Author Topic: A new story - Sparkles  (Read 4312 times)

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #15 on: 17. January 2023, 08:45:46 AM »
Read the first story, then the second one and the third. The stories are all linked by the location it is taking place. Each story is from the perspective of the person in the story.

I don't want to post it all at once because the stories tell parts of the bigger story.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles - The Cheerleader
« Reply #16 on: 17. January 2023, 11:19:19 AM »
Chapter 4

One of the new owners took over running the restaurant after the sale of the building and has been making changes to the restaurant. He’s had lots of experience running successful restaurants for other people and is making changes to ours to improve it. He has an office on the second floor and spends part of his time in the kitchen working with us.

The restaurant opens for breakfast now and stays open a little later in the evening to attract a larger range of people. The menu has also changed a bit and he has added an evening menu with some more-expensive dishes. With the extended hours, he hired a few more people to work, and all the original staff got a bump in pay. My raise came with a title change to head hostess and I am in charge of hiring and training the new staff. Most of the new staff are younger and I work the weekends so I can train them, taking time off during the week.

The girl with braces asked to work evenings so she can get more hours and I am training her to be a hostess. I start work in the morning with the breakfast crew and she starts in the afternoon, giving me the time to train her and the new floor staff. She's been telling me all about what it is like to have braces and how much it has affected her life.

My boyfriend has stopped eating at the restaurant as much with my new hours and responsibilities. Instead, he frequently comes in just before I finish work for the day and we have supper in my apartment. He always says hi to the new hostess, and I see how he checks out her braces each time. Whenever there is a change to them, he comments on it.

Most of the old tenants moved out when the building sold and some of the new owners are moving into the empty spaces. The company doing the renovations is owned by a husband and wife from our group and they are opening a new office on the second floor to manage the building for the investors. Most of it is just moving walls and updating the wiring and plumbing.

My boyfriend tells me all about what is happening with the building and he’s told me not to worry about all the changes going on, it is all part of the plan to make money. A few of the investors are going to move their businesses into the building and the money from the rent will be going right back into the investor's pockets as profit after the expenses are taken off.

One of the first investors to move in is an orthodontist, and he invited me and my boyfriend to check out the renovations to his office and give him our opinion. I noticed how interested my boyfriend was as we toured the office and he seemed to be extra affectionate after the tour. Between the building manager's new office and the company offices is a new meeting room, and the Wednesday group meeting has moved into there and has become an informal investors meeting. Each week the restaurant prepares food ahead of time, and the new restaurant owner has me help bring the food up and has me stay. Even though I don't have any shares, they still include me in the meeting, maybe because my boyfriend bought some.

The restaurant is so busy now that it could easily be expanded, but the investors are more interested in building the new one than they are in fixing up the old one, the thing is they don’t know what theme they want to use. I usually just sit back and listen to them talk.

The plans for the new kitchen are underway and there is a mockup of it on the main floor beside the elevator shaft. The plan is to have it big enough to handle cooking for the new restaurant and be able to handle a takeout menu as well, without needing to be expanded. The old coolroom and freezer have been replaced by new, larger rooms and the kitchen staff are thrilled with the added space they have to work with.

With all the renovations and the expanded hours to the restaurant, coupled with the braces-friendly menu additions, I've been noticing an increase in the number of people with orthodontic appliances. It isn't just the customers either, it seems as if the younger members of our restaurant staff are included. The new chef handles most of the training for the kitchen staff, but there is some overlap with the dishwashers and busboys. I do the training for the waitresses and waiters, and a few of them are somewhere in their orthodontic treatment. A few have switched to the orthodontist upstairs because of the convenience of being able to schedule their appointments for the days they are working, and I have been hearing nice things about how much they like how they are treated by the orthodontic staff.

Part of my job as the head hostess is to connect with the customers and find out what we can do to make their experience in the restaurant better and what they like about what we are already doing. The new menu items are popular and not just with the people who have braces. One thing I have been hearing is that the evening customers would like it if the restaurant had a more intimate atmosphere to go with some of the more pricey items on the menu.

I've also noticed that the serving staff with orthodontic appliances are getting better tips than the staff without. And I'm seeing a trend for when my boyfriend shows up early for supper. Whenever I am training someone with braces, he's early, and he is always polite to them when he greets them by name.

The orthodontist drops by the restaurant each morning to pick up a large thermos of coffee for his office and he usually stops to say hello to me. He’s started offering a discount to employees of the company, and that includes the restaurant. A couple of the older waitresses have been to see him and one is talking about how thrilled she is about her upcoming appointment to get her braces. She’s an older lady, in her late 40s, and mentioned she is doing it because her husband has been encouraging her to do it. It seems he has a thing for women in braces.

Each Wednesday, when I bring the food to the investor's group, we include a new menu item for them to taste test. After the group is updated on the latest company issues, the plans for the new restaurant come up and I have become more involved in the discussion. They seem to value my input and my suggestions have been appearing on the possible floorplans for the new restaurant. The orthodontist has been asking for my opinion on what items are popular on the new braces-friendly menu and which ones need to be changed.

Each time I tell him that I am probably not the best person to ask, because I don't have braces, and he has begun jokingly replying that I should get them so I could be better equipped to try out the menu. My boyfriend has been around a few times when I have been talking to the orthodontist, and he's been a bit more affectionate each time after hearing the comment.

The older waitress left partway through her shift to get her braces installed, and her husband came to take her to her appointment. I have a good view of the stairs to the second floor, and there is a space on the far side of it that is semi-private and is partially blocked from view by potted plants. When she came down the stairs after her appointment, he guided her into the space and they engaged in some heavy kissing. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was a couple of young people sneaking off behind the stairs. Judging by the smile on her face, and her slightly rumpled clothing when she returned to work, it seems as if I wasn’t that wrong.

I’ve begun to think that I have an idea for the new restaurant, but it seems too wild to be practical. I’ve also begun to think about what kind of present I can get for my boyfriend, but I really need to think about it some more.

My suggestion to have the new restaurant broken up into sections has been put into the plans and a model has been made for the investors to look at. One section has small semi-private rooms for a couple to enjoy if they are on a date, and they can hold up to six people by adding more chairs. Another section can be arranged to seat small groups and if needed, rearranged to create a table to accommodate a large group easily. The last section is booths for groups of six to eight people, depending on how cozy they want to get.

The orthodontist asked me to come up to his office for a dental checkup. He had heard that I hadn’t had one in far too long and offered to do it for free, including doing impressions of my teeth. It’s part of the new package he is offering to all the employees of the company. I booked it for one of my days off, and I enjoyed my appointment. Having impressions done was a new experience for me, but he was very competent and he prepared me for the way the goop would squeeze out against my palate.

