409: La Belle, Dames, And Mercy

on August 30, 2009 in Book 14

In Which The Bouncer’s Last Name Is “Maton”

Amaranth did not share my sense of urgency about the library.

“Baby,” Amaranth said, “I know this library looks nice, but honestly, the downtown one is the main branch, so whatever this one has…”

“It’s dedicated to a La Belle,” I said. “A C. La Belle… so, I’m thinking there will be some kind of information plaque, and maybe a little historical display, and prominently-placed local history stuff… and the librarians there will probably know more about the subject, too.”

“What subject, exactly?” Ian asked.

“The La Belle family history,” I said.

“You know who else would know about that?” he asked. “The La Belle family.”

“I don’t want to talk to them,” I said.

“Then why do you want to know about their history?” he asked.

“I just do,” I said. “There’s something weird going on with them.”

Baby,” Amaranth said, giving me a look over the top of her glasses. “How would you like it if…”

“If they started poking around to find out what was weird in my family history?” I asked. “Puddy did, the first time I met her. I say turnabout is fair play, and also forewarned is forearmed. I want to know exactly what’s going on with her, so I know how to deal with her if she gets in my face again.”

“If you interrupt me again, baby, we’re going back into the Crystal Palace and doing nothing but ‘rehearsing’ until eight,” she said. “Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “Sorry, ma’am. I just… I’m excited, because it’s right there…”

“The other library will have information on local history,” Amaranth said. “I think you’re getting a little too worked up over a name.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just… it’s like a sign,” I said. “I said I wanted to try the Crystal Palace again, and here we are, and then I saw the library…”

I saw the library,” Ian said. “Though I’m not sure I should be bragging about that.”

“We’ve got a plan, baby,” Amaranth said. “I really think we should stick to it.”

“Oh? Were you sticking to the plan when you ran off to do that couple from the restaurant?” I asked.

“Ice,” Ian said. “She was getting ice.”

Attitude, missy… and you got a nice, long bath out of that,” Amaranth said. “And if we’d known there was a library right across the street, you certainly could have gone over and checked it out.”

“Well, we didn’t know, and I don’t think it’s fair that you get to randomly deviate from the plan to do something you want and I…”

“It’s not about what’s fair,” Amaranth said. “It’s about not throwing the rest of your life away over a stupid mistake!”

“I’m not about to throw my life away,” I said. “We’ve got all day.”

“Oh, no,” Ian said. “This is how it’s going to start.”

“What?” I said. “This is how what’s going to start?”

“We’ve got everything worked out and now you just want to go and do this one thing since we’ve got plenty of time…”

“We do have plenty of time,” I said.

“Don’t interrupt Ian, either,” Amaranth said. “And he’s right. We have much time, but not unlimited time.”

“Yeah,” Ian said. “And so pissing it away here is a bad idea.”

“What’s the difference between ‘pissing it away’ here and doing it downtown?” I asked.

“The ability to get yourself back to the Tomb under your own power in the space of a few minutes,” Ian said.

“I’m not talking about staying all day,” I said. “Just go in, find out what I want to find out, and go.”

“Right, except each thing you read will lead you to something else,” Ian said. “And it’s not like Amaranth would be hard to distract in a place full of people and books.”

“I like to think I’m fairly on point,” Amaranth said.

“Look, if it was just us I’d be worried about losing track of time,” I said. “But you’ll get hungry for lunch way before show time.”

“Right, so as long as you don’t stubbornly disregard everything I say so you can do what you want, we’ll be golden,” Ian said.

“I’m not stubbornly disregarding anything,” I said. “We’re having a discussion. Look, tell me if this isn’t sound reasoning: when is something bad more likely to happen, when we’re wandering around downtown or when we’re in a nice public library in an upscale part of town?”

Amaranth pushed her glasses back up to the top of her face and brushed her hair back from her face. She sucked on her lip. I didn’t say anything, just looked at her earnestly. I’d made a good point… now I would be patient and wait for her to recognize it.

