Winner: Most Profound Epilogue
It took five agonizing minutes before Claudia was able to work up the nerve to knock on the door. It only took a few moments for the house’s occupant to open the door.”He..hello Brooke.” She spoke nervously as she gazed at the face of her former nemesis.
Brooke looked much the same as she did when she was Cheer-Squad leader. Same blonde hair, blue eyes and that ageless, beautiful face of hers. However, everything below the neck was completly different.
Instead of a slim, leggy figure, she instead had a massive round stomach and watermelon sized breasts which strained the fabric of the large dress she wore.
“Claudia..” She spoke in quiet awe. “It’s been… wow, it’s been years.”
“I know…” Claudia replied, her voice low. “I know you probably don’t want to talk to me but.. can.. can I come in?”
Brooke smiled. “Why yes, certainly. I’ve actually been waiting a long time for this.”
Several minutes passed and since Claudia couldn’t bring herself to speak the truth yet, she made small talk with Brooke. They talked about their husbands, their jobs – She was a technician, Brooke worked out of home – and various things which had happened since leaving school.
There was a brief mention of their mutual crush Brett, the star quarterback who had taken a severe left turn into petty crime, but a lot of talk about their lives outside of work, like the Christian choir group Brooke supervised and the tutoring Claudia offered to struggling students.
It was pleasant, nice. Simply meeting with an old aquaintance.
But the more they talked, and the more Brooke went on about how she’d had difficulty finding a job to suit her larger body, how much the larger clothing cost, how she and her husband were trying to start a family, the more guilty Claudia felt. All the strife in Brooke’s life, it was because of her..
“Claudia..” Brooke noticed her teary eyes. “What’s the matter? You came here for a reason, right?”
She couldn’t take it anymore. “Oh, don’t be so naive, you know why I’m here! You know it’s almost ten years to the day.”
“The day you… did this to me.” Brooke answered, prodding her stomach.
“I hated you so much.” Claudia spoke angrily. “You are always making fun of my weight and my clothes, you never stopped insulting and abusing me… you were a complete bitch to me and everyone else. And to top it off, you stole my boyfriend Brett.”
“That’s why I created that potion in chem class and dosed you with it. I thought that if I turned you into a balloon, made you a mockery in front of everyone, that it would fix everything, and I would be rid of you once and for all. And for a while it was great. You were humiliated, you left school and moved out of town and Brett was with me again.”
“But after that, it all went wrong. Brett cheated on me. The school suspended me, your father sued my dad and we were forced to leave town. I was constantly followed by the press. They called me a mad scientist for years. I could barely hold a job with my reputation…”
She sobbed. “But the worst thing was when I saw your picture on Facebook a year ago. I was so horrified when I saw you were still… like this. When I read about all you had been through..”
She collasped into tears as the building guilt finally broke her down. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea the potion would be permanent. I just wanted to humiliate you. Instead I turned you into a freak and ruined your life…”
She felt Brooke grasp her shoulders and pull her against her body, letting her rest her head on her round belly. Brooke said nothing, just gently stroked her hair as she cried. The gentle motion, along with the admission of guilt was soothing to Claudia.
“I don’t hate you, if that’s what you’re wondering.” She spoke softly. “In fact, I’m somewhat indebted to you.”
“What?” Claudia looked at her, confused.
“I was angry at first, especially when I didn’t turn back to normal. But after I left school, I was stuck in my room for a long time, wondering what I had done to deserve this. I came to realise what an asshole I had been. I’d put people down just to make myself feel superior… and in the end, it finally came back to bite me.”
She prodded her belly. “I know you blame yourself, but everything that happened to me… I brought it all on myself.”
“I decided that even though I was stuck like this, I would try be as positive about it as possible. Every time I see myself in the mirror or need to get clothes made up, I remember why this happened, and it spurs me to be a better person. For myself and for others.”
She chuckled “It’s not exactly easy having everyone’s eyes on you when you walk down the street and take up the whole width of the pavement, but I refuse to let that stop me enjoying life.
She smiled brightly at Claudia. “I’ve wanted to say this to you for a long time… I’m so sorry for what I did, and I hope you can forgive me.”
Claudia sniffled, touched beyond words. “I’m sorry too.. God, we really were stupid kids back then, weren’t we?”
“Yeah..” Brooke sighed. “But that was a long time ago… We’ve both changed so much..”
She extended her hand towards Claudia. “Maybe its time we re-introduced ourselves.”
“You mean… be friends?”
“If you want.”
Claudia couldn’t help but notice Brooke’s arm barely reached past her huge belly. But the forgiving look in Brooke’s eyes, and the idea that finally something good could come from that whole mess from school, was enough to convince her.
“I’m… Claudia.” She took her hand.
“I’m Brooke. Nice to meet you.”