He had me come back a few days later and filled a couple of small cavities that were starting and complimented me on my good hygiene. He also said that he took a look at all my X-rays and the models of my teeth and had a treatment plan if I ever wanted to fix my teeth. I thanked him for taking the time and said I would give it some thought.

I look at my bank account and see that I can afford to start treatment if I take the money I have saved for my boyfriend’s gift. If I pay the rest of it off in installments, I can finally get my teeth fixed, but I still want to get my boyfriend something special. His birthday is coming up soon and the anniversary of our first official date is just about the same time.

My boyfriend's business has been doing very well and he has expanded to other cities. He's taken me on a few trips to check on the new offices, and each time has been so much fun. We fly each time, and a few times he has pointed out when he sees someone going through the metal detector wearing braces. He likes to take me to restaurants to try out different meals and often asks if it is something that could be served at the new restaurant and if I thought it was something to add to the braces-friendly menu.

I keep telling him that I am not the best person to answer that, but he just smiles and kisses me, running his tongue over my teeth each time. He never says anything about my misaligned teeth. It’s almost as if he doesn’t mind having a girlfriend without a perfect smile.

Offline radian

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #17 on: 17. January 2023, 13:46:07 PM »
Very pleasant story to read, especially because of the different points of view you use, which is kind of original.

Hope the following is coming soon !

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #18 on: 17. January 2023, 13:57:55 PM »
I have a few chapters ready to post. I'm spreading them out a little to give everyone a chance to read them before they move too far down in the posts.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles - The Bet
« Reply #19 on: 18. January 2023, 12:35:51 PM »
Here's another one. I left the ending open for more chapters, and if I feel like it, I may add to it. It is meant to only be one chapter long.

Sparkles - The Bet

By Braceface2015

Chapter 1

A bunch of fratboys were sitting around playing poker when one of them said, “Have you seen some of the ridiculous things people are doing on the internet lately? Trying to see how many crackers they can eat without taking a drink of water or things like that.”

One of the others said, “Yeah, and they’re doing it for nothing. Why aren’t they betting on it?”

And that was how “The Bet” started. They each put in $10.00 and came up with something to bet on. It wasn’t just a simple one-time bet. They used the betting system from poker, and each could fold, stay or raise the bet each time it was their turn. If they raised the bet, it had to be accompanied by increasing the challenge. The winner would be the one who made the last bet and managed to complete the challenge. Bluffing or raising the bet too high for anyone else to match wouldn’t work, because to win the money, the one who made the bet had to do it.

As the value of “The Bet” grew and the challenge became more complicated, other people heard about it and wanted to get in on it. Their girlfriends were the first to join and added a feminine twist to it. The original challenge became lost as the pot grew. Eventually the challenge became to apply for a job at the new restaurant and be accepted to work on the floor as a waiter or waitress and keep the job without getting fired. It seemed pretty simple to win the bet, and the value of the bet grew as more people joined.

Most people didn’t do any research into what was required to win, and just figured it was an easy way to make some extra money. Almost everyone who tried to win the bet lost as soon as they applied for the job.

I did my research before I gambled my money. The people who were losing their money didn’t have the right attitude to start with. When I went in to pick up the application form, I smiled at the lady handing out the forms and introduced myself. Her eyes went to my mouth briefly and returned my smile. I did my best to keep my eyes on her face, but her smile was too interesting to resist looking at.

She had just a slight lisp, and most people wouldn’t have noticed it, but I did because of my hearing aids being sensitive. They are the new inside-the-ear kind and are hardly noticeable. When she handed me the application, I knew I had made it one step closer to winning “The Bet”. I sat at one of the tables and ordered a drink so I wouldn’t be taking up space that a paying customer could use. The waitress was a girl not much older than me, and when she smiled at me while taking my order, I saw she was the second one in the restaurant wearing metal braces. It seemed my research was paying off.

I read through all the information included with the application form, and left a tip underneath my glass before returning my application to the hostess. This time I let my eyes stray to her mouth and examined the braces on her teeth before returning to her eyes. It seemed as if her braces were new, and her smile got bigger when she saw me looking at them. I knew I stood a chance of winning the bet when she called the waitress over and asked her to take over at the hostess’ station while she took me for an interview.

The first part of the interview was pretty standard and covered my work experience. While my resume wasn’t very long, I did have a little experience as a waitress and had a letter of recommendation from a previous employer attached to my resume. As the interview progressed, I smiled more because I knew I was getting closer to winning “The Bet”.

I seemed to do well, because she asked me if I had time to wait for a second interview, this time with her boss, or if I would prefer to return another day. As far as I knew, I had managed to get further than anyone else had so far, so I said I would be happy to stay and wait. She made a phone call, and a few minutes later, a guy in a chef’s uniform knocked on the door and entered.

I smiled at him as he introduced himself and his eyes seemed to light up. After escorting me to his office, he explained what was going to happen in the next part of the interview. After reading through a short greeting that all the staff were expected to follow, he had me stand in front of a camera and read it again. The greeting was easy to remember and I smiled at the camera and recited the greeting from memory. It felt a bit odd to be watching myself projected on the wall across the room from me, but it gave me a chance to make changes to my posture and smile to maximize the look I wanted to present.

I must have done well, because he asked me a few questions about my work experience before beginning to ask me a few personal questions. When he asked if I enjoyed wearing or seeing braces, I responded by saying I had never worn them, but I didn’t have a problem with the idea of having them and some of my friends had worn them when I was younger.

A few questions later he asked what kind of treatment I would like if I was going to get my teeth fixed. I paused to think about it, then decided not to directly answer his question. I started by explaining that I had seen pictures of some of my older relatives when they had braces and how I had been fascinated by the bands going around all their teeth, then by the heavy wires on the retainers when they got their braces off.

While I hadn’t actually answered his question, it seemed to satisfy him and he asked if I would be willing to wear a retainer or some other orthodontic device if I was hired to work in the restaurant. The question caught me off-guard and I blushed a little. My teeth weren’t bad, but I had never been completely happy with them. Having to wear a retainer at work would draw more attention to them than I was used to and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

While he waited for my answer, he explained about the benefits package that all the employees would receive when they passed the probationary period. My blush deepened a little as I gave him my answer to his last question. He wrote a few comments at the bottom of my application form and asked if I could stay a little longer.

When I said I had the rest of the afternoon, he picked up his phone and made a call. After a brief conversation, he escorted me to an office down the hall.

