The scent of hot coffee greeted Emma as she entered the dorm room she and her older sister, Karah, shared. Karah left the pot on, knowing Emma would be home shortly after heading to her 7am class. Along with the still-fresh coffee, Karah put a plate of scones in the microwave.
“I don’t know how you manage to get up so early and do this sis,” Emma smiled at the note left on the clean countertop. In addition to the scones, the note informed her that Karah’s day looked typical, with her arriving back home after work around 6pm with a two-hour lunch break starting at 11 that morning. Except for the weekends, the sisters only saw each other during Karah’s lunch break, Emma usually sleeping until woken by her sister. Emma’s major in anthropology landed her a job in one of Seattle’s morgues where she worked the graveyard shift. She hoped to work for the FBI and considered changing her major to a more suitable subject to reflect knowledge of forensics and various lab work, but her frequent visits to the mortuary made Emma think about career as a mortician.
Emma removed a cup from the dishwasher, also done before her sister left for class, and poured the coffee into it, reveling in the smell that wafted to her nostrils as the drink swirled and splashed in the opaque glass. A smile spread across Emma’s face when she saw the small hill of scones, chuckling because Karah bothered to make two different kinds.
“You’re the best,” Emma said aloud, pulling the pastry-laden plate from the microwave.
She brought the breakfast to her room. After setting down the food and drink and turning on the TV, she took off her work clothes, ripe with the smell of humidity-born sweat and various medical chemicals. As she put on pajamas, Emma glanced at a framed picture of her and Karah at Yosemite Park. The picture, taken last year on a cross-country trip, showed off the athletic bodies of the women. Emma still had the same outfit she wore in that picture, a short denim skirt and sequined pink tank top ensemble, the abruptness of the skirt’s length countered by high cowboy boots; only the outfit sat in the closet, re-purchased to fit her size 24 frame. Thanks to Karah’s encouragement and her own sold self-esteem, Emma accepted her new body, a product of late hours and a job with a touch of depression. Her humor grew darker, her skin fairer, and her body larger; she knew these changes as coming with the territory. She jokingly referred to it as a “job hazard,” but enjoyed her work so much that the term seemed too harsh to use seriously.
Emma sat on the bed, sighing happily as she set the plate of scones on her lap. Karah saw her sister’s weight gain as an opportunity to try her skills as a chef. The delicious food comforted Emma during her working hours, the delectable flavors a reminder that more than just death existed in her life. Karah’s treats flowed continuously from the kitchen, always abundant and always palatable. Emma knew that if she loved her major any less, Karah would instantly switch to culinary arts.
The perpetual Seattle rain thickened, forcing more water onto the roof and Emma under the blankets for added comfort. Re-runs of Roseanne began to play, and Emma tasted one of the scones. Chocolate chip and hazelnut filled her mouth in a thick coating of flavor, better than anything a bakery or café could produce. Karah made sure to use in-season, quality ingredients and it showed.
After fully savoring the taste of the chocolate chip scone, Emma took a bite from the other flavor. Somehow, in a way that perplexed Emma, Karah managed to make the other taste exactly like cherry cheesecake.
“Wow!” Emma exclaimed without taking the time to swallow the chewed-up bit of scone. “I mean, wow! This is gooood. Karah, you’re a genius!”
With much delight, Emma finished the entire plate of scones, accompanied by the coffee. Stomach full and warm, she fell asleep with the sound of Roseanne arguing with Dan in the background.
Karah came home at the same time she did every weekday, waking her sister in the same manner as every weekday: with the smell of a cooking lunch.
Emma wandered into the kitchen from her bedroom, rubbing both her exposed belly and the mess of chestnut locks on her head. “Sis, what are you making?” She asked, voice heavy with sleep. A sniff of the air and her eyes perked up. “Is that what I think it is?”
Karah nodded proudly. “Uh-huh, yeppers, it sure is!”
The ground shook from the reverberation of Emma’s happy leap. “How you can make this three or four times a week and me not get sick of it is a miracle, Karah.” Emma clapped her hands together. “It’s so yummy! When’s it ready?”
