the line

chapter 1

Closing the front door with a bump of her hip, Jessica slumped against the wall and let out an exhausted sigh. It was as hot as the dickens outside, and the walk back to her room from the dining hall wasn't exactly a short one. With an exasperated huff, she rocked herself forward, back into a standing position, and trudged toward the kitchen through the common area, eager to flop onto her cozy bed. Why had she picked the most inaccessible room in the house? Those extra dozen steps intensified the trek from the dining hall by a disproportionate amount, she reflected as she transitioned from the faded, thin carpet of the common area to the slick linoleum of the kitchen.

As Jessica passed the fridge, her hand instinctively grabbed the handle, tugging it open so she could peer inside. Her stomach gurgled, reminding her that she'd just had a rather substantial meal at the dining hall... but hey, it was a long walk back. She deserved a snack.

Unfortunately, the only things in the fridge were an unopened jar of pickles and a gallon half-filled with what smelled like sour milk. Wrinkling her nose, Jessica hastily shut the fridge, reaching up to check the freezer for more appetizing fare. At first, there didn't appear to be much besides a box of breakfast burritos, but Jessica had more than a little experience foraging for tasty treats. Her eyes brightened when she spotted a quart of ice cream near the back. The label read "Premium Dutch Chocolate", which suited her just fine. Ice cream was ice cream, as far as she was concerned, but the words "premium" and "chocolate" certainly couldn't hurt. Eagerly, she strutted over to the silverware drawer and grabbed a large spoon, her prior exhaustion forgotten in her greedy fervor. However, as she peeled open the lid to dig in, she noticed something scrawled on the tub in permanent marker.

"Property of Alice. DO NOT TOUCH. That means you, Jessica."

Jessica frowned, vaguely miffed that Alice had singled her out in the note. That said, surely her skinny housemate wouldn't mind if she had a single bite. Hell, she probably wouldn't even notice! Buoyed by the prospect of a tasty dessert--her second for the evening--Jessica flounced into the common area and plopped down on the couch, lifting a spoonful of ice cream to her lips. She sighed. Sheer bliss.

~

"Seriously, Jess?"

Jessica started as she came to her senses, flinching and throwing her arms up defensively. She heard a hollow thump as something fell to the carpet and she looked up at the silhouette standing between her and the light. With her arms crossed and her hips cocked to the side, Alice stared accusingly at her housemate, tapping her foot impatiently. Jessica wallowed on the couch for a moment, trying to heave herself into a less reclined position in case she had to fend Alice off. The petite redhead had a fittingly fiery temper, and, given the empty ice cream carton that had just fallen to the floor at her feet, Jessica surmised that she might be on the receiving end of her ire.

"It wasn't me..." Jessica tried, meekly and unconvincingly.

"Bull! I wrote my name on the ice cream that I bought with my money, like we agreed in the house rules! And I specifically warned you not to eat it, Jess! Why do you have to be such a pig all the time?"

"Hey, that's not fair..." Jessica protested, reflexively wrapping her arms around the chubby belly that she'd developed over four years of college. However, Alice was in a fighting mood, and this wasn't enough to dissuade the angry redhead.

"Oh really?" Alice pounced, lifting Jessica's sweatshirt and squeezing her pale paunch, "Then where'd you get this pudgy gut, if you're not a pig? I don't remember you having that when we were freshmen!"

Jessica tugged the sweatshirt back down, but Alice was far from done. "What's not fair is me buying food as a treat for myself, and then you stuffing yourself silly with it! Don't you have an ounce of self-control , Jess?" Without pausing to give Jessica time to counter, Alice continued, "Of course you don't! That's why you've ballooned into a big, fat pig!"

Instantly, she could tell that she'd gone too far when she saw the corners of Jessica's eyes begin to moisten. As if a switch had been flipped, her anger drained away, replaced by regret and sympathy. She sat down next to her blonde housemate and draped an arm over her soft shoulder. "Hey..." Alice said, in a quieter voice, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I'm just... stressed out, you know? I'm worried that I'm not gonna get the job after graduation."

Jessica sniffled, but returned the half-hug, "I know. And I'm sorry that I ate your ice cream, I've just been worried too. I guess we just deal with it differently..." She looked down at the well-fed gut that bulged into her lap, disgustedly eyeing its rotundity. The pair of girls was quiet for a moment, until Jessica piped up, "What happens if one of us gets the job and the other one doesn't?"

Alice shrugged, but smiled bravely, "Then the one who doesn't will be very happy for the one who does, like we agreed. Besides, I don't think we have anything to worry about. They've got tons of positions, I'm sure we'll both get it.

Grateful for her friend's comforting words, Jessica squeezed her hand, "Thanks, Alice. You're the best."

The redhead stood easily, scooping up the empty tub and winking at her housemate, "Best or not, the next time I catch you gorging on my food, you're not getting off so easy!"

Jessica smiled to herself as Alice left, her attention slowly drifting away from the anxieties of a second-semester senior, and toward her more immediate concern: her overfull belly.
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I am looking forward to more of this story! 😎
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Porker101 2 weeks
More more more!
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Yes! Well written, great characters, heartfelt emotions. Please continue.
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Jazzman 2 weeks
Very nice story.Looking forward to more