chapter 1Anne Connor stopped at the top of the stairs to steady herself and gather her strength. This wasn’t going to go like last time, she told herself, or the time before that. This time, she wasn’t going to let sweet talk and sweet treats stand in her way. No, this time she was going to march straight up to Mr. Mackay’s room and demand that he pay her every last nickel and dime that she was owed. If he refused, she’d have him out on his ass, no matter how scrumptious those pastries of his were. She had a lodging house to run, and she could hardly do that if her lodgers refused to pay their rent, now could she?
22 Abertwaith Rd. was an old Victorian house with a bright, yellow façade and rows of vast bay windows that let plenty of sunlight through. Anne had taken the place over a couple of years ago, when she was only nineteen. Running it all on her own was no easy task, but she was determined to make it work. And, when Anne Connor set her mind on something, you’d better believe she’d get it done.
With her slight, supple frame, delicate features, and wavy, strawberry hair – which she kept tied back in a tight braid – the willowy waif of a girl had caught more than a few eyes over the years. But, she wasn’t the kind to care about such things. Her work kept her far too busy to bother with empty pleasures of any sort. Or, at least, so she’d thought, until Mr. Mackay had moved in.
Anne frowned and pulled at her dress – a sky blue garment with long sleeves and a straight skirt. She’d bought the thing only a few months ago, and it was already starting to feel snug on her, as were most of her old clothes. Putting a hand to her once flat stomach she felt her fingers sink into a layer of plush pudge.
For as long as she could remember, Anne had never had to worry much about her weight. All her life, people had used to tell her that: if she wasn’t careful, she might well just waste away one of these days. Then, Mr. Mackay had come along. He was a pastry chef in training, apparently, and always working on some new recipe or other. Once he’d moved in, it hadn’t been long before Anne’s clothes had started to shrink and people had started to say that she was growing some ‘nice curves’ on her. Anne hadn’t known what to say to that, and before she’d had the chance to give it much thought, she’d already gone up another size or two. Her pert buttocks had grown ripe and round, and her sleek thighs had turned squishy and soft, to the point that her flab had started to spread across her seat whenever she sat. Her face had filled out, her tapered waist had vanished under a ring of soft flesh, and people had moved on to telling her that she might want to watch what she put in her mouth. Anne wasn’t sure what to say to that either. One thing she was sure about, though, was that if she wanted to get this whole thing under control, she would have to put Mr. Mackay in his place.
Curling her fingers into fists, Anne strode the last couple of steps up to her spacious garret, where her troublesome lodger had made his home.
“Excuse me?” she said, tapping her knuckles against the door.
“It’s open,” came a casual reply from the other side.
Anne turned the knob and was immediately overwhelmed by the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked goods. The whole flat was piled top to bottom with plates and platters covered in kitchen towels. Not a single chair, table, or countertop had been left clear. Mr Mackay himself was over by the oven at the other end of the room, pulling another batch of home-made cupcakes out of the heat. He was a stocky, powerfully built young man – only a year or two older than Anne herself – with broad shoulders, strong hands, and a bit of a belly on him. His face was boyishly handsome, with wide, almond eyes and a square, stubbled chin. A mop of dark hair sat in a spiky, unruly mess atop his head.
“Hey there,” he turned to look at her over his shoulder, “care for a bite?”
“Not right now, thanks, Mr. Mackay.” Anne crossed her arms and drew her lips tight. “I’m afraid we need to have a little talk, you and I.”
“Oh, William, please,” he smiled, a gleam in his eye, “Mr. Mackay makes me sound like an old man. Are you sure I can’t tempt you? I’m working on this new recipe, you see, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.” He held his plate out towards her, and Anne felt her posture soften in spite of herself. It was all she could do to stop from sighing as the fumes of the freshly made things wafted into her nostrils.
“Well, just the one, then,” she relented.
“Right. Well, why don’t you go ahead and make yourself at home?” William gestured to his bed, the only unoccupied piece of furniture in the entire flat.
Anne hesitated a moment, before planting her well-cushioned butt on his bedspread. Any hint of hesitation on her part, however, was washed away the moment she bit into her freshly made treat. The thing was so succulent and sweet, so rich, ripe and rare, that she had to struggle not to shiver at the sheer taste of it.