Karah giggled. “You’d think you’d learn to tell, you watch me make it all the time!” She flipped the three grilling sandwiches, revealing a crunchy, caramel-colored side that made Emma’s mouth water and stomach yearn.
“Yummy nummy nummy nums!” Emma sang as she opened the refrigerator to grab the pomegranate juice Karah loved. She poured her an appreciative glass and set it next to the stove. Propping herself up by placing her forearms on the counter, Emma stuck her butt out and swayed it nonchalantly, eyes glued to the lightly sizzling treat. “How did you think of this?”
Karah set the spatula down and turned to her sister. “You know that dish, chicken cordon bleu?”
“Well, I remember we had it and you really liked it. It’s hard for me to make, you know how much of a mess I made trying to stuff foods, so I figured I could duplicate the flavors in an easier way…and what’s easier than a sandwich?”
“I know it’s just chicken, ham, and cheese, but why does it taste so good?”
“That’s just the ingredients. It’s not regular bread from the store, it’s a foccacia I found that’s thicker than the usual ones. It has onions and garlic and some other herbs baked into it, so that gives a lot of flavor. The ham is black forest ham they sell at Eddie’s, that butcher a couple miles away. It’s not the super expensive stuff, but it’s not cheap by any means. They got that rotisserie chicken there, too, so I get some of the breast and shred it into the sandwich. And that bread place sells artisan cheeses they make right in the store.”
Karah turned her attention back to the sandwiches. Emma did the same with a whole new appreciation and respect for her sister’s cooking genius and meticulous behavior. How she could go out of her way during her busy schedule just to make a sandwich made Emma feel very loved.
“All these sammies are making me fatter, though. I gained three pounds this week alone.” Emma pouted.
Karah glanced over. “You look fine to me. And you still have your great sense of style, Em. Normally, you’d think a woman your size wouldn’t look so good in such revealing clothes. You know how the media is. But you look good, not gross or trashy or anything. You’re beautiful. Maybe even more so now that you’re chubbier.”
“Fatter,” Emma interjected. “I passed up ‘chubby’ months ago.” She giggled.
“Maybe so, but you’re still happier. You enjoy stuff more, I think. Especially food, you used to be so touchy about it I thought you had an eating disorder.”
Emma nodded, eyes following the sandwiches as Karah took them off the grill-style pan. “I used to be preoccupied with food…rather the not eating thereof. When I started my job, I just ate what was available to me because I had to eat something. Then I started putting on weight and figured I’d start a diet that next week. Then the next one. Then the next.”
Karah shut the refrigerator and poured cold soda into a large glass to accompany the sandwiches. Emma walked to the kitchen island and leaned on it. “I got kinda depressed about it,” she continued. “But I figured if I chose not to lose it, I couldn’t be upset that I have it. Besides,” she smiled broadly, “remember when I first got the job and told you that there was this hot guy that worked for one of the mortuaries that would come get the bodies? When I started gaining weight, he started lingering around longer. We started going out to lunch, and he asked me out this Friday!” She took a happy bite out of a sandwich.
“How do you know that he isn’t some kind of necrophiliac, trying to hang around all the extra bodies?” Karah laughed.
“Uh, because he asked me out, goofus! And liking dead bodies is just gross!”
“See! That’s why he asked you out, so he doesn’t look like a weirdo perv!” Karah laughed again as Emma hit her with the napkin.
“You dork! Besides, only a weirdo perv asks out a woman my size.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Karah agreed in a false solemn tone.
She broke her straight face with a belly laugh. “Em, you know I’m kidding. He’s not a weirdo perv, any guy would be lucky to have you.”
Emma started towards the stove absent-mindedly. “The old me. Back when I was hot.”
Karah hugged her sister. “But Ems, I thought you liked how you look. I thought you were comfortable with it?”
Glumly, Emma looked at Karah, then back at the stove, then down to the floor. “Yeah, I know. It’s just sometimes…I dunno.”