“Baby,” she said, and I bit back the “but” that started to build as soon as I recognized she was going to tell me no. “I want you to think about three things. One is that this library doesn’t contain some magical source of information that doesn’t exist anywhere else… there’s the downtown branch and there’s the school library, there’s the ethernet, there are living members of the La Belle family right on campus. Two is that even if there is some specialized resource that you could only get here, it’s not going to vanish when you turn your back. It will be here tomorrow. It might even be open tomorrow when we check out. It will certainly be open during the week. Three is that even if you did get to spend the whole day in there, you’d probably be disappointed. If they’re an old and sprawling clan, I’m sure there are all kinds of interesting historical tidbits in there, but you’re not going to find what you’re looking for.”

“What do you think I’m looking for?”

“Something that explains why Puddy is the way she is,” Amaranth said quietly. “You thought she was your friend… you wanted her to be. I’m sure she really did want to be. What happened after that… the explanation for it’s not going to be in her family’s history. It’s going to be in hers, and even if you knew it, it still might not make any sense.”

“Maybe that’s true,” I said. “Probably it is. But it’s not going to hurt anything to look. Let me look for just one hour… if nothing else, maybe learning about the family will make it so I don’t think about Puddy every time I run into the rest of them?”

Amaranth sighed. She looked at Ian, who shrugged.

“Alright, baby,” she said. “One hour. After that, we go to lunch, and then we go back downtown. No more arguing, no dragging your feet… you made some reasonable points, but today’s not about fairness, it’s about survival. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“And we need to start getting you into sub mode,” she said. “Because I’ve come to realize there is another way we could fail, even if we show up right when the doors open: if one of us gets us kicked out of the club before we get a chance to perform. We are going to be guests in a place that has rules and structures, the beginning and end of which is likely to be respect.”

“When he’d take me to the tower,” Ian said, “my dad used to tell me that if I couldn’t be respectful, being quiet was almost as good.”

“I wouldn’t put it that way,” Amaranth said. “But that’s along the lines that I’m thinking.”

“Okay, submissive, respectful, and quiet,” I said. “I’ve got it. Can we please go now?” Amaranth frowned. “You said sub time starts afterwards,” I reminded her. “I’m just in a hurry because the sooner we get over there, the sooner the hour begins and the sooner we can go downtown.”

“Okay… just, seriously, try not to be disappointed,” Amaranth said.

Her words were sort of prophetic, in that I was quickly underwhelmed by the inside of the library. The edifice looked big and old and important from the outside, and I’d expected the interior to be equally classical, with staircases and columns and shelves stacked from floor to ceiling, with each footstep and paper crackle and quiet cough echoing impressively in the dim stillness.

Instead, I got what looked like an open-plan office, with a low ceiling of panels that evenly distributed a comfortable level of light and damped any sounds before they had a chance to echo. The floor was the kind of institutional carpet that only has the virtue of being easy to clean.

Worst of all, the books were in mass-produced modular shelves in neat, orderly rows with big aisles between them and that didn’t extend above eye level or below what you could reach while standing.

“Oh, wow,” Amaranth said. “It’s so modern… it should be easy to find what you’re looking for.” She glanced around. Her eyes stopped on a big circular counter with no one inside it. “Looks like the reference librarian has stepped away… or possibly they don’t have one on Saturdays? If they’re modernized, they might be trying to shift the focus to ethereal…”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I kind of prefer to find my own answers.”

I liked libraries, but librarians kind of intimidated me a little. Strangers intimidated me, if I had to talk to them. Authority figures intimidated me, too. Librarians were both, and they knew more than me.

“Okay, baby, but just… one hour, remember,” Amaranth said. “Ian, would you mind staying with her? I’d like to browse.”

“Uh, I don’t think you two should separate,” Ian said. “I don’t think Mackenzie can do this thing tonight on her own, if you get caught up with something or disappear.”

“Well, no, but… oh, phooey,” Amaranth said, frowning. “You’re right. Well, I’m sure I’ll find something interesting. I’m just used to wandering, and this is a brand new library for me…”

“It’ll still be here tomorrow,” I said with a smirk, which got me a swat on the rear.

It happened that quite near the entrance, there was a large table with local history stuff on it, with a placard bearing the prominent seal of the Provincial History Commission on it. They might have given Professor Hart ulcers, but I was starting to like them. Even better, their table was butting up against a pillar… the square boring kind… with a plaque on it, dedicating the library’s renovation to the loving memory of Ceridwen Hortense La Belle and her children Esther, Marguerite, and Ceridwen.

