"My God." Aoife's mother said, as the Circus Ringmistress sauntered on stage. "She's got a paunch, hasn't she?"
Snickers- very pointed ones- from the rest of Aoife's family. The ringmistress did indeed have something of a belly, a little wobbly gut that struck a contrast with her otherwise athletic frame. But it wasn't really the Ringmistress that the comment was meant to bering attention to, but Aoife herself. Never exactly slim, Aoife's weight had ballooned in the past few years, so that now she weighed more than anyone else in her family- no mean feat for a teenage girl in a clan of farmers which included men who spent their days throwing bales of hay around. Her gut was soft and expansive, a wrecking ball of flab compared to the Ringmistress little tummy, while if her hips and thighs had been any curvier she would have been in 4d. However, it was a long time since she had seen either of those attributes, as both were obscured by the great shelf of her bosom. Aoife was the most buxom girl in the village of Northrupp, possibly in the entire County of Anglian Wessex, but where a slimmer girl might have got credit for that, Aoife was merely mocked for her bulk. Not that she minded about her weight much, to be fair. She just liked to eat.
Still, she mused, as she munched her way through a bag of candied corn. It was something of an issue. Take today, for example- she and her sisters had been spreading seeds in the field. Aoife was the oldest, and easily the biggest, and yet also the one who struggled most with the task. Even seven year old Allegra had outsripped her older sister easily, leaving Aoife huffing and gasping in the younger girl's wake as her meaty flanks and hefty belly conspired to turn walking into a difficult chore, and as her heavy breasts bounced uncomfortably with every step.
And, dammit, this night was meant to be for relaxation! A family trip to the circus! Didn't her family have anything better to do than mock her?
She crossed her arms over her (extremely) ample chest and looked at the stage.
"And now, Ladies and Gentlemen!" The Ringmistress said. "The mission of The Famed Continental Circus is not just to entertain, but to inform. Not just to delight, but to educate. We are not merely a freak show, Ladies and Gentlemen, but a museum that shows the furthest extremities the human body can be pushed to!"
A low hum of excited approval from the crowd.
"Accordingly, Ladies and Gentlemen, today we are proud to exhibit our most famous specimen, Elektra Greer-Bennet, the world's fattest woman!"
The woman that lumbered out from the side of the stage made Aoife feel slim for the first time in years. Bulgingly obese, with thick slabs of flesh and fat layered on to every inch of her body, like a painting meant to personify excess given flesh.
Shouted laughter and gasps of surprise from the crowd. Even Aoife, not precisely slim herself, goggled in wonderment. Whereas the Ringmistress had bounced and swaggered around the stage, a blur of (albeit well fed) movement, Elektra's progress was slow, stately, each step laboured, her gargantuan stomach hanging down over her waistline like an anchor. She was made even more striking by her clothes, a tight, black dress with tiny slits cut out of it so that inches of soft white flesh oozed out The stage creaked and protested as she came to stand in the centre of the stage. There was a moment of silence, no noise in the arena other than Elektra's heavy breathing. Then, with exaggerated slowness, a group of circus dwarves followed the gargantuan woman onto the stage, carrying plates of food on their head. Blocks of cheese. Cuts of meat. Slabs of cake. Marzipan. Confectionary. Stranger, exotic sweets.
"She can't eat all that sure..." Aoife's mother began, but a loud, involuntary rumble from her daughters gargantuan stomach cut her off. Elektra giggled, poked her older sister in the flabby side. Aoife blushed, deeply, but said nothing, instead almost defiantly cramming the candied corn into her mouth.
"Nah, greedy-guts." Said Aurelia, Aoife's middle sister. "I think the she-whale on stage is a pretty good illustration as to why you don't need that." So saying, she plucked the candied corn from her older sister's hand with casual ease.
"Hey!" Aoife hissed. "Give that back."
With an enraged grunt, she made to reach for the bag. Or, at least tried to. Aurelia was a farm girl, sturdy, but with no superlous flab on her. That made it fairly easy for her to twist in her chair to snatch the bag from her sister. Aoife's blubbery hips and plush rear, however, took up most of her seat, and it was a struggle to turn round in her chair without the armrests cutting into the soft flab of her side. Not that she didn't try, however- food was one of the few things that motivated Aoife to exercise. Finally, after much puffing and gasping, she managed a to turn herself roughly 45 degrees, enough to try and reach for her corn. But even without her awkward position, she was too out of shape to do more than make clumsy, futile grabs while Aurelia held the corn tauntingly out of reach.
Plus, she had run into other problems. Aoife's gasping turn had caused her bulging gut to overspill into the seat between her and Aurelia, the one occupied by Allegra. At seven years old, Allegra was maybe the only person in the family who had room on her seat for the billowing wave of flab that her sister had let onto her seat, but she was also the least likely to let ignore it. With a child's malicious enthusiasm, she began to prod and push her sister's bulging gut, shaking and jiggling it.
Aoife gasped in irritation and tried to swat Allegra away, but the space was too small (relative to her massive bulk), and Aoife's arms were too weak and flabby to have much effect. Then, suddenly, as if some vindictive and fetishistic narrator was piling disaster on disaster, she suddenly felt her stomach cramp- Aoife's desperate twisting motions, combined with her over-full stomach and pathetic lack of fitness causing her to break out in stitches. She would have bent double if she'd had the space, instead it was all she could do to huff and puff impotently as Allegra tormented the still jiggling flesh.
"Aurelia" Aiofe whined, eventually. "Make her stop."
Aurelia giggled incredulously, nastily.
"You're saying you can't do it yourself big sister?"
"Aurelia." Aoife whined again, face flushing both with effort and embarrasment. She gave silent thanks that nobody was sitting directly in front of her- otherwise she'd have had to apologise for pushing against the back of their chair with her huge bulk.
"Ok, then." Aurelia said. "Allegra, I know Aoife is twelve years older than you are, and about ten times your size, but she's also very, very fat."
"I know that." Allegra chirped. "Very very very fat." She prodded Aoife again, who tried to lunge for her, but was prevented from bending over fast enough by her overstuffed belly.
"Yes." Aurelia said. "But because she's so fat, she isn't good for very much. She's too slow and heavy and doesn't fit in small spaces. So it's unfair for you to pick on her. If you were still a baby then maybe she's be fast enough for it to be fair, but for now..."
Aoife felt herself wilt as Aurelia spoke, but Allegra nodded, and with a final tug at her sister's flab, turned back to the show. Aurelia smiled nastily and did the same.
Aoife hunched her broad, rounded shoulders over her still-tender gut.
I'm too fat. She thought, momentarily, then mentally shook herself. No, I don't have a problem with being this size. Just erveryone else in this bloody family does. There must be somewhere where I can...
Mid thought, she turned to look at Elektra. The huge woman had demolished half of the food brought to her, her already vast proportions increasing as she did so. The soft flabbiness of her gut expanded, going from loose flesh to a hard, bloated mass that protruded out by almost comical proportions.
And the crowd cheered.
And Elektra kept eating.
And Aoife wondered.