“Well, if you don’t know, then don’t sulk over it.”
She smirked. “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s watch some TV.”
Between long hours, formaldehyde-scented clothes, and lecture after lecture, Emma sat down in the driver’s seat of her 2003 Honda Accord after her last class. She sipped on the too-sweet iced white mocha from the campus coffee cart, a compulsory buy to compliment their delicious scones. While the coffee fell short of greatness, the fact that Emma had the night off work did much more for her spirits than any drink could, and her date with Eric that night added giddiness.
Emma drove the five miles to her dormitory with the AC on high and the radio higher. She parked next to a new BMW 700 series, taking her time getting out. “Damn!” She exclaimed after finally managing to squeeze her soft belly and large hips out of her car without allowing its door to knick the BMW. She opened the passenger door to get her purse out. “Yeah, good job parking buddy,” she complained at the BMW driver, despite the absence of anyone else in the lot. “Just because we spend a lot on our car doesn’t mean we can park however we want.”
Emma unlocked the door and shut it behind her, sighing a relief that the week was through and her Friday was her own. The familiar coffee scent, Karah’s favorite flavor from a local shop, dripped thickly through the air. Coffee, mixed with an eggy scent, lured Emma away from the entrance.
“Quiche? For breakfast? Now you’ve really outdone yourself, girl!” Emma pulled the dish from the microwave, having been set there to keep the food warm. The small pan in which it came to life held the warmth from its previous oven home. Emma’s hands whipped back in surprise of the heat. “Damn, freshly made I guess!”
Emma groaned and rolled over, turning her face away from the window. Her cream blinds desperately fought back the sunlight, which burst through the cracks and gaps, dumping sticks of yellow all over the bed.
“I really gotta move this thing, or get a canopy. Something. Ugh.” Emma squinted and took her time sitting up, glancing at the clock. The green numbers told her it was 3:14, giving her a little under two hours before Eric picked her up for their date.
Emma stood up, stretched, then scratched her stomach and right knee. Walking to the shower, she grabbed the bottle of body wash she bought from Victoria’s Secret but always forgot to put in the bathroom. The scent was called Amber Romance and would hopefully overshadow the odors of the morgue with its thick smell.
A corner of the towel wiped the steam from the bathroom mirror, then continued to dry Emma’s hair. She studied her face in the mirror, checking for any stray eyebrow hairs or blemishes. Knowing Karah left the blinds to the window overlooking the courtyard open, she wrapped herself in the large towel and headed back for her room.
“Doo da doo, what to wear?” Emma half sung, sifting through her closet. “These pants are so awesome, but they’re a little tight.” She put them on, feeling the fabric suck to her thighs and butt like a second skin. “Well, I like the pants, so whatever.” She rummaged through her underwear drawer for a thong, then realized they were all in the hamper. “Guess someone’s going commando,” she giggled, shaking her hips in delight of the small freedom.
“Top, top, top, top…hmm.” The dark blue pants made it easy to pair with a top of virtually any color. She decided on a simple, cap-style shirt with poofy sleeves, a wide neck, and lace-style designs starting at the hip and extending a quarter down the thigh. She put on a pale yellow bra and slid the shirt over her head. After stepping into a pair of dark blue, open-toed high heels, she shut her closet, looked into its full length mirror, and then frowned at her belly.
“If I could have just got the hips and boobs, that’d be cool. But this belly? Ugh. My abs used to rock.” She lifted her shirt to take in its stretch mark adorned circumference, poking and squeezing it with her tongue stuck out in disgust. Then she started slapping her hands against her stomach, watching it ripple from the miniscule force. She tapped it in rapid succession, causing a constant flow of ripples, tickling her slightly and causing her to smirk.
“I guess it’s not that bad,” she decided, sticking her tongue at her reflection and heading to the bathroom to fix her hair and apply some make-up.
