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Hi, everyone! So I'm starting this experimental series to see if a more traditional narrative would work here, and I would really appreciate all feedback and critique to help me improve. This is mostl

Hi, everyone! Here's the second part. Again, I really do appreciate all feedback and critique to help me improve my writing. Sorry if it took so long, I've been having internet problems lately. Enjoy!

Hi, everyone! Sorry this part took so long. I was focusing on two other projects for a novel and a screenplay I've been working on for the past two weeks. This part may not be as slow-paced or edited

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MadMutter

It has been one year now. To this day this remains my favorite story ever and one of my most favorite writing styles. I would pay money to see this being continued. Seriously. I have no idea how many times I read this so far.

I fully understand that sometimes it's difficult to find time and motivation to write, and that life can be tough. I mainly just hope you are doing well. I can imagine the pressure, from everyone hoping for a continuation, but no worries.

You're not obligated to do anything.

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scarletic

Hey, everyone, an update is long overdue. First, I’d like to thank everyone for your continued patience and interest in the story. I’ve mainly been focusing on my writing portfolio for the past few months and haven’t found the time to continue writing this, unfortunately. I haven’t forgotten about this story though and will be resuming it when I have the time. For now, I’m currently rereading it since my writing style has changed a bit since the last time I wrote for this and don’t want the next part to be too jarring of a difference. As I mentioned in the last part, I won’t be involving any more <18 characters in the main story to abide by the forum rules. I hope the next part doesn’t disappoint as it’ll mainly be a cool-down from the last few parts, but it’ll definitely come within the next few weeks or months. Thanks again.

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MadMutter
20 hours ago, scarletic said:

Hey, everyone, an update is long overdue. First, I’d like to thank everyone for your continued patience and interest in the story. I’ve mainly been focusing on my writing portfolio for the past few months and haven’t found the time to continue writing this, unfortunately. I haven’t forgotten about this story though and will be resuming it when I have the time. For now, I’m currently rereading it since my writing style has changed a bit since the last time I wrote for this and don’t want the next part to be too jarring of a difference. As I mentioned in the last part, I won’t be involving any more <18 characters in the main story to abide by the forum rules. I hope the next part doesn’t disappoint as it’ll mainly be a cool-down from the last few parts, but it’ll definitely come within the next few weeks or months. Thanks again.

That's the best news I have heard in a long time! Thanks for the update

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scarletic

PART 9

When I finally regained consciousness, I found myself staring at what felt like the sun. It was searing holes through my eyelids and roasting my eyes; yet, I couldn’t move. I suffered some moments of hot-white blindness until the sensation in my fingers, then my hands, returned to me. Once I blocked out the source of the light with a still-numb arm, I honed in on my surroundings, hesitating to open my eyes. I didn’t know what awaited me back in the real world. The last event I could recall was being picked up in someone’s hands and taken away. Then I remembered, and realized. Someone’s hands. I was small enough to fit on two adult palms. 

To my side, I could hear what sounded like a heart monitor’s steady beeping. And I felt the apparatus on my arms, the needles under my skin, the IV bag looming above me. All four walls enclosing me were white curtains that hung loosely from the ceiling, and I saw my body, my small pathetic self, engulfed by the biggest hospital bed I’d ever seen in my life. A child’s action figure might’ve been mistaken for me if I wasn’t careful.

I wanted to ask, “where am I?” But I couldn’t move my mouth. My tongue suddenly felt like it didn’t belong, too hefty to be carried around, too tight. As my consciousness slowly drifted back into me, I heard mumbling from behind the curtain—two adult, male voices. I couldn’t hear what they said, not clearly. But I did hear my name; and I knew they were here for me.

The curtain at my feet swung open as the other man left, and coming inside was someone I was delighted to see. It was Marcus—though not as I remembered him. His wavy hair had lengthened somewhat, framing his face beautifully. He was also shorter. His own hospital gown draped him like a dress, leaving only his clavicles and the faint outline of a chest poking through the grainy fabric, still wearing Wes’ meteor shard necklace. My once gargantuan co-worker had become a shadow of his former self. Then, I remembered. Froy. What had happened to my intern?

