do with all of the extra calories no doubt making their way through her system as of late. 

If Zoey had to remain more of a suspicion, it was certainly true of Emily, which as you may recall was head of advertising.  Another three months had granted her a softening under the chin that definitely wasn’t there before; she wore a blazer, perhaps to hide her arms a bit... I have to admit in the absence of Zoey and in the presence of the usual numbers (albeit good numbers, we were used to good news), my attention turned to Emily’s blonde locks and interesting developments. It was too easy — sitting there, watching with them none the wiser. 

Against my better judgement, I decided to reach out out of the blue. Just a quick high five. Not a big deal, I thought. 

“Great work presenting today Emily. I think this next campaign is extremely well targeted. Next level stuff,” I sent. 

A few minutes went by. I felt nervous even though there was no reason to be. 

“Oh thanks! Hope you’re holding up alright haha,” she texted back. Friendly. 

I paused, considering my next move. “If you don’t mind me saying so, nice blazer too. Showing up for the job in every way. Love it.”

“Ohhh yeah haha, that’s a new piece. I love it too. :) Have a great afternoon!”

I checked the vaccination stats for the city. On the rise. As a company we could probably get ours by the end of June, I thought — which made for, potentially, a pretty great summer. We we targeting return to work formally for September, on a provisional basis. 

I decided to probe a little further.

“So boring working from home, right? Remember our bar nights back in the day? The before times, how I long for thee.”

Why was I risking it like this? Boredom, I guess. I knew I could make an exit if I was forced to with my stock position. And, this would probably be the one and only time Emily would be caught dead at this heaviness...

“Haha you read my mind actually. Can’t argue with that.”

“Nope...” I replied. I hinted enough. I would let it sit.

Hours passed. Eventually around 5, my phone buzzed. Emily on text. 

“So when’s the last time you got tested negative? Asking for a friend.” Well okay then.

“A couple days ago. And you?”

“Long ago enough to risk having you drop by. If you want. Like before.”

“Well, if you’re okay with it I am.” 

This was really happening. 
 

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I walked into the fragrant May evening and hopped into my black Tesla — a Model 3, couldn’t resist — as my mind raced between something amenable to throw on the TV, whether I should bring something other than a couple of joints, and yes, feeling pretty excited to see another human being, let alone Emily.

“20 minutes ETA. Did you want me to bring anything?” I dictated as I drove through the Bay area. 

“Just yourself :)” showed up on the dashboard. 

Emily first joined the company about three years ago, a bit before Zoey. In her mid-20s, college seemed to have had a bit of an effect on her physique, albeit she seemed disciplined with references to swimming and jogging peppered into the proverbial water cooler conversations we’d had. 

She hadn’t invited me this evening on a total lark, though; we weren’t so innocent (well, beyond the whole being corporate shills as a career path thing). Like Zoey, Emily was cresting a mounting wave of plausible deniability back in fall 2019; the mounting responsibilities in the advertising department had chipped away at her resolve, and her lithe, yoga-ready body started to push and challenge her jeans in a way she had probably never anticipated. So when the previous mid-wash Levis were unceremoniously replaced by a stretchy, dark denim-like daily getup with, in her words, “diving into some cute, loose fall layers”, I tried not to notice too hard.

But that was the catalyst, the admission, and it got harder and harder not to notice. Due in part to said loose shirts, Emily’s chest became something of a barometer for her descent leading up to the annual holiday party. By the event in late December, she’d gone up a full size. It didn’t help that she was a genuine pleasure to chat with about most anything. Of course I’d been observing Zoey too, but Emily was the winner.

That evening at the holiday party, one thing led to another and we found ourselves making out at a booth at a nearby bar. I hesitated and somehow found the will not to bring her home — at the time at least, it felt like a barrier I wasn’t ready to break, and it seemed like there was a difference. But the damage was done, and I left myself wanting for her more and more; my hands grazed the loose folds of fabric around her waist, but I never did get to experience just how curvy Emily had unwittingly allowed herself to become.

Which might explain, to some extent, the trepidation I felt walking up to the apartment building and riding the elevator, my heart along with it. Was she as curvy as I’d imagined, based on her carefully curated Zoom presence? Bigger? Was she even interested in more, or more interested in just seeing another human being—and colleague—who just so happens to be one she made a light go with eighteen months ago? 

I took a deep sigh and knocked. Footsteps. Door opening.

“Heeey! How ARE you,” Emily voice hit my ears unmediated by the Internet.

Dear God, there was no denying it anymore. Emily had gotten fat.