Twenty minutes before Eric said he would arrive, Emma opened the refrigerator for a snack. She made herself two sandwiches, reasoning that she would eat less on the date. Never one to order just a salad at a restaurant, Emma wanted to look like she had some kind of self-control with eating, believing it would somehow impress Eric.
Eric announced his arrival with two hard knocks on the door.
“Eeee!” Emma squealed, running for the door. She paused, caught her breath, smoothed her clothes and hair, then opened the door.
“That excited, huh?” Eric smiled widely.
“I heard you squeal, then I heard you run over here.”
Emma blushed furiously. “Oh, uh, well, yeah, I guess so.”
Noticing her embarrassment, Eric grinned kindly. “Quite the compliment, Emma. I can safely say I’ve never had that reaction before.” He chuckled, his humbling laugh putting her at ease.
“First time for everything, I guess,” she forced embarrassment out through a laugh.
“Yeah, guess so. Anyway, you ready, or…?”
“Totally. I wouldn’t have run to the door if I was half-naked!” She shut and locked the door behind her.
“That would have called for an instant change of plans!” Eric exclaimed, his manner and inflection making his comment innocent instead of uncomfortably sexual.
“So, where we going?” Emma asked as they walked to Eric’s early 90’s F-150.
“Yeah, I got this whole thing planned out, I think you’ll like it.” He opened the passenger door, revealing a single pink rose.
“Oh, hey!” Picking up the rose, she took a deep whiff and smiled a thank-you.
“I figured that would be a good way to give it to you,” Eric explained as he guided her into the vehicle by the small of her back. “This is a lot less expected, so I figured you’d rather have a nice surprise than a typical roses-at-the-door greeting.”
He shut the door and went to the driver’s side. Emma decided against telling him that no one gave her roses at the beginning of a date, even when she was thin and sexy.
“So anyway,” he started the truck and backed out of the spot, “I was thinking we could take a walk on Walton’s Trail, then get some dinner and head to that new gelato place on Fulton. Sound okay?”
Still sniffing the rose, “Yeah, I love the outdoors! I used to do all kinds of activities. Sports and stuff, rock climbing, base jumping. I don’t have the time, or the build, to keep it up, though. Kinda sucks.”
Eric’s eyes stayed on the road, but he responded. “Yeah, I noticed you’ve been putting on weight. I’m glad it’s just from the job instead of, say, depression or something like that. Not that added weight is a bad thing. I think you look better this way.”
Emma blushed, a reaction that went unnoticed by the focused driver. “Thanks,” she said. “I like how I look, but sometimes the weight gets to me.”
“Don’t let it,” Eric interrupted. “You’re beautiful.”
Emma shut the door after thanking Eric for a lovely evening, the hazelnut gelato still alive and delicious on her tongue. The date went very well, Eric seemed to master being able to keep a conversation moving while also being an attentive listener. By the time they arrived at the restaurant, Emma felt comfortable enough to order more than a simple salad. Eric’s demeanor made her feel good about herself, and the fact that he came right out and told her that he preferred large women helped. Still giddy from the date and Eric’s penchant for big curves, Emma helped herself to three scoops of ice cream and a handful of Oreos.
“Uh-oh,” Karah said, sleepily walking into the room where Emma ate and watched TV.
“Oh, Karah, did I wake you? I’d say sorry, but you go to bed way too early.” She giggled.
“Yeah, well, I’ll be healthy, wealthy, and wise, I guess. Anyway, are you okay? You just went on a date and now you’re stuffing your face with sweets. Did everything go okay?” Concern lovingly wrapped Karah’s words as she sat on the couch with her sister.
“Oh, totally!” She beamed. “It was great! Eric’s such a nice guy, and he’s so cute! Oh, and get this, he likes fat chicks!”
Karah sprayed out an unexpected laugh. “So that’s why you’re eating! You silly!” She tickled Emma, who started kicking her curled up feet out from under her, thighs, belly, and legs jiggling with each movement. “Oh no, Ems! Laughter makes you lose weight, better eat more!”