Unfortunately, it didn’t have a lot of information about who she was or what she might have done, because the second line of it mentioned that the funds for the library’s dedication had been provided by a donation from her children and grandchildren, and then it listed them.

“That is more than a couple of names,” Ian said.

“One hundred and nineteen,” Amaranth said while I was still checking out how many Ceridwens and C.s there were. She sounded pleased or weirdly proud about the number of progeny this family had. “Mother Khaele! Those La Belle women really know how to churn them out.”

“I suppose the habit of spelling the name ‘Ceridwen’ different ways must be a modern convention in the family,” Amaranth said. “I wonder if one of these young men was Puddy’s grandfather? It would have to be a man, because we know the La Belle name lasted up until one of her parents… unless the women in the family kept their last name?”

“Please,” I said. “Women in this province only got the franchise ten years ago.”

“Don’t exaggerate, baby, it was twelve years ago,” Amaranth said. “Anyway, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be about equality. If they name their children in honor of this Ceridwen Hortense, then they might also keep the last name as a show of respect, too.”

“Um, you know, I think there are a few things you two are missing,” Ian said. “One is that I don’t think C.H. is the progenitor, or whatever you’d call it… I don’t see any other Hortenses on the list. Yeah, it’s kind of a tragic name, but this is clearly a family that doesn’t let such things come between them and tradition.”

“You have a point,” I said.

“No, he doesn’t,” Amaranth said. “Hortense is a lovely name.”

“Okay, well the other thing is the date,” he said. He pointed at the bottom of the plaque. “Polyantha 17th, 217. This plaque was put here five years ago. Not when the library was built, when it was renovated.”

He was right. I should have probably guessed that the La Belles had had a hand in ruining a great old library.

“So one of these might actually be Puddy, then,” I said. “One of the children married a Banks… that makes more sense.”

“So here’s the question,” Ian asked. “Are you looking for La Belles, or Ceridwens? The name, or the family?”

“There was a town called Ceridwen back when Prax was Merovian,” I said. “I guess that’s what I’m looking for.”

“Well, we’ve got fifty minutes,” Amaranth said. “We have a library with ethernet and a whole table full of local history stuff. Let’s get to it.”

It turned out there wasn’t all that much to get to. The books on the table were mostly the same selections as the school library had in its local history section. Ethernet searches for any combination of “Ceridwen”, “La Belle”, and “Prax” turned up boatloads of results, most of them random mentions of modern people. History books occasionally had the town of Ceridwen in the corner of a map of something they considered actually worth mentioning, but none of them elaborated on any of its importance.

We’d been there for a while when Ian, who’d done nothing more than flip through the pages of books we gave up on, made a little surprised sound.

“What?” I asked.

“I think it’s time to revisit the ‘kept the last name’ theory,” Ian said. “There was a Ceridwen La Belle in Prax around the year minus a hundred.”

“Doing what?” I asked, reaching for the book.

“Little of this, little of that… protesting deforestation, lighting herself on fire,” he said, handing it over.

It was a book I’d barely looked at, about the history of agronomy in the Enias River Valley. There was just a tiny paragraph about how some of the Merovian settlers had protested the widespread clearing of land, and that one Ceridwen La Belle had gone so far as to burn herself alive on a pyre in front of the governor’s mansion.

“That’s… interesting,” I said. “Well, that’s a specific event to look for. That gives us something to go on…”

“Next time,” Amaranth said.


“It’s an hour sweetie,” she said. She put a finger to my lips. “And if the next word out of your mouth is ‘but’… you know what, I don’t care what it is. Sub time. I don’t want to hear any word that isn’t ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’, or ‘ma’am’ without explicit prompting. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, dropping my head.

“Good,” Amaranth said. “Now, our cards do have limited borrowing privileges here. Since you didn’t make a fuss when time was up, I’ll check this book out so you can use it as a reference. Would you like that?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “Thank you, ma’am.”

“I think this would be really creepy if it didn’t turn me on,” Ian said. “And if you weren’t both hot.”

“Thank you,” Amaranth said. “Thank Ian for the compliment, baby.”

“Thank you,” I said.

Sir,” Ian said.

“Thank you, sir,” I said.

“No, on second thought, that’s too creepy,” Ian said.