In my wildest dreams, I never dreamt I would be sitting in an orthodontist's office during a job interview, but that is where I found myself. After introducing me to the girl at the desk, he asked me to wait until the doctor could see me.

While I sat there, I looked at the people sitting around me. It was no surprise to see so many people with braces sitting in an orthodontist's office, though it seemed as if they all had metal showing in their smiles. What did stand out was the number of people wearing restaurant uniforms. They all looked as if they were either on their way to work, were taking a break from work or had just gotten off work.

The girl at the front desk interrupted my perusal of the patients to say the doctor was ready to see me now. My gaze turned to her smile and I saw she had braces too, not at all surprising for an orthodontist's office. After I sat down, the doctor looked up from my file and smiled at me. It seemed as if everyone in the place was smiling.

He explained that he was doing the final step in the interview process and his job was to determine if I had the look they were expecting of their staff. As part of the application process, all prospective employees were being given a full orthodontic exam free of charge. I didn't have to accept the exam, but if I didn't want it, my application would be added to a list of people to call later. I understood right away that they wouldn't be calling any of those people.

I was determined to win the bet, and if I had to get my teeth checked, so be it.

Before I knew it, I had X-rays taken and was in a chair with my mouth wide open as he checked my teeth. He seemed pleased with what he found and asked if I had ever had impressions of my teeth done. After he explained what was involved and what to expect, he inserted the filled trays into my mouth, one at a time, and I found out what it was like. The worst part was when the stuff oozed out toward my throat, but he used his finger to move it aside before I began to choke.

He suggested I brush my teeth and rinse thoroughly before returning to his office. He was looking at the scan of my mouth and my digital X-rays when I returned. Following compliments on my fine oral hygiene, he asked if I still was interested in a job in the new restaurant.

I hadn’t gone through everything I had just to stop now, so I said I was. He passed me a sheet with a list of requirements the staff was expected to meet or exceed, then drew my attention to clause four, which read, “All employees in the restaurant must wear some form of orthodontic device at all times while on the floor. A Hawley retainer is acceptable and will be provided free of charge at the time of hiring. No exceptions will be made and failure to do so will result in immediate termination of employment.”

I smiled when I saw that. I had just found a way to make winning the bet harder while giving me a better chance of winning more money. All I had to do was add another condition to the requirements of the “The Bet”, and raise the stakes by a small amount.

I said I was fine with the requirements and signed and dated the bottom of the sheet. Then he surprised me by asking if I wanted to start working in the restaurant now, before the new one opened. They were offering the opportunity to a few people and I fit the requirements for the offer. It would start my probationary period earlier and I would be eligible for added incentives. I wasn't expecting to be hired so soon, but if it meant being that much closer to winning "The Bet", I didn't see any reason to delay, so I accepted his offer.

Before he sent me to the front desk, he opened a cabinet and pulled out a drawer with different types of retainers. I didn’t know there were so many types, and he explained that they weren’t all retainers, some of them were for active treatment and could be worn before the braces were put on. He asked me which type of retainer interested me, and after looking at them, I pointed to one with a heavy wire with bends that followed the contours of the teeth on the model. His smile got bigger as he made a few notes in my file.

The receptionist had me sign a few forms, then made an appointment for me to return a few days later to pick up my new retainer. Before I left, she smiled at me and said. “If you want to move up on the seniority list faster, wear your retainer at work all the time, and when you get a chance, get braces and extend your treatment as long as you can.”

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles - Charlene
« Reply #20 on: 18. January 2023, 23:42:03 PM »
Chapter 2

After our daughters got married, he merged the company with another company and semi-retired. I no longer had to work and found I had a hard time adjusting. We moved into town and I tried to find ways to keep myself busy. I had more money than I knew what to do with, so I didn’t need to work, but I decided to get a part-time job. I had enjoyed waitressing before we got married, and found a place that needed a waitress part-time. I was a little rusty after all the years, but they were patient and it all came back to me.

My husband couldn’t stay idle either, and built a greenhouse to grow flowers. He hired a company to design and build it, but he got right in there with the rest of them and got dirty. He hired good people to work with him and soon I had fresh flowers on the table each morning. In the afternoon, he drove me to work. At first, he would just drop me off and make a few deliveries.

The move into town gave us a chance to work on our relationship, and I made a real attempt to win him back. I started with simple things, like asking him to walk me into the restaurant at the beginning of my shift and come inside a little early to pick me up after work. The old pickup truck with my name on the seat had been parked many years ago and had sat in the barn. I had it repaired and intended to give it to him as an anniversary present. One change I made was to have his seat recovered and his name stitched into it to match what he had done for me all those years ago.

Him walking me into the restaurant turned out to be a good thing, but not in the way I expected. The building the restaurant was in had been sold and the new owners had made a few changes to give it a new look. When the chef heard that my husband was growing flowers, he gave my husband a contract to supply flowers to the restaurant. On the days I was working, he delivered them himself when he dropped me off, and hung around for a while and talked to the staff. One of the waitresses was just a bit younger than our daughters and still had braces. And he made a point of saying hello to her whenever she worked the same days I did.

The things I was doing worked and our relationship improved. It wasn't the same as it had been before. We were both older and some of the things that seemed so important back then just weren't anymore. I didn't realize just how important watching the sun go down together was to me until he took me out to the edge of town one evening. So many memories came back to me and I did something we hadn't done for a long time. I moved over beside him and slowly kissed him the way I used to before we got married.

It took a few more trips to the hill and a blanket on the grass before he responded the way he used to, but I finally felt his tongue run over my teeth the way I had been accustomed to. When I began to cry, he asked what was wrong and it took me a while to explain to him how much his old way of kissing meant to me. The next weekend was our anniversary, and I gave the truck to him. I explained to him what it meant to me and that I was determined to live up to the logo on the door and treat him like the ‘spoiled rich kid’ he deserved to be.

We took the truck to the hill and watched the sun go down while laying in the back on a mattress. As the last rays of the sun disappeared and the stars came out, he kissed me the way he used to and ran his tongue over the gap between my teeth. Then he pulled back and said, “I haven’t asked you this before, but I want you to do something for me. I want you to get braces. I don’t care if you don’t get your teeth fixed, and I would be very happy if you didn’t get them fixed, because I like how they are right now, but I have always wondered what it would be like to kiss you with braces.”

We sat there for a while looking at the stars, then I rolled over and kissed him again and let him run his tongue over my teeth some more. "If that is what you want, then let me talk to the orthodontist in the office above the restaurant." After a  bit more kissing, I asked, "How would you like to go with me and we can both see what he can do for us." That provoked a reaction in him that had been missing for a while, and we almost got caught by the cop car that drove by patrolling the parking lot. It was the most fun we had in a long time.