“Stop it, stop it!” Emma gasped between laughs, carefully guarding her ice cream. “If you don’t stop I’ll drop the ice cream and you know how it’ll stain!”
Karah ceased the attack. “You’re no fun.” She smiled. “So, tell me about the date.”
A few months later, Emma and Eric’s relationship grew. They kept it professional at work as best they could, save for the occasional pat on the rear or kiss on the check. Emma’s weight increased by twenty pounds and continued to go up. She thought of it as a work-in-progress, Eric thought of it as lovely, and Karah thought it a great opportunity to try out new recipes. Karah took great pride and care packing Emma’s lunches for work, filling her soft mini cooler until it would almost not zip closed. Eric’s constant compliments and Karah’s delectable food only encouraged her to eat her fill and more.
One morning, Emma woke up rather hungry. She had neither work nor school to attend. Eric’s mother, hospitalized for a car accident, had her son with her, leaving Emma with an entire day to herself and her rumbling stomach.
“Karah, make me some breakfast,” Emma whined. When she had no answer, she looked at the clock on the microwave. Karah would be at school for another two hours. “Dang it. Probably left some…all right!” The microwave door revealed a rather large quiche, full of mild chilies, ground beef, and cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Noticeable pieces of jalapeno showed themselves in the buttery crust. A note accompanied the quiche on the plate, informing Emma that another quiche would require removal from the oven once the timer went off.
“Just what I needed! Gimme some quiche, gimme some OJ, gimme toast and butter and jelly…” Emma improvised a song, swinging her generous hips as she grabbed each named component to complete her breakfast. “…aaand, another quiche, Em’s has a big big appetite, Karah will be back soon, doo da doo duh doo…”
Emma turned on her television, forgetting how much she hated daytime programming. “Maybe there’s a talk show…I could watch a mov-…hey, here we go.” She settled on a talked show viewed previously a few times and started on her sizable breakfast.
Kzzz! Kzzz! Kzzz! The timer yelled for Emma to rescue the quiche from its warm prison.
“All right!” Emma popped up from her half-seated position, causing the crumbs to spring forth off her pajama top. A few clung to the material, safe and happy upon her warm breast. Emma paid no attention, concerned only with the task before her.
A wave of heat and savory puffed into her face as she opened the oven, carefully taking out the extra-large quiche. “It’s so big! Oh, nummy!” A deep whiff told emma that along with the mandatory egg filling, the quiche contained chicken, bacon, pepperjack, and a second cheese Emma knew she could determine by taste. The quiche, along with some microwaveable bacon, sausage, and three breakfast Hot Pockets, made its way to the bed.
Emma, not bringing any napkins for the greasier foods, ended up eating her excessively large meal as dainty as possible, turning the gorge into a twisted game of lady-like elegance versus horse-like appetite.
After eating, Emma still found herself in the kitchen, fixing a tall, well-stacked sandwich.
A fumble of keys, the door cracked, and Karah stepped in. “Wow, what have you been eating?”
“Everything, why?” A bite of the sandwich left mayonnaise and two kinds of mustard on Emma’s smiling mouth. She wiped it off.
Karah set her purse and backpack next to the door. “I just smell a lot more than my quiches.” Suddenly, Karah’s face sunk into a combination of disappointment and panicked worry. “Did you like them? Were they okay? You said you’ve eaten everything…I tried to make them taste good and be big enough and…”
Emma interrupted. “They were big and delicious, Karah. I just can’t fill up! I don’t know why. I’m not sad or worried or sick or anything, and by now you should know that I love your cooking.”
“So it’s not my cooking? They were okay?”
Emma hid an eye roll. Karah needed constant reassurance, which is why she cooked; she was excellent at it and always had an audience in her sister. “They were so delicious that I’d have eaten forty of them.”
A smile slipped across Karah’s smooth face. “Great! Then let’s fix you something to eat!” She nodded to Emma’s room.
Emma took the cue and went to watch TV, reminding Karah that she was terribly hungry and to not hold back on the portion sizes. Karah agreed and set to solitary work, knowing Emma’s delight when she would return to a kitchen full of treats.
