I didn’t know how many months it was now since we’d come to Greece – time and dates didn’t seem relevant to me anymore - but it had been spring. I was sure of that. Now the summer season was coming to an end. The intensity of the heat had lessened. There weren’t as many holiday-makers. The tourist areas had a more empty, abandoned feel to them. Catching the bus from my hotel to Melissa’s was a faintly depressing ride. Most of the seats were empty.
As I did on every journey to see her, I reflected on how I had changed; how different I looked. The transformation hadn’t ended. It went on and on as my body bloated outwards, getting bigger and bigger.
I was truly massive now. Sitting down, my stomach had fold after fold of fat, spreading out in every direction; resting on my thighs. I was wearing a dress and my hips pressed it out, gravity squishing them out to the sides as it compressed them. My knees poked out the bottom of the dress but I couldn’t see my chunky calves and lower legs because my bulk filled too much of the space up. My knees were pushed up against the seat in front. It was lucky that the bus wasn’t full. My mass spread to the side, spilling onto the seat beside me.
The dress was sleeveless and my big, doughy arms were crossed on the metal-topped seat back in front of me. The skin was shiny where it had been stretched, where it’s compression at the elbows made flabby bulges.
Had anyone ever put on weight like this before; with such determination?
I had no idea how much I’d gained but it was a massive amount. I wasn’t myself at all anymore. As my old self I could have climbed inside this body and worn it like a suit.
I rested my head on my forearms and closed my eyes, wondering how Melissa would react when she saw me.
She was always so encouraging and I found that as hard to understand as I ever did. It was the strangest thing I had ever heard of and yet she went along with it gladly; never judging me; playing her part perfectly.
I could understand the benefit she got. It must have been like a dream come true to get to play the part of a rich woman travelling abroad and I had nothing but respect for the way she had taken on that role with gusto, training with an unparalleled passion to get slim; acting out the role of my employer.
Supporting me was another thing entirely. What I was doing was plain mad but she didn’t seem to mind. She encouraged it.
Sometimes she seemed like an unbelievably good friend to support me in this.
Other times I lay awake at night, quaking with anxiety, questioning everything, feeling paranoid and distrusting.
The bus pulled up and I walked the rest of the way to Satine Palace. That hotel too was looking a lot emptier. The woman on reception gave a little sneer as I passed toward the lift. She had seen me visit many times now. I couldn’t imagine who she thought I was.
I rode the elevator up to the penthouse and knocked on Melissa’s door; waited for a full minute; knocked again; waited some more. I was just turning to go when the door opened behind me.
Melissa’s stood there, her eyes twinkling and full of mirth. “Ah, Melissa. Good. Well come in then. Don’t keep me hanging on.”
She stepped back and I entered. There was rather a lot of clutter in her suite: discarded clothes; food and drink containers.
“Give the place a quick tidy would you?” said Melissa, languishing on the sofa. “It’s got a terrible mess and I can’t be bothered to clear up.”
“Yes miss,” I said, hurrying to do it.
She lay stretched out, watching me as I worked, smiling. I felt uncomfortable that she was observing me. I felt scrutinised. It made me tense, sure she would pull me up on some error or clumsiness. The more tense I got, the more I fumbled.
“Do be careful Melissa,” she said, her voice edgy.
“Sorry miss,” I replied quietly, keeping my head down.
It reminded me of the days, back in England when I was still beautiful, when I used to watch her, fantasising about having such a simple job; about being fat and having to wear glasses. She was so much slimmer now than then and what about me?
“Stop,” she said suddenly, that same edge to her tone as was there most of the time.
I did so.
I liked the way she talked down to me.; the role she played as my superior. I hid the smile that tried to compress my lips.
“Let me have a look at you,” she said. “Hold out your arms and turn around.”
I raised my arms as instructed and shuffled around, feeling more than ever how round my trunk was. My tummy and sides bulged outwards, blending into my chunky thighs. My legs were thick, and it didn’t matter that they were still smooth and shapely, they were fat woman’s legs. That couldn’t be denied.
As I’d grown bigger I had bought progressively larger sizes of clothes but the dress I had on now was strained to the limit; uncomfortably tight. I raised my head quickly to look at Melissa and felt a wobble of fat from my chins, the flick of dark hair on my cheeks.
Melissa was grinning broadly. “Oh my God,” she said, clearly delighted, covering her mouth with both hands. “You’re coming on so well sweetheart. It’s almost unbelievable. You must do nothing else but gorge yourself on food. When you aren’t working.” Dimples formed in her cheeks. “How many platefuls do you have at dinner?”
I blushed. “Four. If I can manage.”
“God, really? Four! But small ones though, right? Surely those plates aren’t all piled high.” Her eyes were dancing with delight.
I shrugged. “There’s no limit to how much I‘m allowed,” I said. “And you said I should take advantage of it.”
Melissa giggled. “I certainly did. It’s amazing what you’ve achieved in such a short time.”
“Well it’s almost the end of summer,” I said. “We’re running out of time.”
Melissa became quiet and introspective.
I took the opportunity to look at her and I was just as dazzled as she had been at my weight gain. She must spend all day long in training. She must eat like a bird. She had lost an extraordinary amount; a truly startling loss. And it illustrated how much potential her body had had before she put the weight on in the first place. Had she always been fat as a child? Had she ever realised how nice her body could look?
Her limbs were long and well-toned. Her stomach was becoming compact. I knew she had assisted her weight loss with liposuction, but along with the exercise and the advanced techniques that had clearly been used, she had undergone a magical transformation. She had nice bone structure, oddly similar to my own and again I got the eerie sense that we were like sisters. There were more similarities to our basic faces than there were differences.
But I was conscious that I was staring and at any moment Melissa would remember herself. She might tell me off for loitering.
I decided to get on with the cleaning. That was my comfort zone now. I was so used to it. I think I was happiest when I was down on my knees, scrubbing the floor.
But as I bent down to pick up a discarded wine glass I glanced back at Melissa and saw she was watching me. It made me halt, embarrassed, but I straightened and gave a polite smile. “Sorry Miss Western,” I said. “Would you not like me to go on cleaning round?”
“Yes. Finish doing it,” said Melissa, “but work a bit faster would you. I’m having drinks with a rather dishy man later and I want to have time to look my best.”