As we drove home, so many little things clicked into place in my mind and I asked him, “Did you marry me because of my teeth?”

His response surprised me. “I married you because of who you were. Your teeth were just a bonus. You kept telling me that you wouldn’t date a rich kid and I liked that.”

I couldn’t stop laughing for a long time. When I finally stopped, I managed to say, “I said I wouldn’t date a SPOILED rich kid, I never said I wouldn’t marry a rich kid. Now pull over, I think I need to make up for some lost time and kiss you again.”

I called the orthodontist the next day and we had an appointment that afternoon before I started my shift. I had so much on my mind that the hostess split my section between two other waitresses and had me cleaning tables and helping out.

Our talk with the orthodontist had been very interesting and gave me a lot to think about. Unlike most orthodontists who concentrated on getting the result as fast as possible, he was more interested in giving his patients the look they wanted and took as long as needed to achieve it. My case wouldn't be the first time he had been asked for a less-than-perfect look at the end of the treatment. If we wanted, he could line my teeth up to meet properly and make them look very similar to the way they already looked, including the gap between my top teeth, and if we wanted he could add a similar gap to the bottom.

He could also give me a Hollywood smile and take years longer than necessary to do it. He showed us all the different appliances he could use on me, even those I wouldn’t need for treatment, and I had seen my husband’s eyes light up. Even though the cost of the treatment didn’t matter to us, part of the benefits package I was entitled to was a discount on the cost of the treatment.

We talked about it for the next few days, and I told him I would leave it up to him to decide what we would do. If he didn’t want to tell me, he didn’t have to and I would let him do whatever he wanted without complaint.

I knew that I would be getting molar bands because I had separators installed on the top and bottom, and they had been a part of all the treatment plans, but the rest was a mystery to me. On the day of my appointment, he drove me to the office and went up with me. The orthodontist had a contract for me to sign saying I agreed to the treatment, and even though I hadn't seen what I was getting, I signed it.

The first part was easy. The separators came out and the molar bands went on. I was expecting four, but I ended up with eight. The back molars had tubes on both sides, and the front had tubes on the inside. I knew right away that I would have more going on in my mouth than I expected.

I was relieved when he began gluing metal brackets to the rest of my teeth. One of the options discussed had been bands on all my teeth, and if that was what my husband had wanted, I would have accepted it. My husband had rejected the self-ligating brackets at the first appointment, so I knew I would be getting ligatures to hold the archwires in place. When the time came for the archwires to go in, I closed my eyes and waited until the ligatures were in place.

They asked me if I wanted to see my new braces, but I just shook my head while I ran my tongue over my metal-covered teeth. I wanted to wait until I was at home just in case I had a meltdown. As we reached the bottom of the stairs, my husband pulled me behind the stairs into a partially screened-off area and kissed me for the first with me wearing braces. His kiss was very gentle and tentative at first, and I felt just like a teenager kissing for the first time. When I didn't pull away, he got a little more daring and explored my braces with his tongue, and I really began to feel like a teenager.

All of the old feelings came back in a rush and I knew I had done the right thing by getting braces. My husband was back in my arms and we had the rest of our lives to be together. I knew it for sure when he called me Charli, something he hadn’t done in far too many years.

I was supposed to work a shift that afternoon, but the hostess knew I had more important things to do and understood when I told her I was taking the rest of the day off.

Offline anton08

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #21 on: 19. January 2023, 07:49:29 AM »
Some more chapters would be very much appreciated.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles - The Cheerleader
« Reply #22 on: 20. January 2023, 03:37:34 AM »
Chapter 5

I've told the orthodontist I appreciate his offer, but I don't think I can afford to fix my teeth just yet. He's told me I can spread out the payments more and pay a small installation fee to get me started if it would help.

I look at the smiles of the women at the Wednesday investor's meeting and see how nice they look with straight teeth. It would be so nice if I could have a smile as nice as theirs for my boyfriend to enjoy. I’ve seen how he looks at women with braces and I feel that he is picturing them with straight teeth.

Whenever I get a chance, I talk to the hostess with braces and get her opinion on what she thinks I should do. The waitress with new braces has joined us a few times, and her opinion is that I should do it. Her husband is enjoying having her in braces and is very supportive when her teeth are sore. They both say that their braces aren’t an inconvenience, and the soreness doesn’t last very long. It’s given me a lot to think about.

Every time I brush my teeth and look at them in the mirror, I picture myself with straight teeth. The more I think about it, the more appealing the idea of fixing my teeth becomes. I’ve looked at the treatment plans the orthodontist gave me, and each time they look a little bit more affordable.

I’ve booked an appointment to talk to the orthodontist about fixing my teeth. There is enough in my bank account to start, and the monthly payments are low enough that I can afford them.

After talking to the orthodontist, he told me that there are three treatments he can recommend. The first would be surgery to move my jaws into place and then a short treatment to align the teeth. It would involve me taking some time off to heal. I told him that wasn’t an option. Even though I wouldn’t be in braces very long and I would have a perfect smile, I still can’t afford the time off.

The second option would be to have a few teeth removed to allow the rest to move into place. We both didn’t like that option very much. He said he doesn’t like removing healthy teeth if at all possible. I didn’t like the idea of having big gaps in my smile while my teeth are moving and told him so. I would be in braces longer than the first option and he told me the result wouldn’t be as good in the end.

The third option he gave me was a bit scary at first. It involves widening my arches and shifting my teeth into place. When he told me everything that was involved, I almost told him to forget it, but he explained how everything works, using the models of my teeth to show me and put an estimation of how my smile will look in the end, on his computer.

The first two options would be more expensive because of the cost of the surgery and the time I would miss from work to recover. The third option will have very little time away from work, and I can schedule my appointments for whatever days are convenient for me.

I talk to my two friends in the restaurant and show them the treatment plans, and they encourage me to take the third plan, even though it will be a longer treatment.

My boyfriend tells me that he is going to have to take a trip to reorganize one of his offices. He’s going to be gone for a week and he’s bought me a new computer and camera so he can talk to me every night while he’s gone. I’ve become so used to cuddling with him on the couch and getting a goodnight kiss from him. Most weekends, he sleeps on the bed in the couch, and he does it without complaining about the boundaries I have set for our relationship.

Before I can change my mind, I make an appointment with the orthodontist for the Monday he is leaving. I don’t want to tell my boyfriend what I am planning to do, so I have an appointment on Friday to have the spacers installed.