An hour and forty-five minutes later, Emma came out of her room for the eighth time. “Is it ready yet?” She groaned.
“Just a second longer Ems…okay, you can come out.”
The living room coffee table, in its solid, mahogany build, held a vast spread of foods in such quantity Emma only ever saw at a buffet or Thanksgiving table for extended family.
“I gotta go to work now,” Karah announced, packing a healthy lunch for herself. “But you’re not working tonight so I might see you, unless you or I end up going out. Chuck and Samantha and I are probably going to be out all night with some of Sammy’s friends. There’s a movie marathon one of them’s running all night.”
“Okay, sounds like fun,” Emma replied, eyes glued to the table. “I wonder if this will be enough to sustain me until you get back tomorrow!”
Karah laughed and shook her head before leaving the dorm room and an elated but overwhelmed Emma behind.
“Okay, wow, where do I start? Where should I start? Options, options! It all looks so good, maybe some of this,” she ate a spoonful of cheesy broccoli, “and a bit of the scalloped potatoes…mmm! Wow! Let’s try that chicken!”
What she intended to be a calm, relaxed sampling quickly turned into a slightly controlled gorge. Emma dismissed the idea of eating without utensils, feeling that would somehow make the event uncivilized.
With loads of proteins, like the baked and fried chicken, chicken fried steak, and beer battered fish, and the vast amount of starches, which included more than ten potato dishes and a variety of pastas, it took no longer than fifteen minutes before Emma felt incredibly full. She looked sadly upon the decorated table, with food missing in many dishes, but nothing that would make Karah’s exhaustive efforts worthwhile. “I can’t do this to her. This is a lot of food, and poor Karah’s gonna be crushed if I don’t show my appreciation in a more obvious way.” With a new resolve, Emma set to wok on the spread. Instead of randomly choosing spoonfuls, she worked with calculated determination, thinking herself akin to the workers she passed on the way to classes who removed debris from the abandoned industrial building.
Each mound of food was systematically eroded until only the dish and inedible parts were left. Emma turned on the TV, recalling that she heard people who eat while watching TV end up eating more since their minds are distracted. She felt the Food Network would perfectly compliment her endeavor, and expanded her stomach to Good Eats.
Good Eats turned into $40 A Day, which turned into Barefoot Contessa, which gave way to Everyday Italian and then 30 Minute Meals. Emma continued eating, feeling that the pain in her stomach, the pull of her jeans, and the tightening of her esophagus a simple, livable discomfort to show Karah that her hard work was absolutely appreciated.
Shows later revealed another episode of $40 A Day, an episode which found Rachel Ray in Seattle. With labored breathing, Emma selected the beer-battered fish to accompany the episode; the salmon she ate made Emma feel as if she participated in the show in some way. Emma suppressed and swallowed several attempt of her stomach to force the food back out. Every bite she consumed instantly aggravated and activated her gag reflex, but she allowed it to slowly slide down her throat.
“Karah’s going to be so happy when she sees this,” Emma smiled to herself, breathing harder. “I’m probably going to gain, like, a million pounds, so Eric’ll be happy with that side effect. And this food is so, so good, it’s a real win-win…win,” she thought, forcing down some potato salad.
Extreme pain suddenly gripped Emma as her stomach finally gave up and ruptured. The abrupt expansion of the food from compacted in the stomach shoved itself against Emma’s intestines and tore a hole through the fat in her abdomen. Having found an avenue to fill, the food and digestive juices bore through the fat. The hydrochloric acid made quick work of Emma’s skin, and the partially digested food and other liquids poured steadily out of the tear, like a sausage being made with no wrapping to hold it in. The excessive pain knocked Emma cold, and her body slumped over as the lovingly prepared and lovingly consumed meal pushed out of her, while Rachel Ray explained why Seattle’s college population made it easier to find inexpensive dining.
The requestor asked me to write a story about a girl who is currently fat who gorges until she explodes.