Fat Girl Gets the Guy is a working title that seems to have stuck. Depending on how the story unfolds, I might change it – but I admit I’ve grown pretty fond of the story it conjures up. This is Mark’s book, the sequel to Love Handles. I expect to publish it in late May 2012. Normally I don’t open the door on what I’m writing, but if folks are interested I’ll give it a shot.
This is a very early draft. All typos and grammar mistakes are mine. (But you knew that, didn’t you?) I’m using ye olde Courier fonte and underlining the italics to emphasize its draftiness.
“You don’t want me to totally strip, though, right?” Rose asked the lady with hair like a snowball. White and round.Like me, Rose thought.“What kind of bra are you wearing?”Rose looked down at her chest, unusually compressed for the occasion. “It’s a sports bra. Brand new.”“Panties?” the lady asked.“What do you mean?”“What kind of underpants?”This is a very odd conversation, Rose thought. She didn’t even know the lady’s name. The receptionist had sent her up to the engineering floor for her appointment and Snowball Head had ushered her down a hallway without any preamble.“They’re just… regular. Not a thong or anything.”“Control-top?”“No.”The lady nodded. “Good. We’ll need to know your real numbers. We’ll add on a little for the bust.” Then she nudged Rose deeper into the storage closet and pulled the door shut between them.Rose looked around. She’d imagined something a little more glamorous than a small, dim closet overstuffed with clothes on racks and sagging shipping boxes. Maybe the fashion industry in San Francisco was as casual as everything else on the West Coast. And, of course, Fite Fitness was just an athleticwear company, not couture or anything.Rose unzipped her knee-high leather boots and pulled them off, unwound her favorite silk scarf, then stripped off her low-rise black pants and magenta wrap sweater and folded it all into a neat pile. She left on her trio of long silver necklaces and assorted bangles and stood there, wearing just her underwear and jewelry, wondering if the lady expected her to walk around in the big workroom outside in all her full-figured glory.Crossing her arms under her breasts, Rose decided to wait where she was. It was drafty out there.After a minute there was a knock on the door. Rose opened it a crack and met the impatient eyes of the white-haired woman looking over her bifocals.“Ready?”“You’ve never modeled before?”Keeping a straight face, Rose said, “It’s been a few years.”The lady stepped inside and closed the door. “You certainly have the hair for it. And the skin. I’d kill to have skin like yours.” Her gaze dropped down over Rose’s exposed, pale form.“Thanks.” Rose was used to people complimenting her Barbie-like blond hair and peaches-and-cream complexion. Right before they suggested how lovely she could have been if she’d just stop eating. “By the way, what’s your name? I like to know the names of people I get naked with.”The woman glanced up at her over her bifocals. “Meryl.” She peeled off one of the measuring tapes she wore around her neck and moved closer, her arms extended in front of her like a cartoon zombie. “Hands up. And don’t suck anything in, please.”Rose did as she was told, feeling the brush of the Meryl’s fingers against the sensitive flesh of her waist, the small of her back, her abdomen. The tape met over her tummy in Meryl’s small hands.Don’t suck it in. What did that mean? It was impossible not to tense a little bit under the circumstances. Taking a shallow breath, Rose looked over Meryl’s fluffy white head and focused on a very slim pair of black running pants hanging on the back of the door. “You’re just starting a plus-sized line?”“Mmm,” Meryl said. “Waist, thirty-eight and a quarter.” She let one end of the tape fall to the floor as she jotted a note in a yellow pad balanced on top of one of the lopsided boxes. “That might be a problem.”“I told Blair I didn’t know what my measurements were but she said you guys wanted to meet me anyway.”“Let’s see what else you’ve got.”“Plenty, as it happens,” Rose said.Meryl leaned in to measure her bust. “Arms up again, please.” She slid the tape back and forth, paused. “Forty-seven and a quarter. But I’ll add on an inch to allow for the bra.”Rose stared at the ceiling. This was unexpectedly embarrassing. When her roommate had told her about a job that paid seventy dollars an hour just to try on clothes, she’d been happy to hop on the first BART train to San Francisco. She hadn’t considered how being poked and prodded might make her feel like a seventh grader undressing in the school locker room for the first time.The tape moved down to her hips. Meryl slid it around and held on with one hand as if she were lassoing a calf–Don’t go there, girl, Rose told herself. Chin up. Big and beautiful.“Forty-eight and a quarter,” Meryl said, wrapping the tape around her neck. “Well, that one’s within spec.”“I really do wear an 18. Often. Well, sometimes.”Moving to the door, Meryl tucked her yellow pad into her pocket. “You can get dressed. I won’t need the rest of your numbers.”Rose propped her hands on her hips. “Too big?”“A little bit. Thanks for coming in… uh… ” She stared.“Rose.”“Right,” Meryl said. “Rose. Thanks for making the trip. You can bill us for the full hour.”Rose let out the breath she’d been holding. So much for that. For a few days she’d enjoyed a little fantasy about making some easy money. It would’ve been fun to tell people she was a model. Without lying.“If I lost a few pounds,” Rose said, would you be interested in having me come back in?”Turning back from the open doorway, Meryl shook her head. “Probably not. We need somebody whose weight is really stable. If you lost it, chances are you’d just gain it back. Bodies have a mind of their own, you know? Yours is probably happiest where it’s at.”“That is so true. Let me call my grandmother and you can repeat that to her.”With a little smile, Meryl said, “Best of luck to you,” and closed the door.While she got dressed, Rose reflected that if ever there was a good time to max out her credit card, this was it. Clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry–San Francisco’s best shops were only a few blocks away.After all, it wasn’t every day a girl found out she was too fat to be a plus-sized model.