I’ve let my friends in the restaurant know what I am doing and have asked them not to say anything to my boyfriend about it. All week they’ve been smiling at me and I’ve been looking at the braces in their smiles and thinking, “That’s going to be me soon.”

I went up to the orthodontist's office during lunch and they installed the spacers between my back teeth. By the time my boyfriend arrived for supper, my teeth were sore and I ordered us food from the braces-friendly menu, after asking my friends what I would be able to eat.

He makes a couple of jokes about my selection of food, which I half-heartedly respond to. After supper, we cuddle on the couch and watch a movie. I tell him I’m not feeling well and ask him if it will be okay if he doesn’t spend the night. He’s a bit concerned when I cut our goodnight kiss short before he can get his tongue into my mouth, but I tell him that I will be okay when I take a couple of Advil and get a good night’s sleep.

Before he leaves, I tell him that I have scheduled myself to work late the next two nights and train some new employees, so he shouldn’t come around. It’s not a lie, just not the complete truth.

Monday morning, he drops by the restaurant on his way to the airport. We sneak out to the area behind the stairs for a quick kiss before he leaves, and I don’t let him get his tongue far enough into my mouth to feel the spacers. He doesn’t know it, but this is the last time he will be feeling my teeth without braces on them, so I give him plenty of time to run his tongue over them.

The older waitress with the new braces is filling in for me as hostess, and she gives me a big smile as I leave for my appointment.

It’s a relief to have the spacers out of my mouth, even though it is short-lived. The orthodontist numbs my palate before he starts installing the top expander. He’s told me this is going to be the unpleasant part of having my braces installed, and he’s right. Fitting the bands around my teeth with the expander connected to them takes a while, and more of my teeth have bands than I expected.

Once he has it in place, he takes a break and gives me a chance to brush my teeth to remove the chemical residue from my mouth. I hesitantly smile at myself in the mirror, expecting to see nothing but metal, but there is nothing to see, until I smile like a clown and the bands become visible on the inside of my teeth. My top jaw has bands on the back three teeth on both sides. So far, things are going fine.

He prepared me for the next part before I agreed to the treatment. The reason he numbed my palate is so he can insert screws into the bone to aid in widening my arch. The expander can’t do what it needs to without moving my arch out and the screws are to anchor it to my jaw and spread the bone. The bands are to keep my teeth in place as my jaw widens, and to shift them into position. All I feel is a little pressure as the screws go into place.

He asks if I want another break, but I just say, “No. I’m fine so far.”

He asked me if I wanted ceramic brackets on top, and he would have used them if I wanted, but they would have cost more and he said he prefers to use metal because he has better control. With the screws in place, he begins glueing the top brackets into position. When he is satisfied with the placement, he cures them using a UV light.

I had the option of waiting to have the brackets put on my bottom teeth until he put the bottom expander in. My top palate needs to be wider before he can do the same to the bottom, and the bottom jaw will move faster than the top, so he wants to wait for a while. He could have done both at the same time and waited to expand the bottom one, but he felt it would have been too much going into my mouth at the same time.

The bottom brackets could have waited a while too, but I choose to have them installed at the same time as the top. It doesn’t take him long to finish my bottom jaw, and then he gives me a break to relax my jaw.

I take the time to go to the bathroom again and take a good look at my new smile. The brackets feel so big and rough without the archwires, and my lips catch on the edges of them as I smile in the mirror. I tilt my head back and try to look at the expander on my top palate, but the angle isn't quite right and I can't get enough light inside. He asked if I wanted self-ligating brackets, and when I saw the difference in size between the older brackets with ligatures and the self-ligating brackets, I chose the older style.

The hostess with the braces has self-ligating brackets and the waitress filling in for me has the older style. After comparing the two styles, I chose the older style because of the look. My friends in school had them and they are what I grew up seeing.

It doesn’t take him long to fit the archwires, and he already knew I wanted grey ligatures to start. He shows me a piece of the archwire and bends it in a loop as he tells me I shouldn’t feel much pressure until he changes it at my next appointment. After giving me instructions on how to brush and take care of my teeth, he gives me a goodie bag with supplies to get me started.

I stop at my apartment and take a good look at my teeth. Having three mirrored doors makes it easy to see into my mouth and check out the expander screwed into my palate. I have another appointment on Wednesday for him to check for infection from the screws and start turning the expander.

My friends all want to see my new smile when I return to the restaurant, and several customers come over and take a look too. I’m the center of attention for the rest of the day, and a few male customers give me a tip as they leave the restaurant.

My boyfriend gives me a call in the evening and tells me how his flight was. I let him do most of the talking, adding short comments when I have to. The expander is giving me a slight lisp, and it has decreased as I have talked in the restaurant all day.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #23 on: 21. January 2023, 10:40:57 AM »
Chapter 6

My teeth are a little sore when I wake up Tuesday morning, but not as bad as I was expecting. It’s going to take me some time to get used to my new smile. My lips feel puffy and they catch on the edges of the brackets when I open my mouth, but the biggest thing is seeing the metal on my teeth when I look in the mirror.

I skip breakfast and keep a glass of chocolate milk underneath my hostess station. The regular customers comment on my new look, many of them saying they like it. Lunch is from the braces-friendly menu, and I am grateful that we have it.

My boyfriend calls me in the evening and asks if I want to video-chat, but I tell him I don’t feel like it right now. We talk on the phone for a while, mostly about how he is doing straightening out the new office.

Wednesday morning is my checkup and the first time my expander is turned. He explains that he is going to start my expansion slowly and shows me how to turn the screws to move it. He has me turn it one way, then has me turn it back to reduce the pressure and turn it to increase the pressure again. Lunch is from the braces-friendly menu again.

I create a sensation when I arrive with the food for the investors meeting. A few good-natured jokes are made about my braces, mostly by the guys. The women are more subtle with how they react to me having braces. I ask them not to say anything to my boyfriend until I tell or show him what I have done.

I can't keep putting off video chatting with my boyfriend forever, but I delay it for one more day. I feel some pressure on my upper palate, but it isn't bad. I talk about what was discussed in the investor's meeting before wishing him goodnight and going to bed.

Friday evening he calls to tell me he has done all he can do at the new office for now and is flying home Saturday morning. He gives me his flight details before telling me goodnight. I’ve managed to make excuses each night for not video-chatting with him, and he hasn’t pried into why.

Saturday afternoon I drive out to the airport to meet his plane. I’ve been debating with myself whether I want him to see my new look for the first time in a public place or not, finally deciding that I don’t want to wait.