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First of all, if I’d estimate that Emily was about 150-160 pounds on joining the company, and 175-180 by the time we made out at the 2019 holiday party, she was on another level now. It wouldn’t surprise me of her tallish five feet and eight inches had eventually managed to find another thirty pounds. 

Her size ten jeans, adjusted to twelves a year and a half ago, were now quite obviously sixteens, even if she opted for black in an attempt to be slimming. The layers remained: Emily’s top gently billowed out over her size Ds (or was it E at this point?). Fascinatingly, only a sliver of double chin gently appeared at split second moments; her famous cheekbones persevered. I’d guessed in her mind she hoped I wouldn’t quite notice the extent of her COVID—30, and I tried my damnedest to feign something approaching innocence. 

“Well it sure is nice to be in the presence of another human being,” I laughed. “Thanks for having me.”

“Yeah no, of course…. I figured, we’re safe and it’s just been such a long time, I think it’s just time you know? Been uh, quiet at work lately, you could say. Decaf?”

“Yeah, I’d love that. You still know me, sucker for late afternoon brew.” 

As Emily milled around the kitchen island of her condo towards the coffee grinder and drip setup, I got my first glimpse of her rear in almost literally years. Her poor jeans were being stretched for dear life; I could tell, even with all the loose fabric on top, that her sides were beginning to spill over more than a bit. Hot denial—made hotter when, seated on the chair opposite her couch as we sat and chatted, she casually mentioned continuing to do many walks and sometimes even running. Not working too well then, I thought.

“Any plans for the evening then?” I asked, hoping my visit might be construed a little beyond a little friendly chat as a colleague.

“Oh, well um… how’s your schedule? Haha.” Emily smirked, knowing full well an evening schedule was at this point a prehistoric artefact of the Before Times.

“Hmm, let me see… you’re in luck. I happen to be free. For once.”

“Well it’s settled. Dinner? If I remember how to make it, haha…”

“What’s that mean?”

“Aha, nothing, nothing. Think of some ideas. Did you want to watch a show or whatever in the meantime?”

Things were sliding a little bit from colleagues to more…

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“Hey, want to go for a little walk before dinner? Just for the hell of it,” I offered. 

“Um ya, sure!” Emily smiled, tousling her shoulder length, blonde hair a little. 

As she got her sneakers on sitting on the bench next to the door, I couldn’t help but notice the way she held her stomach in, careful and mindful to hold the illusion she had not, in fact, given in to a lifestyle that prioritized decadence over all else, to the detriment of her previously disciplined regimen. Her running shoes, while worn, owed inordinately more to the steps taken years ago than more recent events. 

“So how are things on the ad side of things?” I offered, unsure to what extent I should bring up work.

“Well um it’s good but honestly it would be nice to keep the brain off CPM and conversion rates at least a little bit, haha,” she offered as we strolled down the street.

“Fair enough. Know any good coffee shops nearby? Something to go with the brew.”

“Mmmm well... there’s a Starbucks that way if you’re feeling basic...”

“I can work with basic.”

“Good, cause here I am, haha...”

“Oh come on Emily, you’re anything but basic. You’re exceptional. I know, no work talk, but there’s a reason why they keep you around—with bonuses.”

“Haha, ok, I’ll accept it when there’s praise.” She turned to look at me, smirking a little. “So you really liked that blazer, huh.”

“Oh are you kidding me? You’re killing it, fashion-wise. So far as I can tell, anyway. I love what you do with layers.”

“Aww haha, thank you... it’s versatile, what can I say?”

“Seriously, you look amazing.”

Emily raised her eyebrows. “Mmmhm? Meaning?”

I hesitated. “No word of a lie. Taken fashion notes here as we speak,” I offered pointing to my head. Nice save...


We went into the Starbucks and got earl grey tea lattes.


“So what’s dinner?” I asked, walking back. The air in May could always be mistaken for September. There was a similar feeling of optimism, but May was always bolstered by the promise of hotter weather to come. The last vestiges of the sun ebbed behind a canopy of trees on Emily’s street as we went in the building.

“Dinner is... a chore,” Emily laughed. 

“I can make it,” I offered.

“Uhm, you’re technically kind of my superior at work, and my guest, but... honestly... hey, you want to go for it, I’m curious! If you want...” Emily hemmed and hawed as we went up in the elevator.

I turned to her as we got back into the apartment. “I do want.”

She looked me in the eyes. “What DO you want?”

“I uh...”

“To see me in that blazer again? Why don’t you start dinner and I’ll see what I can do.” 

