The door opened and Melissa was standing there in her hotel room. But surely she could in no way be referred to as Melissa anymore.
It had been long months since I had looked in a mirror as Dahlia and seen my reflection as it once was looking back at me: my slim form and beautiful face. The memory of it was a little hazy, though still there. This was like that. She gazed back at me looking every bit as though she really were my former self. She had the same slender legs and arms, the same slim but nicely-endowed figure. Her hair and make-up were immaculate.
I let out a mouse-like gasp because for the briefest of moments an unthinking element of me thought I was somehow looking into a mirror – that the transformations had been reversed.
Of course there were differences. Though unpredictably close, her facial features weren’t the same as mine had been. But for that moment I had become myself again and the increasingly conflicted emotions I’d been feeling flip-flopped and I got dual sensations in my tummy that hit hard enough to nauseate me: relief that my beauty was recaptured; that the idiotic mistakes I’d made to pursue my fantasy had not happened after all – and paroxysms of regret; that I’d lost the comfortable bulk; that all my efforts to escape had been wasted.
But this irrationality only lasted for that split second and the true nature of what I was seeing lamped me in the bridge of my nose.
If this were a mirror I was looking into then it was a distorting carnival mirror; one that showed what might have been; that showed a different life than the one I had.
Seeing Melissa, the one true Dahlia now, looking back at me in a posture, by coincidence, identical to my own, the reality of my true shape was outlined all the more starkly. I saw the surprise in her face as she looked at me, the wonder that continued to hold as she traced the round contours of my face and girth, the bulging mass of my arms and legs, my breasts and stomach folds. I already knew how grossly over-mass I was but it was only now, seeing it parodied in her expression; seeing the upward curl of her lips; that it became truly real.
I looked down at myself; saw the gigantic mass of my new body. In my own mind-space, within the safety of my hotel and my fantasies, the continuing engorgement of my body had not been “real.”
Now it was.
Now the awful accumulation of my transformation couldn’t be obscured beneath the folds of my conscious mind. This had happened. This was a genuine conversion from beautiful washed-up model to bloated, morbidly obese sow.
“Come in Melissa,” she said, stepping back, her eyes glistening, that impish smile coming out to play on her lips. “You look very... well.”
Meaning fat surely.
I shambled in, aware of my bulk and the narrowness of the doorway; the shifting of the puffy masses around my middle; the quivering of the flab in my calves and thighs with each step, the swollen podginess around my face; the trembling jelly of my upper arms. Melissa’s movements in her heels were graceful and dainty. She moved like a dancer... or a model. She moved like I used to. In the side of my eye she was the spitting image of the real Dahlia Western.
I stood in the centre of the room, unsure how to bring up the idea of changing back while she closed the door after me and gave me another smile, this one more reassuring. I still felt acutely uncomfortable but it was a different kind of discomfort now – more an ordinary social one. This was her domain. I was... unsuitable for a place like this now. When I was in hotel rooms it was almost exclusively in the role of cleaner, theoretically subservient to the person dwelling inside. I found myself slipping into that role automatically. It was made all the more potent by the nature of our swap. Since coming to Greece, she had been the employer, I the employee. As agreed on arrival, she had never allowed me to feel in any way her equal. How true that felt now though; no play acting required. She was my superior in every way, and not just in terms of her beauty and slenderness compared to my weight and homeliness; my thick glasses. She carried herself with a verve and confidence that I could no longer touch. My sense of self was turned inward. I was too aware of my rotund silhouette and the dismal depths of my societal and occupational fall. If I had had any sense of personal beauty and worth they had been all but squeezed out of me by the scornful ministrations and rejections of the cook, himself so near the bottom of the barrel.
Was this how the original Melissa had felt around the original me? Surely if she had then it could only, in the long term have ended in envy and bitterness. It seemed impossible that she had been such a good and supportive friend. I feared that if our positions had been switched in the first place, I would have done anything to try to steal her life; to scratch it away from her and take it for my own, no matter how manipulative or conniving I had to be to do it.
But it hadn’t been that way. I had chosen the swap – I had chosen to become this lumbering, bovine skivvy. Melissa was my friend; perhaps the closest friend I had ever had in my skewed and oddly fantastical celebrity life. I trusted her fully.
“I haven’t seen you in so long,” said Melissa. “You really have changed. You look... more like your real self than ever before. It’s incredible.”
A prideful grin found its way onto my face without me willing it into existence.
“When we first came to this country together you didn’t... look yourself... but now you do. You look almost exactly the same as... you used to. You really look like the Melissa I remember. Well done. You’ve done incredibly.”