“I’m sorry, Ian, but I think it’s important that Mack get into the right headspace,” she said.

“No, that’s fine,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with the whole thing… I just, um… wanted to try something to see how it felt.” He shrugged. “Turns out I’m not really into it.”

“That’s fine, Ian,” Amaranth said. “You can like what you like and not be caught up in anybody else’s idea of protocol.”

Amaranth proved to be in dire earnestness about getting me whipped into shape, figuratively speaking. We ate lunch at a little cafe, where Amaranth told the waitress that I was fasting and that I wouldn’t be speaking. She directed me to sit up straighter and to smile, which I did, as best as I could. It might have grown awkward for everyone, but she started asking Ian questions about the other students in the gladiator program and then they got to talking, so it was only awkward for me.

Afterwards, Amaranth decided we should go window shopping while it was light out and the streets were fairly safe. Window shopping turned into trying out different outfits on me… or maybe trying me out with different outfits would be a better way of putting it, as she acted very much like I was an accessory or pet… or toy. That part of the afternoon passed in a blur of red cheeks and rising heat.

At the other library, which was old and wonderful on the inside as it was on the outside, I carried the books that she pulled off the shelves and followed her around, standing next to her with the stack of them in my arms in front of me while she flipped through them.

I itched to run off and explore the stacks, to see if I could find anything about ur-Ceridwen’s self-immolation, to find the books on enchantment, to find out if they had a graphic novel section, or even to just put down the books I was holding and start flipping through them. They were on everything from fashion to farming to fucking, whatever caught Amaranth’s beautiful eyes… nothing that really interested me, but with my eyes cast downward and nothing in front of them but the cover of the topmost tome and a faded pin-up girl staring at me from it…

Every time I came close to rebelling, throwing the books down and calling the whole thing stupid, Amaranth was there with another small order… either to follow her or to simply straighten up… and all it took was one “yes, ma’am” to get me back in the mood.

It was actually kind of meditative, after a while… denial and longing,

“Khersis, aren’t her arms going to get tired?” Ian asked

“Oh, I expect she might get tired of standing there, as if that mattered… or sore from holding the same position,” Amaranth said. “Especially with her posture. But our Mack is stronger than she looks.”

Ian wandered off to play on the ethernet, though he always stayed close. The library was actually open until ten, which was convenient. At a little bit after eight-thirty, Amaranth had me take the books for re-shelving and then led me by the hand to a single occupancy bathroom.

“We’ll get you changed in here,” she said, shutting and locking the door.

“Here, ma’am?” I said, a little alarmed.

“Yes, here,” Amaranth said. “Don’t worry, we won’t be hanging around the stacks in lingerie… I mean, you won’t. We want to obey the club’s dress code… I would imagine they have a member’s entrance that regulars can use and change out of their street clothes, but we’re guests and we want to make a good impression. If you would rather get changed in the street, that’s fine with me, but it will have to be your choice… public nudity isn’t something I can ask of you.”

I wondered if I should start undressing in order to show my acquiescence, but then she started to strip me herself. I offered no resistance, moving my limbs where she moved them. When I was naked, she produced my fishnets along with the outfit that she and Two had come up with.

It was a one-piece that looked like it had been made by attaching a pair of skimpy thong underwear, a black net camisole, and a mini vest… all distantly recognizable as part of Two’s wardrobe, but altered almost beyond the point of recognition. For one thing, I couldn’t imagine her wearing that much black… for another thing, the back of the vest had been split and turned into a lace-up affair. I was glad she was in the hands-on mood, because I wouldn’t have been able to begin figuring out how to get it on.

“Suck in your tummy a bit, baby,” Amaranth said while she was lacing up the back. They’d done something to the sides of the vest, done some kind of tucking in or something that made it tighter. “There, that’s not half bad as a corset… Two’s been working on material reinforcement spells, so hopefully it will hold. Now… there is the matter of shoes.”

I figured she was going to pull out my black flats, but to my horror she reached behind her back and produced a pair of black fuck-me heels, all skinny black straps and a four inch spike.