“I mean I wouldn’t say no... okay.” She was already in, presumably, her bedroom as I looked around the apartment thinking of what I could make and what had just happened. 

 

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I looked around Emily’s apartment. Guess I should start dinner then, I thought.

“Ok if I use those speakers?” I shouted, glancing at her Sonos system around the 65 inch TV. 

“Ya for sure!” 

“So uh... I’m going to go through all your pantries and stuff, ok?”

“Ya! Again if you don’t mind... I’m excited to see what you make of it!”

I raised my eyebrows even though no one was in the main area, and got to looking. Pasta? Gnocchi. Broccoli. Garlic, spinach... Expensive cheese... probably okay to go for. I could reimburse if needed for some reason. She had a pretty great gas range and some nice cast iron skillets. Girl can cook, I thought.

I decided to schedule an order on UberEats for dessert, scheduled for 9pm. Doughnuts from the same place we got them at work. Like Zoey...

A scant five minutes later, as the potatoes were basking in their oil, Emily emerged from the bedroom, complete with the aforementioned blazer — and a scintillating black top, still loose along the bottom, yet with a silky texture, hugging and grabbing her curves as she moved, with her cleavage fully on display. There was absolutely no denying what she was doing at this point. 

“So full disclosure, I guess I should have told you I took an edible earlier... how’s the blazer in person?”

“I uh... it’s awesome,” I stammered as Emily giggled. 

“I mean, it is a bit dressy, now that I think about it, compared to you... would you mind... ?” She gestured her head as she began to take out one sleeve. It did look tight. 

“I uh... yeah, absolutely...” I went over as dinner sizzled and began to pry at Emily’s blazer, feeling her ultra-soft shoulders as her upper arms began to reveal themselves, practically inflating a little as they released from the sleeves of her fabric prison. 

“Thank you, way way better.” She was wearing a perfume that ** me a little just as her curves did. Her arms were practically as big as her thighs probably were at some point — large, doughy tubes that jiggled ever so slightly with every step, betraying anything she could have hidden with her face alone. It was a situation that could only save her on social media and Zoom calls. And for some reason, she was okay with me knowing better.

“Beer? We’ve got IPA, amber, a fun apricot one...” She looked a little panicked as I couldn’t help but practically stare at her jiggling, bare skin, fresh and unseen by the world except me.

“Emily...”

“What?” She froze. I was making it weird. Damn it. 

“No, it’s just, I...” Emily’s eyes were welling up with tears a bit.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” I started, which, of course, was not the right way to start it.

“So I got fat, OK? God this was such a terrible idea. Fuck.” The potatoes were still sizzling. I think it may have been the edible kicking in a bad way for her.

“Emily, that’s not what I was...” It was decision time. Did I care to keep pursuing Zoey? Did I keep this a secret? Did I want to play with fire like this? She was so vulnerable and delectable, on the verge of years and dressed within an inch of herself... How could I not?

I went up to her and held her hands, after taking dinner off the burner. “Emily, that time in 2019... I thought your curves were incredible. You have no idea how much self control I’m exerting now,” I admitted. It was true. I was throbbing at this point. 

Emily pursed her lips, her eyes still wet. She looked down at the bulge in my pants and seized it with her hand. 

“Well... hard to believe... but it sure feels true. I mean, I guess I always kind of knew...”

“Did you... know they say you should eat dessert first? Helps with digestion and gets the sugars through better,” Emily softly murmured as she began to undo my belt buckle. 

“I... did not know that...” I said, watching outside of myself as the events transpired. 

As Emily got on her knees and looked up at me, she smiled a little again. “So you like the view huh?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.” She began to lick and suck a little, before stopping and getting up.

“So. I’ll ask again... What DO you want? What are you yearning for?” Emily asked, really putting it on sultry. 

I bit my lower lip and reached for Emily’s shirt. 


“Ah ah ah.... so what, do you want like....” She leaned into my ear, “my belly?” I said nothing.

“Haha, on to you am I? You really need to do a better job making less obvious. Constantly checking me out. I bet you’re pretty kinky, aren’t you.”

“You uh... you got me.”

“Ha...” Emily was beside herself in disbelief. “You... kind of won the jackpot with COVID then, didn’t you? You have no idea, well I guess you do, how many people are struggling with their weight right now.”

“I uh... “

“Haha, don’t say anything, yeah it’s complicated. It’s okay. I’m just happy you’re enjoying this as much as I am. Obviously, this is really, um, new for me. So um... do we want to relieve you so we can keep cooking? Haha.”