Marcus beamed at me with a shit-eating grin and sat on the bed next to me. He looked impossibly huge from where I was resting, but I knew it wasn’t he who was abnormally sized. It was me. “Hey, pipsqueak. Had a good night’s rest?” he asked, tickling the underside of my feet.

He let me laugh it off before I could reply. “Yeah. What’s with all the machines? Did I die or something?” I asked, straining my ribs, trying to sit up.

But Marcus fervently shook his head and pressed his fingers into my torso, forcing me back onto the bed. “No, no. Don’t move your pretty little body yet. The doctor said there wasn’t any real danger or damage besides some mild bruising, but he told me not to let you out before you’re fully rested,” he smiled, sucking in his lips in apprehension.

“So where are we? Is this still the resort?” I asked.

Marcus unfocused his eyes and looked away, his smile melting into neutrality. “Nah. We had to cut the vacation short because of what happened in the bar. All of us were out cold, actually, for the next few days.” He tapped my stomach like a button. “And you, Mr. Lucky #5, are the last to wake up.”

“What…?” I didn’t know how much I’d missed. “What about the retreat? And everyone? The— the meteor? You’ve got to fill me in, Marcus.”

He didn’t smile. Not even look at me. “Yeah, well… after the meteor crashed, Sammy had everyone involved brought to the nearest hospital.” A light chuckle broke through his teeth. “Apparently, he thought we beat each other up to unconsciousness.” And he rolled his eyes. “As if I’d lose a fist fight.”

He wasn’t telling me everything fast enough. I was getting impatient. “But, what about Froy? And— and— and the meteor!” My eyes shot open as I nearly flung myself upright. “Has anything happened to you? Or the others?” Wes, Lisa, Avery. Everyone but me.

Marcus ruffled my hair and looked me in the eyes. “No news about that dipstick yet. After we got knocked out, the guards tried rounding him up with tranquilizer guns, but he ran all the way home before they could catch him. The whole ass cross-country highway, on his bare feet. Buck naked as the day he was born. Like a big ol’ fucking baby.” I could see his nose wrinkle at the thought of my intern.  “I’m going to kill him the first chance I get.”

I didn’t even have to think about what I wanted to say. “Don’t! Why are you even thinking about doing something like that? He hasn’t hurt you.”

Marcus shook his head and reached for something at my side, on the bedside drawer. I heard the familiar sound of a metal clink and saw him bring a clipboard into view. He held it out for me to reach, but it was half the size of my body. He had to prop it up for me to read. “Hasn’t hurt me? Just look at what he did to you, for fuck’s sake, Dory.”

What I read didn’t shock me. But it was still a bitter pill to swallow, now that it was real, that I actually was barely human anymore. I read my stats and the doctor’s notes: 2’9” it read. 18 pounds. I was lighter than most dumbbells. 

“Still think he hasn’t hurt anyone?” Marcus snorted. “At his size, he could probably kill you with a finger.” He then leaned forward, tilting his head tauntingly close to my face. “You’d probably let him too, wouldn’t you?”

I didn’t want to think about it. It took all my strength to push Marcus away, back to his seat at my feet. “Let’s just not talk about it for now, all right? What’s important is that we’re all safe. Ish.”

Sighing, Marcus stood, giving the bed allowance to bounce back into place, launching me into the air like a pillow for a brief second. “I’m only 5’7”, Dor’. I’m about as safe in America as”—he stopped himself mid-sentence—“Never mind. Anyway, I just wanted to check up on you. Wes spoke with the higher-ups, and he was lucky enough to get us a week of paid leave to rest up. When you’re ready, just… hit me up, alright?”

A smile appeared on my face before I even noticed. “Thanks.”

Marcus gave me a brief wink and saluted his way back out behind the curtain. I didn’t have any other guests for the rest of the day. Nor did I for the next few days. In the time I was left to rest, all I could think about was that night. The shards of memories that scattered in my brain were puzzle pieces I was struggling to recollect. One thing led to another, and somewhere along the way, I got hospitalized. And so did everyone else but Froy. Then there was the matter of the meteor. We had yet to understand the full effects of the first one, then another one fell from the sky as if by command. If I wasn’t being paranoid, I almost thought it was aimed directly for us. Wes and Marcus had already been afflicted by one meteor’s gunk. But two was a different story. Even Lisa and Avery got caught in the blast.