I watch as his plane lands, then hurry to the arrivals area to meet him. I keep my lips over my teeth, smiling as he walks past the barriers and sees me waiting. It isn’t until I am in his arms and he is hugging me that I whisper into his ear, “I have a surprise for you, and I hope you like it.”

I pull away from him slightly, creating enough space so he can see my mouth clearly and smile at him with my braces showing between my lips. He pulls me against his body, and I get my first kiss with my new braces. It's just a brief kiss, but there is plenty of meaning, and tongue, in it.

We stop by the handicapped washroom on our way to pick up his bags, and his bags are the only ones still on the carousel when we arrive. Now I know how the older waitress felt after her appointment to get her braces.

We leave his car in long-term parking for one more day and take my car to my apartment.

He apologizes in the morning for breaking the boundaries that I have set for our relationship, but there was no way that he was going to go to his place last night. After how he treated me last night, I’m not going to hold it against him, though I am going to hold my body against his some more today. It’s a good thing I work in a restaurant, because I’m not going to be cooking much today.

I did find out a few things last night. When we got back to my apartment and had spent some time kissing, he mumbled something about me having a perfect smile now. It took a while, but I finally coaxed it out of him that he has a thing for women in braces. We had THE talk, and between many bouts of extending kissing, he admitted that he wouldn’t mind if I missed a few adjustment appointments and possibly delayed my treatment a little. With the way he treated me last night, I am giving it some serious consideration, especially when he showed me a picture of the ring he is having made for me.

He shows up early for the Wednesday investor’s meeting, and we engage in some heavy kissing. It must show, because the women smile at me, and I catch a few guys giving him the thumbs up when they think I’m not watching. It takes a while before the meeting gets underway after the meal, and at the top of the list is the new restaurant.

They still haven’t come up with a theme for the new restaurant and several names have been proposed, none of them meeting with any success. I’m still feeling the effects of the last kiss I received and feeling a little silly, so I say, “How about we call it ‘Sparkles’? We could have a few waitresses wearing braces, and I would fit right in with my new smile.”

The room goes silent and they all look at me. My smile begins to slip, and then the orthodontist says, “That’s not a bad idea. We already have a few waitresses with braces and our menu has a few meals that would fit in with the theme.”

A vote is taken and my suggestion is given approval for further study.

At the next investor's meeting, the name ‘Sparkles’ is tentatively approved for the new restaurant and ideas are tossed around about to create the atmosphere to go with the braces theme. Some of them are funny, some are impractical and some are ridiculous, but I suggest having some of the staff wear scrubs like in the orthodontist's office, and have the waitresses with braces dress like patients. Once again, my suggestions are put to a vote, and approved for further study.

After the meeting, my boyfriend escorts me back to my apartment, locks the door behind us and carries me into my bedroom. We are both late for work in the morning.

Offline braces37

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #24 on: 22. January 2023, 10:05:55 AM »
This is a really interesting concept. I always like multiple POV stories, and this is a good take on it.

Offline bugbathe43

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #25 on: 22. January 2023, 23:32:43 PM »
Very good!!

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles - The Cheerleader
« Reply #26 on: 22. January 2023, 23:44:24 PM »
Chapter 7

It takes a while, but the architectural drawings for the floor plan for the new restaurant are finalized. The new kitchen fixtures have been ordered and all the permits are approved. The staff in the restaurant all want to know what is going on, but I’ve been asked to say as little as possible for the time being. I tell them that they are not going to lose their jobs, and that nothing is going to change for quite a while yet, and leave it at that.

Since it was my idea, I’ve been given the responsibility of designing new uniforms for the staff. The first designs I come up with don’t meet with the approval of the staff in the restaurant, so I hold a staff meeting in the board room upstairs and we discuss ideas, coming up with better fitting scrubs for the kitchen staff. We do a test of the new uniforms in the kitchen. The better fit is partially a safety issue in the kitchen, but they like the way the new uniforms look.

After seeing the new uniforms on the kitchen staff, the waitresses come up with a few ideas for the staff working on the floor. The final design is similar to the kitchen uniform, but to distinguish them from the kitchen staff, they add lace in a few strategic spots and trim to make them more visually appealing. The plan was to wait for 'Sparkles' to open before starting to use the new uniforms, but the waitresses didn't want to wait that long and insisted that they be able to 'test run them to get a feel of how they will work'.

Something else we are doing is creating a set of greetings to use when people come to the new restaurant. We are using the phrase ‘appointments’ rather than reservations, and are working on ways to use the orthodontic theme throughout the restaurant. Even though I didn’t think of it, I have been given credit for the suggestion to have an ‘assistant’ outside the bathrooms to hand out toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss to anyone who wants them.

I’ve found a seamstress to make our uniforms. She said she can make them for us cheaper than if we buy premade scrubs and she has to alter them, especially the waitress's uniforms. The company was going to offer to rent her space on the second floor to have a shop, but after talking to her, I suggested they renovate one of the empty apartments on the third floor and have her on-site. I find living so close to work is so convenient and I can get more work done than if I have to run back and forth all the time. If there is a problem in the restaurant requiring my attention, I can deal with it in no time and be home again in minutes. Even though she is technically a contractor, she is still considered an employee of the company and is entitled to the same benefits everyone else is.

While they renovated the apartment for the seamstress, they did a second one for me, creating an office for me to use and adding a second bedroom. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend had something to do with the floor plan for my new apartment, but he won’t admit to it. Whether he did or not, he has been suitably compensated for the new apartment. My furniture has been moved in and a bed added to the second bedroom and we broke it in suitably with an extended session of kissing. I haven’t formally said that it is his bedroom, but we both know that it is. The clothes that have been slowly accumulating at my place have been put away in the closet and dresser.

We went to pick up my new ring, and he made a change to the design. When he points out the change to me, it takes me a while to stop laughing. The settings holding the stones look like orthodontic brackets and rings of lighter gold look like ligatures holding the stones in place. The engraving on the band is a string of brackets on an archwire. The stones are only semi-precious, but that doesn’t matter to me.

All the waitresses have been waiting to see it and I can’t wait to see if any of them spot the unique features on the ring.

As the new restaurant takes shape, I spend less time in the old restaurant and more time interviewing for new staff. Besides the two former waitresses with braces I trained to be hostesses, I have hired another woman to train to work as a hostess. Once she is trained and has worked for a while, she will be able to take advantage of the benefits package, and the other hostesses have mentioned what is in the package. She seems receptive to the idea of getting braces and has what my boyfriend refers to as a nearly perfect smile.