I sighed audibly. “Um, yeah, if that’s okay.”

“So how do we do that? You want to...” I went up to Emily and put my hands around her waist, gently prying at the ends of her shirt, slowly lifting it up. Her jeans, more like leggings, were pulled up high, seeming incorporating some kind of tummy control. Hungrily, I grasped for her jeans buttons — three of them, lined up as if for extra reinforcements. I grasped a button before Emily pulled away.

“I... not yet.” Emily sighed. “I’m sorry. I know you... like it—“

“—Love it.” I couldn’t help but interject.

“Um, yeah... I guess I just, knew it but still... processing it.”

“Well anyway, no awkward way not to transition, so uh... Netflix and gnocchi?”

Emily moved her mouth to the side. “Netflix and gnocchi.”
 

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We continued to make dinner and discuss the events of the day, the latest industry gossip on Twitter, the usual — what was odd was that it wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be, now that she knew. She probably had a lot of questions still, and obviously some major inhibitions, but it felt overwhelmingly like it was going to be okay, which was a strange but sweet relief. 

“So I mean, I AM trying to lose weight, believe it or not,” Emily continued has we had dinner at the couch with beers. 

“Yeah, of course,” I started. “I mean, I get it. That’s normal.”

“Hahahahaha. Well, you’re making me feel a little better at least, you lovable weirdo.” 

We sat is silence watching the show for a little bit. 

“You know...” Emily started between bits of gnocchi, “I wasn’t kidding when I said you have no idea how many girls are struggling.”

I looked over. “Yeah.”

“Yeah, like. At the company.”

“I uh... why are you telling me this?”

As Emily turned to me, her arms and chest quivered slightly. “Well... I just thought you might be interested. That it’s not just me.”

“I can’t deny I am. Is this the part where you revert to playing coy?”

“For now.”

We sat and watched the show a little more. Who else? Was Zoey part of this support group? Was Emily going to tell anyone about us? Did Zoey tell Emily? Who else?

As if on cue, I got a text. It was from Zoey.

“Hey you. ;) Just got a sudden urge for a couple of doughnuts. Would you mind??”

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“Of course,” I covertly texted, eyeing Emily watching the screen. At this point I had the order practically on speed dial. 

I realized the other order I’d made would be here any minute.

“Um sorry, just need to get some fresh air,” I said getting up.


“Um, ya sure... Hey, thanks for coming. And thanks for being cool with boundaries and whatnot. That’s partly why I was cool with inviting you here.”

“I uh... yeah, of course. I mean, coworkers first.”

Emily nodded sagely. “Hey, you know what? I’m gonna have that IPA, if you wanted to split it.”

“Absolutely. See you in a minute,” I said on my way stepping out, still a bit beside myself for spending an evening with this woman who had somehow allowed herself to inflate beyond my wildest dreams. 

“Operation doughnuts for Zoey commenced,” I texted, mildly amused that I was sending out two deliveries at once to different locations from the same shop. 

“Mm, perfect. Self control? What’s that? Haha,” she texted back. 

“Something for weekdays rather than weekends?”

“Yeah, let’s go with that.”

“Haha. Cheers to the weekend.”

“:) xo”

I stopped for a moment and realized what I was doing, what was happening. Did I go ahead and keep trying with Emily, knowing what was clearly going on with Zoey? I supposed it could be decided later. It wasn’t right. But it felt undeniably tempting.

I took the box of doughnuts in the lobby of Emily’s apartment building, knowing the worst that would happen, probably, is admonishment on Emily’s part and a refusal. 

“And what do you have there mister?” Emily looked across the room with a sing song voice as I sheepishly entered. 

“Oh uh, nothing...”

“Looks like a whole lot of nothing to me.”

I opened the box.

“Hmm... nah, I’m good. Nice try.”

I nodded and grimaced a little, sat down, and we kept watching TV.

That lasted all of about ten minutes.

“So uh, are those like the same ones from work?”

“Definitely.”

“You bastard.” She smirked. “Really shouldn’t have taken that second edible.”

“Haha well... Up to you.”

She glared at me, half in jest. “This is entirely your fault, you know,” she muttered as she reached out for the Boston cream. Her stomach pressed against her shirt and over her jeggings as she did so, revealing a bit of soft flesh in the process besides the generous serving of cleavage already on display. It led me to wonder if she was truly aware of just how indecent it was. 

“So I guess I should get over myself huh,” Emily glanced at me between bites and sips of her IPA. “I made it weird. Well, then you made it weirder. But I made it weird. Sorry.”