All I wanted was to heal as fast as my little body could and get back on my feet. I wanted to check up on everyone—on work, on my friends, my coworkers… my intern. They were all I could think about. Returning me to normal size was something that was just going to have to happen along the way as I got my life back on track.

When I finally got released, it was the afternoon after a Thursday workday. The traffic headed home was horrendous; taxis were out of the question. I thought about walking home, but the thought crumbled in on itself before I could even defend it. People would have been looking at me, staring at me, like some new breed of circus freak—a genetic abomination. I didn’t look like a normal little person; what I was was more akin to a shrunken man, my head nearly the size as most adult fists. Not only that but with my short legs, it would’ve been a nightmare trying to get home before midnight. 

Adjusting to my new life as a 2’9” man was something my college education did not prepare me for. If it were, then my lifetime of paying off that student debt would’ve been worth it. 

With no real choice left, I asked the hospital’s front desk to phone a friend for me. Who else, other than my favorite boss? I hadn’t seen him in ages, and I was beginning to wonder if anything had happened to him after the fiasco at the resort. He came into the waiting room still wearing his work outfit: a pristine white button-down and black slacks. He looked like a real man of authority, large and in charge, commanding attention from purveying eyes in the hospital lobby. 

A broad body like his was built to be thick and meaty, and it definitely showed. His chest looked squeezed into the fabric, pressuring the buttons to release. The shirt’s sleeves didn’t even reach his shoulders, forcing his mounds of shoulder and arm muscle to bunch up mindlessly. Most of the buttons had already been undone apart from the ones covering his girthy midsection, still ever-pregnant with beer gut. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve guessed that this is what Wes’ body should have been to begin with, not the 5’6” man he once was. 5’11” suited him like a glove, and the thickening beard was the pièce de résistance above it all. 

He walked up to me with a newfound swagger and fast pace and held out a paw for me to grab. There was a kind smile on his face that betrayed what I read was torture behind his eyes. “Hey, you. All better now?” he asked, trying to be subtle about his feelings. Failing miserably.

I took his hand and hopped off the plastic seat, marvelling at just how big he looked to me now. The top of my head just barely grazed the underside of his crotch. One of his legs alone looked like it could’ve been mistaken as my sibling. But that’s a lie. His thighs likely had more muscle than my whole body by how much they were stretching the poor fabric. Neither his pants nor his sleeves fully covered his limbs, short by just a few inches. He was overdue for a shopping session.

“Yeah, I’m good. I would’ve been great if I weren’t 2’9”, but what can you do, right? How’s the office? I heard the retreat got cancelled because of us.”

Wes patted me on the head and lightly pushed the back of my hair as he led me down the corridor leading to the parking lot. A sigh left his mouth, but from where I stood, it sounded more like a mountain’s breeze high above me. “It did. No one was happy about it, believe me. We were lucky enough that I managed to convince the board that a meteor did strike and that it wasn’t just another bar fight. All I had to do was show them a group shot we took around your unconscious body. Sammy wasn’t too pleased about the whole thing either.”

He even showed me the picture on his phone. Everyone was in it; Wes, Avery, Lisa, Sammy, and Marcus were all huddled around me, frowning miserably. All but Marcus, who grinned with both teeth and two thumbs up. All he needed was some popcorn to really make me feel like a circus attraction.

It was a terrible feeling that ate at my stomach, to know that I held partial responsibility for raining on everyone’s parade. “Has Sammy said anything about it since then?” I asked, wondering what had happened to that nuisance. That very, very wealthy pain in the ass.

“Yup. We’ve been banned for life from the La Vida.” Wes chuckled, “but he says he’d love to visit us in the city sometime,” he added. “When we’re not at risk of destroying thousands of dollars of his property.”

He led me to his new car after he’d destroyed his first one, a white second-hand van that had definitely seen better days. I could already smell the expired pine-scented air freshener and feel the coarse seat covers that doubled as dust farms, and I hadn’t even stepped foot inside, much less open the passenger door. It was harder than I expected to open it. Part because it was so old; part because I was so small. Wes had to do me the honors and carry me inside like a child. 

When we were finally ready to head out, he put the car into ignition and got us moving. There was still something causing him to wriggle in his seat that he hadn’t yet told me. It didn’t seem like he was planning to, either. I was going to have to pry it out of him. 