I beamed at the compliment and the validation of what I’d been telling myself was foolish and dangerous. Suddenly it didn’t seem so. With Melissa’s approval it didn’t seem exposed as ludicrous and idiotic. It did feel normal. Recognising that removed a good deal of the painfully scratching self-doubt I’d been feeling. It took away some of that discomfort. My superior was patting me on the head and telling me I had done well. Surely there was nothing as self-affirming as that.
For the first time in a while I got a sizzle of arousal between my thighs that surprised me.
“I have something for you,” she said and walked toward the bedroom, apparently expecting me to follow. I did so, my puppy-dog tail wagging nervously.
On the bed was a suitcase, and one I recognised. It was the case that she had brought with her when she first came. She flipped open the top and lifted a dress up into view.
“Oh God,” I muttered, and that arousal increased, fizzling down my legs and up into my stomach with a satisfying warmth.
It was the dress she had worn all those months ago on that first day, back in Nockton Vale when I had first suggested this.
It was navy blue, cut to stop above the knee with a square neck and short sleeves.
The same dress she had worn that first day.
“I think it might fit you now,” she said, smiling.
I nodded haltingly, uncertain how to reply.
“Why don’t you try it on,” she said, holding it out to me.
I stepped closer and took it, that stimulation in my crotch blazing hotter.
That was when I realised what she was wearing. She was dressed in the same bathing suit and silk robe I had worn when I’d broached the subject, that day when we exchanged clothes for the first time. They fit her perfectly. She looked entirely natural in them, as though they always had been and always would be her clothes. They were certainly her clothes now.
She caught my glance and her smile broadened. “Do you like my outfit? It suits me doesn’t it?”
I nodded mutely.
“Get changed,” she said. “I really want to see you in this.”
I nodded again and took it, holding it up to my body. That first time it had seemed gigantic compared to the figure-hugging outfits I normally wore; tent-like and curiously out of scale; as though I were a little girl again, playing dress up in her mother’s clothes.
Now it didn’t look out-sized in the least. It looked like it belonged to me; like it... fit me in more ways than the physical.
It wasn’t made of expensive material. It was a hard-wearing work dress for a career cleaner and surely if it really fit now then that transformation from model to domestic, from Dahlia to Melissa, would be complete.
I quickly took off the clothes I was wearing and took up the dress again. I bunched it up and slipped it over my head. It was snug; hard to pull into place; the girth of my distended arms and the folds of my belly snagging against the fabric as I struggled to pull it down into place. I pushed my arms out through the sleeves, the cloth clinging tightly around my doughy flesh and then tugged it down around my bosom and my swollen stomach.
When it finally fell into place I was red-faced and embarrassed. Melissa was watching, leaning against the window frame, her face intent and mirthful. I gave her a tight-lipped smile and then looked down at myself.
It fit me.
It fit me as though it were my own.
It was my own now.
I got a sense of Melissa’s original perfume and body scent from it and with it the acknowledgement that I had truly reached my goal now. I shivered with arousal.
I was every bit as fat as she had been when I first suggested the swap. I had her dark bobbed hair; her glasses, only one prescription away from being as thick as hers had been. I had been slaving in my role as a cleaner for months; subjecting myself to my new social class, acquainting myself with others like me, allowing the skinny cook to have his way as I settled into alcohol abuse and overeating as I became an increasingly heavy smoker.
I had become Melissa. She had become Dahlia.
This was it. The end had been reached.
I closed my eyes and tried to comprehend the enormity of it – that I had achieved every aspect of my sordid and self-destructive fantasy. I had switched places with my cleaner and become her in almost conceivable way.
The titillation I was feeling became a low but constant simmer.
I smiled. But I felt sad as well. Because surely this had reached its conclusion now; played out as far as it had any right to go. I could stay this way for a little while longer; enjoying the culmination of my plan and the reality of its achievement; enjoy being Melissa as she had once been. But surely too it was time to address its ending because it did have to end – I knew that now for sure. I couldn’t go on anymore. A week or two more maybe but nothing beyond that. It had to end. It had to reverse. I had never been clearer on it, as though I were waking up finally from a dream that had come true.
I opened my eyes and turned to Melissa. She was looking right at me but she must have sensed something of the contents of my mind because the smile waned on her mouth. Her eyes faltered, eyebrows coming together.
I turned my body to face her, the hem of the skirt swishing into its new position as my trunklike legs replanted themselves, as my rotund shape shifted and settled, trembling.
We looked at one another. I held the moment for as long as I could but the electric stimulation in my genitalia was dying now. The stimulation was passing.
After months of being subservient; of being Melissa; it was time to take control again. It was time to set this on the path to its conclusion and reversal.
It was time to give Melissa the bad news.