Having swallowed the whole thing down, Anne felt her cheeks flush as she noticed the way William was studying her.
“So, be honest, what do you think?”
“Well,” Anne clasped her hands on her lap and tried to act casual, “it was pretty good, I guess…”
"Pretty good?" William frowned. "You don't think they could've used more butter, do you?"
“No…” Anne stopped to consider the question, before catching herself. “Or, yes, maybe. Look, I don’t know, but—”
Before she could get another word out, William popped another pastry from another plate past her lips. Anne was about to object, but, somehow, all her thoughts seemed to fade as the sheer flavour of the thing suffused her very being.
“So, better or worse?” asked William once she was done eating.
“Better,” Anne blurted, unable to stop herself, “definitely better.”
“I see, figured as much.” He thoughtfully scratched his chin. “How much better, would you say?”
“Well,” Anne hesitated, “a bit sweeter, I guess, and more filling.”
“Right,” William nodded. “So, it was good, then?”
“Yeah, sure,” Anne agreed. “Now, if you don’t mind—” she continued, clearing her throat.
“In a moment, please.” He raised a finger to silence her. “First, would you mind trying just one more?”
Anne frowned, scrunching her snub nose as she looked first up at William – at his warm smile and amused almond eyes – and then down at the delicious cupcakes he was holding out towards her. She knew she probably shouldn’t, but…
“Oh alright,” she sighed. “Just one more, though.”
“Of course,” William agreed, a wry smile on his face as he handed her third and final cupcake over to her.
The moment she bit into the scrumptious-looking thing, Anne felt her fleshy, freckled face flush a bright red. Her whole mind seemed, simply, to melt away as the pastry melted in her mouth, and she couldn’t stop a shivering sigh escaping from somewhere deep within her.
“So, guessing that one was a success?” William grinned, cocking his head and crossing his arms.
“Well, maybe…” Anne answered, not looking all the way up at him.
“I think I might have to try one more, just to be sure.”
“Is that so?” William raised a single eyebrow. “You know, I think it might be time the two of us got back on topic.”
“What?” Anne scrunched up her nose.
“There was something you wanted to talk about, right?”
“Oh, yes,” Anne blinked, recalling why she’d stormed up there in the first place. “Well, it’s about the rent, actually…”
“Right, that,” said William, as though the matter had completely slipped his mind. “Sorry, I’m a bit short at the moment. Been spending a lot on ingredients lately, you see. You wouldn’t mind waiting another couple of weeks, would you? I promise I’ll have it all by then.”
“That’s what you said a couple of weeks ago,” Anne scowled, “and a couple of weeks before that.”
“Yes,” she narrowed her eyes, “it is?”
“Right,” William stroked his chin, sucking in a breath between his teeth. “Well, sorry about that. I was just so close to getting these right, you know?” He gestured at the many plates and platters of fragrant treats spread across Anne’s attic. “I guess I got a bit carried away.”
“That’s one way to put it,” Anne said, sharply
“Still, they turned out pretty good, right?”
“I guess,” Anne sighed, breathing in another lungful of the freshly baked things. “But I still need that money, or I’ll have to throw you out, no matter how good those cupcakes of yours are.”
“Right,” William stopped to think, his eyes darting absently around the room. “Well, you can have these, if you like?” he grabbed a plate of the tasty things and held them out towards Anne.
“Are you serious?” she tightened her lips.
“Yeah, sure,” William shrugged, “why not? I mean, they’re good, right? And there should be enough here to cover the two of us for a few weeks, at least, don’t you think?”
“I don’t know…” Anne said, her eyes locked on all those delicious, golden brown treats.
“Come on,” William pushed the platter closer towards her. “I’ll throw in anything else I happen to make as well, of course. So, what do you say?”
“Oh, alright,” Anne rolled her eyes, her face breaking into a greedy little grin. “But just this once, you hear me?”
“Of course,” William agreed, smiling ever so slightly, “just this once.”
Romance Feeding/Stuffing Denying Addictive Competitive Resistant Indulgant Female Straight Weight gain Other/None
2 chapters, created 2 years , updated 2 years
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