“So what’s been up with you?” I asked, looking him in the eyes, demanding answers. One glance at me, and he knew what I wanted him to say.

“It’s nothing.” Hold for pause. “Actually, two. I just dropped off Avery at the airport with his mother to go study at a boarding school closer to her parents’ home. No more bullies there, they said.” It was an exciting occasion—or at least, it should’ve been; his face remained painfully neutral. I also wiped the smile off my face when I realized that that meant we couldn’t keep a close eye on him, another hapless victim. We didn’t know what the meteor was going to do to him or if it had any effect at all. Unless Avery updated us daily, we would just have to hope he could keep it under control until he got back. But how many years would that be?

“That isn’t everything,” I said, leaning in closer, trying not to let the seatbelt crush me to death. 

“Yeah, uh”—he tugged at his collar and undid another button, revealing more of his divine cleavage—“it’s a personal problem, actually.”

“Oh, no. Don’t tell me you’re craving more man juice.”

He shook his head, lopping it to the side in doubt. “No, actually, it’s the opposite. I’m not craving anything at all. In fact, my appetite’s pretty much packed itself up and left me at the altar.” He turned to me with worry in his eyes, the crux of his issues. “I haven’t eaten anything since I woke up at the hospital. But the doctors told me I’m perfectly healthy.”

What he was telling me didn’t sound plausible. Then again, with meteors raining down and tampering with our bodies in unspeakable ways, nothing was particularly off-limits anymore. “And you haven’t felt hungry at all? No grumbling stomach, no pregnant cravings?” I asked.

Wes slapped his stomach, causing some of his flab to jiggle. “Nope. No food, no water, no nothing.” His nose twitched. “It does piss me off though that I haven’t lost any weight. You’d think that not eating anything at all would at least get rid of some of this chub! But, no. My body’s just stuck like this, apparently. I’m holding off on eating just in case I start gaining the pounds again.” He chuckled, glancing at me with a cheeky grin. “They do say 30 is the gay death. Maybe since I’m bisexual, that means I’m technically a zombie now. Half-dead, half-alive. My metabolism, for one thing, is definitely rotted.”

It didn’t take a rocket scientist (though I was a chemist) to know that what Wes was feeling was definitely an effect of the second meteor. Human bodies aren’t designed to go days without food or water, but Wes looked healthier than he ever did. I took note to remind myself when I got back to my apartment to start charting and cataloging the meteors and their effects. Perhaps I would’ve found something we didn’t yet know, staring me in the eyes this whole time, hiding in plain sight. 

“Alrighty-o. Here’s your stop. 7-11 Plain Jane Street, corner of Sci-Fi Avenue.” He leaned over my tiny body, like a hovering King Kong, and opened the door for me. As I got myself out of his van, he tapped me on the shoulder. “Don’t forget. I expect you to come back into work on Monday. No excuses like unsuitable clothes or commute fatigue are going to work on me, got it?”

“Aye-aye, sir.”

“Alright, see you then,”—he winked—“employee of the month.” 

I entered my apartment complex and stared in fearful awe at the flight of stairs. For the longest time, they were never really worth my time or thought space, but in my diminutive state, I was going to break my legs before I even touched the third floor. And I lived on the seventh. Thankfully, we had an elevator—shoddy though it was—with a clerk who manned the buttons. It was comical to see the mystified expression on her face, ogling me in unhinged curiosity, at the sight of my miniature self. 

The rest of the week went by smoothly. I had the rest of my and Froy’s things brought to my apartment from the resort and went shopping in the kids’ section for office-suitable clothes. It’s just unfortunate that designers didn’t really know how to style things for children. I was often stuck choosing between “little man’s little wedding” and “waiter? I don’t even know her!” To the untrained eye, there was little difference between the two, but no self-respecting homosexual would ever mistake the fine print. Nothing in my drawers could fit me anymore, so I opted to buy myself a decent pair of printless pajamas as well. 

My first night back in my bed, I found myself engulfed by my weighted blanket. It was difficult moving it around, and most of the time, I just slunk inside and didn’t bother with the pillows. The next morning I wondered what I was going to do about Froy’s things. I didn’t know where he lived, and I wasn’t sure he wanted to hear from me after what happened. 