“Haha, well. We all have things to work through or work with.”

Emily let out a deep sigh. “I need a second doughnut. God damn it.”

“How about we just not worry about it tonight. You deserve it.”

“You would say that.”

“Guilty, but not wrong?”

Emily silently reached for the maple doughnut. I put my hand on hers. “Hey, I’ll pack it up. My bad.”

She nodded. “Thanks.”

Emily got up and went to her bedroom, changing back into more comfortable wear as before. “You know, you really are a gentleman. Thank god, no idea what I’m doing with my boss like this.”

I shook my head. “If this is what being a gentleman is, I don’t want to hear the rest.” She laughed. 

“Anyway. I had fun tonight mostly. See you at the next definitely-super-fun quarterly call? Or heck, maybe sooner?”

“Maybe sooner.” I went to hug her a little. “Stay safe and be well.”

“See you.”

I left, within an inch of finally being privy to seeing more of Emily, so tantalizingly teased — so willing to cross that line, it seemed, and then she backed away at the last moment. 

But I knew it probably wouldn’t be the last I had seen of her. 

She texted me once more once I got back home.

“K, I just had a third doughnut. Please pry me away. I’m terrible. Baaaad girl.”


Before I could even reply,  I got a photo DM from Zoey. 

My heart stopped. It had been quite a long time as I’d actually seen from her.

I exhaled a little, ready to take a screen grab, and opened the photo.

There she was, mid-bite of an apple fritter, looking at me and smirking a little. And just enough off her face to show just how much her chest had clearly grown. 

“Think we should meet soon,” I texted Zoey. I paused.

“Sounds like I might have to come back there and stop you before it gets any worse,” I texted Emily.

I was incorrigible.

It took about an hour before Emily replied. “You know what? Do come. I’ve completed changed my mind. Promise.”

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I was back in the Tesla when I heard back from Zoey. “Mm, that’s the best idea you’ve had all week. Maybe a walk tomorrow?”

“Absolutely. Can’t wait to see you…”

Thoughts raced through my mind as I went over to Emily’s for the second time that evening, getting late into the evening — 11pm now.  

I buzzed up and knocked at her door.

“Well hello. Been a while,” Emily said, smiling. 

“So um, full disclosure, I’m two edibles and three beers in…”

I paused. “You sure you want to…?”

“Yes. Yes. I have just enough of me to say so. Trust me.”

I had to ask. “At the right of you changing your mind, why?”

“I… it’s just been so long, and I had an inkling you might… even prefer me as I am now.”

“You mean bad?”

“Haha. So bad. From bad to worse,” Emily started.

I kissed her right there, running my hands along her waist and up along her bare arms. I held up the last doughnut to her. She eyed it with a mix of contempt and mesmerization.

“Seriously, one more and I’m going to burst. This is NOT what I had in mind today…” she said before taking a slow, indulgent bite. 

She put her hand on my member as before. “Hehe, feels like you love it.”

I moved her to the couch and proceeded to lift her shirt up. Folds and layers of mounting indulgence over the past two years escaped the confines of her high waisted jeggings; I began to try to undo the buttons again before she almost unconscious shooed me away.

Instead, opted to to undo mine as I stood in front of the couch, her leaned on all fours on it; the cushions sank perilously under her weight and her ass, encased denim, in the air, was well past BBW territory. 

Her gorgeous, still-thin face and hungry lips wrapped around me as her cleavage plunged and her arms shook and wobbled involuntarily, taken in yet another evening of what I surmised to be a pattern of attempted dieting turned to excess.

Finally, just as I was about to finish, Emily seemed to sense this as she suddenly got up and moved my hands to her jean buttons. My hands trembled. 

“Is this want you want?” She teased.

“Y-yes…” Every button released was followed by a wave of released flesh. Her jeans were doing God’s work, lying to her and everyone, telling the world just one more wouldn’t hurt. And now the truth was coming out.

Even in the midst of my euphoria I understood just why Emily has such trepidation about her belly. Even though she was by any stretch of the imagination, at glance, obviously a big girl (and recently so), her stomach, poured over her jeans, was disproportionate to the rest, even competing with her boobs. 

“Holy fuck” I muttered as I pressed myself against the soft expanse of her abdomen, thinking about the years she let it grow. 

“Mm, I think you like it. This is crazy, but…” She whispered in my ear. “I think I could get used to that… Maybe.”

“Come…” She took my hand and led me to the bedroom, leading with her deep, soft navel.

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