There are four levels to the interview process. The first level is meeting me to pick up an application. It has to be done in person, and I reject the applicants that don’t fit the look we want. Some I politely tell that they probably won’t be called for an interview even if they fill out the application, while others just have their application filed in the square cabinet behind my desk. It may sound cruel, but I use my boyfriend's definition of a nearly perfect smile as one of the hiring criteria.

The people I think have the right look begin their interview when they return their application. Those people who make it past my interview are referred to my boss, the head chef, for a second interview. He rejects some of those, before referring the successful applicants to the orthodontist for an orthodontic exam and the final selection.

The whole building has been wired for high-speed internet with wifi. My boyfriend insisted on it, and I know it is because he wants to be able to contact me whenever he wants to video-chat with me. He bought me a top-of-the-line cell phone and a new laptop for my office. We’ve been having fun testing it out all week. He’s going on another trip soon and we want to see each other whenever we want.

The sign for the new restaurant went up on the building, and even though it isn’t open yet, the hostesses have started using the new greeting when guests arrive at the old restaurant. The current restaurant staff have been asked if they want to work at ‘Sparkles’ and understand they will have to wear some form of orthodontic appliance when they do. The orthodontist has been busy doing exams on those that have asked to transfer to the new restaurant and the seamstress has a long list of uniforms to make.

Probably the biggest change for me is that I am now a voting member of the company. At the last investor's meeting, everyone agreed to give me a voting share in the company as a bonus for all the work I have been doing. I’m not rich by any means, because the vote is more valuable than the share if I was to sell it.

The books show the building is supporting itself, but just barely. My boyfriend tells me it is that way on purpose. There is a complicated system in place to keep money flowing through the company to finance all the renovations and put money back in the pockets of the investors. It seems that my braces are now completely paid for without me having to pay for them from my bank account.

My boyfriend went with me to my appointment to have my bottom expander fitted and we explained to the orthodontist how we wanted to prolong my treatment a bit. He agreed to do it for the parts that could be slowed down, the expanders being the one area he can’t slow down. With the bones in my palates separating as they are supposed to, he wants them to move to where he wants at a controlled pace.

Each time my expanders need to be turned, my boyfriend does it for me. I have a cute gap between my top front teeth and he likes to run his tongue over it when we kiss. I’ve asked the orthodontist to leave it for a while, and I noticed a small gap developing on the bottom as well. My boyfriend loves how my teeth look and tells me I have a perfect smile at least once a day.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #27 on: 01. February 2023, 20:13:22 PM »
Chapter 3

Quite a bit of research is done as the plans are put together. The braces-friendly menu is expanded to include a daytime and an evening menu in the restaurant, with one day a week highlighting the new menu and giving a modest discount to every customer who fills out a detailed survey about their braces-friendly meal.

At her suggestion, our former cheerleader has a few prototype uniforms designed for herself and begins to wear them at work to get an idea of how they will function in the restaurant. The idea is to have a uniform for the waiters and waitresses that looks as if it is from an orthodontist's office to stay with the theme of the restaurant. The first few uniforms are too generic looking and the staff rejects them. She has a friend with a sewing machine and asks her to make a few changes to improve them, and when she returns to work with a figure-hugging set of scrubs modified with a little strategically-placed lace, the female staff asks to be able to wear it occasionally before ‘Sparkles’ opened.

Keeping with the orthodontic theme, a reservation system is set up for ‘Sparkles’, calling them ‘appointments’ with the idea to give priority to anyone that books ahead. Anyone that arrives without an appointment will be put on a waiting list and requested to book an appointment next time. Even if the restaurant wasn’t full, there is going to be a fifteen-minute wait for a table. The layout of the restaurant comes together, with a portion of it dedicated to a more intimate setting for up to four people in semi-private rooms, and a larger area designed to be reconfigured for large groups of people.

The kitchen layout receives a lot of attention. It is designed to be large enough to serve twice as many meals as the new restaurant will have tables and do it efficiently. The plan is to expand to have a take-out service in the future. Even the bathrooms are designed with an orthodontic theme, having an assistant at the entrance to hand out toothbrushes, floss and mouthwash to any ‘patient’ that requests them.

Before ‘Sparkles’ is ready to open, the staff in the restaurant begin using a few of the scripted greetings, and a few part-time staff are hired, most of them younger people. It is no surprise that many of them have an orthodontic appliance of some type.

The look of the original restaurant gradually changes, with a few orthodontic-themed accents replacing the old decor. The most noticeable is at the hostess station, where an overhead spotlight on an adjustable arm replaces the lamp on the desk, giving it the look found while laying in an orthodontist's chair.

As more of the original tenants move out, the space is stripped bare and the wiring and plumbing are replaced with new materials, and new walls are put in place. After the last tenant moves out of the second floor and the renovation company moves into their office and the office for ‘The Company’ is finished, the orthodontist moves into his new office and the rest of the floor is left as open space.

The orthodontist takes advantage of the open space and puts a few couches and tables beside his office and encourages his patients and the staff in the building to use the area as recreational space. The restaurant sets up a walk-up coffee and soup and sandwich stand.

Near the top of the stairs to the second floor is a space where the stairs curve. The guys found out it is a good place to watch the women going upstairs to the orthodontist's office and Sparkles Cafe, and moved a few comfortable chairs into the space. The women caught on to what was going on and it became a game for them to walk close enough to the railing to give the guys a glimpse up their skirts and dresses without revealing more than they want. Some of them deliberately walk right by the railing. For some of the guys, the metallic smiles the ladies give them were more thrilling than the other view.

The third floor has lower ceilings and the area is renovated with new apartments. Following the pattern on the second floor, the third floor is slowly renovated and new apartments are put in place. One of the largest investors has an apartment built for his personal use and moves the Hostess into it. It makes sense to have her living upstairs from the restaurant with all the work she is doing.

When she finds how convenient it is to be so close to work, she suggests the same thing be done for the seamstress. With empty space to work with, a showroom with a comfortable changing room and a large space for her to work in is built and she moves in too. A few couches and tables are purchased by ‘The Company’ and a second recreation area is created just for the tenants of the building. The seamstress and the hostess use it as a convenient place to hold meetings.

I’m thrilled by the arrival of the new kitchen equipment. The staff in the restaurant is encouraged to check out the layout and make suggestions to improve efficiency, with some changes made based on their suggestions. The restaurant staff are thrilled when all of the large pieces are in place and the new kitchen is ready for use.

The old kitchen is removed during the night when the restaurant is closed and prototypes of the booths for the new restaurant are built to test the layout before they are used in the new restaurant. The new booths are by reservation only and give us a chance to test out the reservation program. Feedback from our customers is encouraged and a few changes are made. The semi-private room is a big success and is booked solid well in advance.