I could still envision and patch together the face he made, seeing what he’d done to me that night in the resort. There was nothing but fear in his eyes, regret in his quivering lips. His frankly obscenely oversized body loomed over me like a skyscraper of raw, bulging, spherical muscle; it was difficult making out the rest of his expression, shadowed by the enormity of his rounded chest. And I remembered one more detail: the name he’d called me in his intoxicated rage. Jeremy. An older brother? There was no way for me to check the prison’s records for anyone with that name; however, to have hurt Froy in such a way that sparked a visceral—and terribly violent—drunken response, I could never forgive him. 

Over the weekend, I headed to the sight of the first meteor crash and made another necklace from its shard for Wes. Monday came without much delay, and I headed back to the office, unsure of what awaited me. Something foul swirled in my gut as I rode the elevator up. I kept asking myself, “is anyone waiting for me at my table?” Would Froy have been there, sitting idly, like he always did? I got my answer, stepping into the work floor, with nothing—and no one—at my desk. Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed, a little bit betrayed. Froy’s absence at my side was something I was no longer used to. My very breath was dependent on his. 

As I set up my chair to accommodate my new height and booted up my computer, Marcus approached me from behind. I knew his wardrobe like the back of my hand and recognized that he too had to get a new change of clothes. It fitted him well enough, tight to accentuate what fine model-worthy muscle he had left. Even with a grain of sand of power compared to what he once had, his broad shoulders made him look larger than he really was, much to his credit. 

He hopped onto my desk, staggering a bit, and sat, staring at me as I logged in for the day. There was an unusually cheeky grin plastered onto his face. I struggled to input my damn password because I didn’t know for the life of me what it was he was so giddy about; it could have been another prank, a joke at my expense. “Glad to see you decided to come in today. To be honest, I didn’t think you had it in you.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about. “Why wouldn’t I come into work? Is that a short joke?”

He raised an eyebrow and licked his palm, greasing his side-slicked hair in a piss-poor attempt at grooming. “Dude, I’m as tall as you used to be. Being vertically challenged is nothing to laugh at.”

“Then what? Or did you just come here to watch me do your job again?”

“No, Dory, buddy. Wes didn’t tell you?” Marcus sucked in his lips and scratched the beauty mark on his neck. “Froy won’t be coming here, anymore. His resignation letter was on Wes’ desk last week. It still smelled like maple and semen, your favorite.” He chortled. “Have to hand it to him, though; his handwriting was girly as hell, but it sure did look nice.”

I didn’t know what to say. What was there to say? Froy quit. Without telling me. Marcus had to lift my slacking jaw with a finger because I was frozen stiff in my seat, staring up at him in confusion. Then my eyes turned to my desk. Without any hesitation, I started digging through each of my drawers, looking for some sort of goodbye note or anything at all that would’ve let me know that I meant something to him. But there was nothing, only the painfully empty box of tic-tacs Marcus once used to torture poor Wes.

Marcus startled me with a firm tap on my shoulder. There was a stupid smile on his face that looked happier than he had any right to be. “Hey, Dory, I’m just kidding.” His grin softened, and he began swinging his legs, dangerously close to my elbow. “I didn’t think you’d be so dumpy about it, jeez.”

A primal rage took over me. My fingers twitched in annoyance; I hated it when Marcus played with my heartstrings like that. I wanted to pounce on him and sock him good in the nose, even if it would’ve probably been no more painful than a toy hammer. But I was held back by relief—sweet gut-churning comfort that Froy didn’t just up and leave like a tomcat.

Marcus then added. “But his mother did call my number earlier using his phone. Apparently, Froy hasn’t left his room in days since he got back from the resort. He won’t eat or use the bathroom like a normal person. And she says she hasn’t seen him since he left, and she doesn’t know what happened at the resort. Two bucks says Froy’s cried himself to death in bed.”

I scoffed, my mouth turning into the faintest of smiles. “Five bucks, he’s alive. It’s going to take more than tears to kill a man the size of a dinosaur.”

Marcus rolled his eyes and texted something into his phone. When my own rang, he’d sent me a text, and written on it was Froy’s home address. “Why don’t you go pay him a visit after work and prove me right? If you need a ride, I’m sure Lisa’d be glad to help out after work.”