“Sorry, baby,” she said, though from the grin on her face she didn’t look that sorry. “But… they do have a dress code. Nymphs are exempt, but our toys aren’t.” She ducked down beside me. “Lift your foot, baby, and we’ll get this on you.” I complied with first one foot, and then the other, and before I knew it, I was… tall and wobbly. She tightened the straps

“Now, I’ve been doing a lot of practi… practical research on how to walk in heels,” she said. “And I’ve found… I’ve heard, read, I’ve read that the key when you’re starting out is to take small steps, keeping your feet pointed straight and your legs close together. Go ahead and try it.”

I did. It was… suboptimal. The floor of the bathroom was all small tiles a couple inches across with deep gaps in between that the heels kept catching on. Only the realization that I’d been standing on public unisex bathroom tiles in my bare unstockinged feet kept me from kicking the stupid things off.

“That’s pretty good,” Amaranth said. “You’ll be able to practice the whole way there, too… that’s the other reason I wanted you to change here. Now, when we get up on stage, you’ll take your shoes off… the last thing we want is a wardrobe fumble, and if anything, I’d rather emphasize the size difference between us. Now… um… you’ll want to thank Two for her hard work on this outfit, but… well, her friend Hazel has put it in her head that she deserves to be compensated when she does things for us, and I don’t disagree.”

The way she stopped there made me think that she wasn’t just talking about money.

“Ma’am?” I prompted.

“Well… you’ll be happy to know that I vetoed her first two ideas, which were spanking privileges and the right to dress you up for classes,” she said. “Also sleeping in her bed. So, she just wants some more effort from you in keeping the room clean.”

“But the room is clean,” I said.

“Because she cleans it,” Amaranth said. “You’ve done such a good job this afternoon, baby, don’t break your stride now.”

“Sorry, ma’am,” I said.

“That’s okay, baby,” she said. “Now… let’s go show Ian. I’ll give you your coat when we get outside. Oh, wait! I almost forgot the most important part.” She turned me so I was facing the cracked and dirty mirror. “Close your eyes.”

I did so. Whatever was coming couldn’t be worse than high heels, or faux fetishwear made from Two’s recycled jammies. I felt a moment of panic when I felt Amaranth pulling something down over my head, but when she got it in place I realized it had an opening where my mouth was. She messed around with it a bit, straightening it out and getting the bottom edge of it hooked under my chin, before telling me to open my eyes.

It was a tight vinyl hood or cowl, with a heart-shaped cut-out for my mouth and a big black bow on top.

“The bow was Two’s addition,” Amaranth said. “I wasn’t planning on showing her this part, but she wouldn’t believe me that pajamas counted as a Veil costume without at least a mask. Then she worried that nobody would know it was a girl’s mask without a bow.” She giggled. “She’s kind of adorable sometimes. Anyway, I think we’re just about ready. I’d like you to walk in front of me… just don’t forget to hold the doors.”

“Are you guys about… holy crap,” Ian said when we headed out. “I mean you look… no, actually, I mean holy crap.”

“It was kind of the best we could come up with on short notice,” Amaranth said.

“No, it’s… it’s good,” Ian said. “Really good.”

“Do you think so? I think her butt needs something. I mean, I love Mack’s butt, but it doesn’t really have anything going on… a bow or bustle or something… even a really short skirt that doesn’t actually cover anything would help accent it. I wonder if Sooni still has those tail plugs? Oh, well… it’s too late now. Maybe if we’d done a test run before we left campus… but I didn’t want to risk damaging it. As it is, it’ll be a miracle if we don’t have to patch anything before the night’s out… I mean, the fortunate coincidence kind of miracle, not the actual divine intercession kind, because that would probably be messy and painful, considering…”

“Really, Amaranth, it looks good,” Ian said. “She looks good.” He put his hand underneath my face and turned it. “You look good. You’ve got a cute chin. I never really noticed it before.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Well, let’s get going,” Amaranth said, and away we went, me walking ahead and them walking behind.

When we got to the library doors, I turned and discovered that Amaranth had put on a peacock feather mask. She was blushing beneath it.

“I don’t think this counts as clothing, do you?” she asked. “I mean, it’s a mask. And Veil is a religious observance, so…”

“I think you’re fine,” Ian said.

Amaranth helped me into my coat, but considering what I was wearing beneath it, it hardly mattered… it just seemed to trap the cold air right up against my skin. between that and the need to take tiny tottering steps, it was the longest two streets over and three blocks down ever to get back to the Tomb.