With so much happening in the building, the staff give nicknames to a few of the public areas. The area on the second floor becomes ‘Sparkles Cafe’ and the restaurant is called ‘Sparkles Daytime’. The names catch on with the customers and neon signs are put up to make it official.

The idea to have a standard uniform for the staff is quietly vetoed by them, and a dress code is put in place instead, allowing them to express their individual tastes instead. Surprisingly, it’s the older staff that cause the most sensation. The Hostess and the Seamstress get together with Charlene and come up with a 60s-style uniform with a modern twist. The three of them show up at the Wednesday investor's meeting wearing dresses with a short hemline and quite a bit of cleavage, and pictures to prove that the uniform is a very close match to what was worn back then.

Charlene has the more sedate dress and is wearing low-heeled shoes. The Hostess has a blouse and skirt combination suitable for her job and pairs it with heels that are just a bit too tall to be practical for daily wear in the restaurant, but it makes the point that the waitresses should be able to express themselves with the way they dress and still represent the restaurant respectably. The Seamstress is wearing the shortest dress and on her short body and long legs with tall platform heels, it is more suited for a gentleman’s club than a restaurant. She has a hard time suppressing the big smile on her face as she walks around the room, serving the people seated at the table.

After everyone has a chance to examine the outfits and relax after the meal, the three of them present their opinion on what should and shouldn’t be in the dress code. The Seamstress explains that her uniform is not meant to be worn in the restaurant and she made it just for the fun of it. By allowing the employees to have a say in the design of their uniform, the company could create a better working atmosphere, and the variety in the designs could be an advertising point in the ad campaign. All three outfits are in the proposed colours for the restaurant.

Both Charlene and the Hostess have their braces showing and their ligatures are in the company colours. The Seamstress has a heavy-wired retainer showing in her smile, carrying on the theme of the restaurant. There’s a small group gathered over to the side and they keep looking at the Seamstress and grinning as they whisper amongst themselves.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles
« Reply #28 on: 03. February 2023, 21:41:50 PM »
There are going to be some discrepancies between the timelines and events in the stories. Some of them are deliberate, some not. If you feel that any of them need to be fixed, let me know and I will take a look at them.

Keep in mind that each story is from a different character's point of view and not all events happened quite the way they seemed to.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: A new story - Sparkles - The Seamstress
« Reply #29 on: 03. February 2023, 22:19:45 PM »
Sparkles - The Seamstress

By Braceface2015

Chapter 1

It’s been a while since my friend and I have talked to each other. For the last while it has been emails and social media, which isn’t talking, it’s just letting each other know we are still alive and have somewhat of a social life.

I am caught by surprise when she calls me up and says she has a ‘project’ for me. All my friends know that ‘project’ is code for me getting into trouble and I might be calling them for help. Her use of the code word gets me excited and right away I want to know what we are doing. Rather than tell me, she asks if she can come over and talk to me face-to-face.

When I tell her I am living in my parent's basement again, she laughs and asks me what I did this time. I have a reputation for getting into trouble and my parent’s bailing me out, and one time that was quite literally what they did. This time it was just that I needed a place to live for a while until I could find a place I could afford to rent.

Growing up, my grandmother taught me how to sew, and as I got older she taught me everything she knew. It started with sewing clothes for my dolls and stuffed bears, and by the time I was in middle school, I was sewing clothes for myself. That is when the trouble started. I was young and had big dreams of being a famous fashion designer. My idea of what I should be wearing differed from what my teachers considered appropriate for at school, and we often clashed.

The principal’s secretary and I got to know each other really well while I sat waiting to talk to him, and she negotiated a compromise to my outfits I wasn’t happy with, but it kept me out of his office, at least most of the time. My designs didn’t change, it just meant I wore outfits at school that drew less attention from the teachers.

My friends all liked the ideas I had, and one Halloween a couple of the cheerleaders asked me to make their costumes for the Halloween dance. I copied their uniforms, just with some changes. The skirts were too short, the tops were too tight and showed too much skin, and at my suggestion, fishnet stockings and overly high heels completed the costumes. When I showed up at the dance with them, wearing a matching costume, our parents became involved.

By senior high, Halloween became my favourite time of year, and I always had a waiting list of friends wanting me to make them costumes. I didn't make any money creating the costumes, but I had fun doing it. They paid for the material and I did the work. I'm probably the only girl in our school to have players from both the male and female football, hockey, volleyball, baseball and basketball teams in my bedroom without developing a bad reputation. It's not that things didn't happen, they just knew better than to talk about it.

I spent much of my free time the year I graduated making grad dresses for the girls. For the first time in my life, I made money from my hobby, and my dreams of being a famous fashion designer seemed to get closer to being a reality.

My dreams took a hit when I tried to find a job working with clothes. Nobody wanted to hire a girl with no resume, an attitude and a reputation for getting in trouble. I finally managed to get a job in a discount clothing store doing alterations. It didn’t take me long to get tired of trying to fit size twelve women into size ten dresses while listening to them complain about them being sold too big a dress. I knew they’d be coming back for repairs the first time they tried to get the dress on without the girdle they were wearing.

When my friend shows up wearing scrubs, I begin to laugh, and I am rolling on the floor by the time she finishes telling me what she wants to do. When I say, "strip," she slips out of the scrubs. She's well aware of how I work and is dressed for it. I start by taking all of her measurements and marking them on a chart. Then I take apart the seams on the scrubs and alter them to match her contours better. While I am working, we talk about the cheerleader costume I made for her and the trouble we got into for it.

She was several years ahead of me in school and graduated before I did. Her figure has matured a bit since then, but her smile hasn’t changed at all. It is still off-kilter, but she doesn’t seem bothered by it. My smile slips and my lips cover my misaligned teeth as she puts on the altered scrubs. Before she has a chance to ask what is wrong, I say, “I did what you asked me to do, but I don’t like how it looks. They are still scrubs and have no flair, no appeal to them at all. They are boring to look at. I am capable of much better work than this mess.”

Her smile gets bigger as she pulls a bottle of wine from her bag and another pair of scrubs. “So, show me what you can do if I let you do what you want. I said I had a ‘project’ for you and I meant it.”

I look at the scrubs then get a corkscrew for the wine bottle. We sit and sip the wine as I tell her what I want to do. Then I say, "It would be much easier if I just started from scratch without having to alter the scrubs, and I can probably do it for less than you paid for them. If you pay for the material and give me a week, I'll give you a uniform you'll be happy to wear."

I didn't think her smile could get any bigger, but it did. "I knew I could count on you. Save all your receipts and you'll get paid for everything."