“Lisa? Don’t you live together? This address is at the opposite end of town; you don’t need to trouble yourself for a silly house visit.”

Marcus’ face hardened like stone, and his legs dropped into a ragdoll. “No… Lisa and I— Lisa told me she needed a break. She’s, uh, back with her old roommate, who just coincidentally happens to be a few blocks away from your damsel-in-distress.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” I always knew she was capable of it—heck, she was talking about nearly the whole first day of the retreat—but I didn’t think she would actually push through with it. It was inevitable, I supposed. Even with Marcus shrunken to the size of a high schooler, the damage had been done. To her reproductive organs, mostly.

He flicked a hand at me and smiled—a liar’s grin. “Don’t worry about it. It was only a matter of time before she lost interest.” Then his face stiffened again, more natural this time, yet colder, rigid. “Then again, who would want to date someone as small as me, right?” A nervous chuckle.

“I’m sitting right here, Marcus.”

Groaning, he hopped off my desk and pulled something out of his pocket. I didn’t quite catch what it was though. “And I’m standing right next to you. Your point?” Marcus patted me on the back, firmly, with more force than he usually displayed. “Anyway, you’ve got Lisa’s number. Just hit her up. And, uh… tell her I said hi.”

I waved him goodbye as he returned to his cubicle outside Wes’ office halfway across the work floor. Work was moving slower than usual, more than I was used to. Froy was always the faster worker between us, and I missed being paid to enjoy my free time. Coupled with the fact that it was tearing my arms and shoulders apart trying to type on my archaic keyboard, I barely made it to lunch break before needing a full body massage. 

My other coworkers were also still miffed about having their vacations cut short. As I entered the pantry, a plethora of eyes seemed to lock onto me, followed by a cacophony of mocking laughter. I’d never felt more like a joke. Being 5’7” was never an issue for me, but being 2’9”, I never hated being small more in my life. It wasn’t what Marcus felt, drunk off his own growth, wanting more than he ever needed. I just wanted my life back. There was a bitter taste in my mouth from thinking about how two meteors in a span of a month had changed all my closest friends’ lives for the better. But why was I the one who suffered the most?

Wes and Marcus called me over to sit with them at the lone table, with Marcus choosing to eat in instead of at a restaurant to cut break time and get back to work sooner. Wes didn’t lie about his eating problem: he really didn’t bring anything to the table other than his phone. It was an odd image: the two of them, my best friends in the office, looked as though they’d switched bodies, wore each other’s clothing. Wes’ new stature fit him well, but Marcus’ made him look more like a teenager. It suited his childlike demeanor better. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel like he wasn’t wholly himself. Not at this size. 

I handed Wes his matching necklace, and Marcus leaned over the table with a mouthful of food to fiddle with it. “Does this mean we’re engaged?” he asked, jokingly. “You and I are soulmates now.”

Wes glanced at me, visibly understanding my apprehension as I awaited his reply. Marcus could not know whose necklace it was that he was wearing nor what it did. Otherwise, all hell would break loose all over again, and I was not about to stand to lose everything a second time just getting everything—and everyone—back under control. 

He chuckled nervously, tossing it over his head and tucking it under his scandalously tight dress shirt. “Ah-heh, ‘til death do us part. Just— don’t tell my wife.” As I sat down to join them, his stomach suddenly grumbled in pained anguish, as if it hadn’t been fed in centuries. 

It was odd. I thought he said his appetite was gone. “So you are hungry!” 

Wes furrowed his brow and blinked at me furiously, as if he too was shocked to find himself starving. He clutched his stomach and patted his dehydrated bed of fatty abs, feeling it quiver in hunger a second time. “I… I am, now, but…” He shook his head, “but this doesn’t make any sense. I haven’t needed anything to eat or drink all week,” he said, and he reached out with an open palm towards Marcus’ tuna sandwich. “Mind if you cut your boss a piece?” 

Raising an eyebrow, Marcus plucked a sizable corner of his sandwich and held it out on his hand, as if feeding a dog. “Sure. You’ve been a good boy, haven’t you, Wesley?”