Ian saw us there, giving Amaranth a hug and a kiss on the cheek and me one on the lips before waving goodbye and heading for the coach stop, where a coach was just pulling up. At least we wouldn’t have to worry about him getting back okay. We watched him get on, and then turned to face our fate.

One side of the double doors in the recessed entrance was swung open. A guy was standing there, a big fighter type with a spiked mace hanging from his belt. His pants were dark leather, but he was just wearing a black fitted shirt. He had a stylized tattoo across his forehead, reading “Otto”

“Good evening, ladies,” he said.

“Good evening… Otto?” Amaranth said.

“You must be a subtle artist,” Otto said. “I don’t suppose you dames are hiding invitations somewhere?”

“You’d be surprised what I can hide” Amaranth said, extending a hand with them in it.

He didn’t even look at the front, just flipped them over and ran a wand that seemed to appear from the same place that Amaranth stored her stuff over them.

“Just curious, but how did you know we weren’t members?” Amaranth asked.

“I know all the members,” he said. “And none of them are nymphs… no offense, but I always got the impression that nymphs are kind of conservative about some things.”

“Some of us are progressive,” Amaranth said. “Do you know Caron?”

“I know all the members,” he said. “And everyone knows Lady Caron.”

“Do you know if she’s here yet?”

“She’s been here all day,” he said. He glanced at me. “Is that a half-demon?”

The words jarred me into looking up at his face… only for a second, but it was enough to notice that the tattoos on his forehead were incorporating and covering a pair of runes: the Tree of Life and the Circle of Will, Unbroken.

“Yes, she is. We were told that wasn’t a problem,” Amaranth said.

“It’s not,” he said. “It was just a guess. The only things I’ve ever seen shiver like that on a nice night like this are Mistress Mercy’s dogs.” He shrugged. “Are you sure it’s safe without a leash?”

“I’m very sure,” Amaranth said, her voice colder than I’d ever heard it go… scary cold.

“It’s your business, but safety’s my business and Mistress Mercy seems to have some trouble managing hers,” he said.

“Well, maybe Mistress Mercy just doesn’t have my touch,” Amaranth said. “Thank you so very much, Otto, but I think we’ll be heading inside now.”

“That’s a good idea. Even on Veil it’s best not to linger outside in garb for too long. It attracts all kinds of narrow-minded idiots.”

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6 Responses to “409: La Belle, Dames, And Mercy”

  1. pedestrian says:

    Yes, let us not risk ruining a BDSMing good time because of some puritanical jerkoff.

    ohh,slap to forehead. I just got it “Otto Maton”. hilarius!

    Current score: 8
    • Pamela says:

      I’m proud of myself for actually getting it. When I saw the title, I figured his first name must be Otto. I am ashamed at how long it took me to get the Tomb of Horrors reference.

      Current score: 1
      • Duke says:

        Put the crown on the Demilich’s head and touch it with the wrong end of the sceptre.

        Current score: 1
  2. Ryzndmon says:

    “La Belle” Dame “Sans Merci”- The beautiful woman without mercy. Nice word play. Keats it coming.

    Current score: 2
  3. anon says:

    I’m rather getting annoyed with all the mack is fat references. She just started eating not to long ago. she keeps skipping meals. sure she’s putting on some weight but it went from her ass to now she’s getting a obvious belly. what’s next fat rolls? is she eating a ton of food for each meal she does manage to have? sadly so far though this so far is the only way mack has grown since week 1.

    Current score: 3
    • Athena says:

      Actually, she *has* been eating a ton of food for many of those meals. Plus for some (many, in fact), an “obvious belly” doesn’t take a lot. Extra plus, we are talking obvious in comparison to half-starved.

      Extra-extra plus, we’re also *talking about a corset*. Generally speaking, sucking in your tummy during the tying up process is generally required, obvious belly or no.

      For my part, I had an “obvious belly” even when I *was* half-starved. Albeit not quite as half-starved as Mack – just a matter of gluten intolerance meaning I wasn’t getting anywhere near what I should from what food I did eat. I have pretty much looked slightly pregnant my whole life, including the parts of it I spent as far away from “fat rolls” as I ever have been.

      Current score: 2