I watched as Wes snatched it like a thief and threw it in his gaping mouth, barely giving it more than three chews before downing it whole. He then flipped Marcus off with both middle fingers, chuckling under his breath. Yet his stomach demanded more. “Fuck. I’ll be right back. My stomach’s killing me right now.” As he left to go fetch himself a snack from the cafeteria downstairs, I couldn’t help but wonder what brought on this sudden need for feed. Was it related to the necklace? Did the meteor suppress Wes’ need for sustenance? If so, I had to ask: why?

With Wes gone from the table, Marcus rested his pristine cheek on his hand, elbow on the table, as he daintily finished the rest of his sandwich. He smiled at me, tapping my distracted nose, startling me somewhat. “Daydreaming about Froy?”

“What’s it to you? Jealous?” I was going to meet his cheek with cheek. “Don’t forget you’re engaged to Wes.”

“Hey, who said we had to be exclusive?” He then sighed, dropping the amorous facade. “Sucks being straight sometimes. Makes a guy wonder how much life would be easier if I were bi.”

“The alphabet mafia stays winning.”

Marcus twirled his finger around in the air like a spinner during New Year’s. “Woo,” he said, unenthusiastically.

As the two of us continued to waste our time, refusing to go back to work on such a drab Monday, eventually, it was just us left in the pantry. Everyone had gone back to work, catching up on the load they’d been dumped with during the retreat. 

Just before the lunch break ended, we heard a knock at the door. Our eyes met in confusion, not used to someone knocking before entering the pantry. We weren’t sure if it was a confused coworker or someone who’d gotten past the glass door by accident. The knocking disappeared but returned after a while. It was pissing me off a little bit, not knowing who it was that was ruining our perfectly peaceful paid free time. 

“Who is it?” I asked, hopping off my stool and approaching the door. I didn’t know if they heard me or not. My voice came from far lower than most people were used to. 

When I got no reply, I stood at the door, realizing my fatal mistake. I didn’t realize the door knob was so high, and I struggled to jump and grab onto it. At my height, it was like a monkey trying to grab a branch. I could hear Marcus struggling to hold back his laughter.

The next moment happened too fast for me to react. My face was still turned to scowl at Marcus when the door swung open at lightning speed. I was thrown back and crushed against the wall like a cockroach. It hurt all 206 of my bones, and then some, as my eyes flashed blinding white. Next thing I knew, I was on the floor on all fours, reeling from the pain.

Someone entered in my stupor, and I looked up to see who it was that nearly killed me. As my eyes landed on their face, all the petty hatred within me evaporated like a mist and transformed into butterflies that ravaged my guts. 

It was a young man, mid-20’s, that I’d never seen in the office before. He was wearing skin-tight slacks that hugged his lithe body and a cheap-looking collared shirt that had seen better days. I’d never known our company to hire someone who didn’t dress to impress. So I knew then and there that he was something special if he managed to wow Wes—and one look at his face told me I was right. 

His complexion was a light tan that showcased his more intense features well. An upturned nose and thin lips dead-center on his heart-shaped face, with a firm chin that could pound metal. Even with his aviator glasses on, I could make out the thick black eyebrows that complemented his well-groomed black quiff, sides shaved military-style. 

There was something familiar in the way he stood that reminded me of someone. I couldn’t pinpoint who it was at the time, though. 

He looked down and his eyes went wide in horror at the damage he’d done to me. “Holy— oh, my god, sir, I am so sorry! I didn’t think there was anyone behind the door, I-I—“

“Relax, dude,” Marcus said. “It was bound to happen. He was practically begging for it, weren’t you, Dor’?”

The man raised an eyebrow, scratching his elbow. “Door?” he muttered, glancing back down at me, offering me a hand out of pity.

As I grabbed it, I noted how unusually calloused his hands were, strange for someone who looked like he belonged in a library. “My name’s Dory, short for Dorian.” I was still in pain, rubbing my temple in discomfort. “And no, I was not asking for it. Don’t listen to him.”

“You can absolutely listen to me,” Marcus said, standing up and approaching the tall man. With them face-to-face, I noticed just how tall he actually was. Marcus was my old height of 5’7”, but this man looked like he was probably half a foot taller, staring down at Marcus from a greater vantage point, making both of us look downright puny. I saw Marcus gulp, and it amused me. “So, uh, what’s your name, pal?” he asked, his voice not as loud or confident, shaky in its delivery.

The man’s grin exploded with teeth as he raised a hand in patronage. “Ah, my bad. You can call me—“ Before he could tell us his name, his phone blared to life in his chest pocket. His ringtone, for some inexplicable reason, was set to the army’s morning alarm, trumpets and all. I was beginning to wonder just what kind of history he had. “Sorry, I have to go take this,” he said, pulling it out and rushing out of the pantry.

Then, before Marcus and I knew it, he was gone. We looked at one another, again in bewilderment, wondering who the hell that man was. And why was he so darned cute? If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve said Wes was hiring people off their looks alone. Jeez.

“Who the hell…? Well, whatever, I’d better get back to work,” Marcus said, feigning a gag with his finger. “You need help going to the infirmary or…?”

I shook my head, shaking off the last traces of early bruising from my arms. “Nah, I’m good. Thanks for asking.”

He patted me on the back, again with the same unusual force he displayed hours ago. “Alrighters,” he said, stepping out. “Just let me know if you’ve paid your himbo a visit. I want my win money.”

“Sure thing.” I left the pantry shortly afterwards. Everyone but me was already hard at work, slaving away their lives on their computers. I hated being in human resources, handling enough documents per week to open an archive, but it paid the bills, especially at Haley & Bennett’s. I hoped that the money Froy made from his internship was enough to cover his mother’s hospital bills, at least. I didn’t know how long it would be until I met him again, if I ever would. I had his address, but… 

“Hey,” said someone from behind, grabbing me by the shoulder with a rough hand. “Sorry about earlier.” It was the man’s voice. Cripes, he was back. I almost didn’t want to turn around and see his face—the perfect midpoint between nerdy and sexy—again. It reminded me too much suddenly of Froy, although my intern definitely had a far stronger jawline.

Before I could turn around, I felt his fingers rub against my back for a brief second. When I finally got around to looking back at him, I saw him holding what looked like a sticky note with a piece of tape on it. “And you’ve also got this, uh, thing on your back.” 

He held it out for me to see: “KICK ME I’M A GNOME,” it read.

Then I realized why it was Marcus was patting me on the back so damn hard. That son of a bitch. “Thanks, uh… I didn’t catch your name earlier.” I was so uncomfortably aware of my voice, unsure if I sounded strange, every intonation, every syllable, coming out forced as hell. 

He beamed at me with that familiar smile as he groomed his quiff. “Ah, that’s my bad. Had a call from my mom about my little brother.” He offered me his hand and grinned with his whole face, riddled with naive joy. “My name’s Jeremy. Jeremy Adamson. I’m a new coordinator here.” He pointed at the empty seat, next to my desk. “And if this is your desk, then I think we’re seatmates. Glad to be working with you, Dory!”
 

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  • scarletic changed the title to Hard at Work [Part 9 added - 4/4/21]
spacevlad

Yessssss so glad this story is back. Eager for our characters to discover what the second meteor did to all of them... can’t help but wonder if Wes’s returned appetite will help him grow... I hope so! He is my favorite 😄

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citizenies

Thanks for the new addition, everything is sooo good. Wonder how the meteor affected everyone :)

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dangerdanger

@scarletic, this story is great in many many ways. Not only because of the detailed description of scenes, characters and their growth but also because of the time you took in order to make us want for Marcus or Wes to appear again. This idea of loosing them in order to find them again works great with sexual desire, you were able to transmit that feeling of wanting to see someone again because of sexual atraction. Loved it. Marcus scenes made me super hot, I was amazed by Marcus personality and the relationship he has with Dorian. Also Wes forgetting about his change is a great great idea, works like a charm. Is very funny and hot in a weird way.

My only critic would be Froy. At least for me, he didn't work as a desire factor but a pause before the next "sexual" scene. Don't know why. Maybe because of his personality that didn't convinced me, I don't know. I wasn't able to see him clearly. He looked like a robot or puppet, don't know. But Marcus was amazing and Wes too. And I like Dorian, he is a nice guy, with a great personality, someone you could feel related to.

Again, congrats! Great great work.

I don't know if I understood you correctly but you said you are a writer or wanting to be. Im there too, though I do my work at spanish (Im from Argentina). So, best regards, keep writing! 

 

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  • scarletic changed the title to Hard at Work [Part 11a added - 5/4/21]

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