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Author Topic: Story: Beth and Friends  (Read 13161 times)

Offline chrisbrace

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Story: Beth and Friends
« on: 31. January 2023, 21:29:36 PM »
Chapter One

 
“How was it?” Jess called through the small house as soon as she’d heard the key turn in the lock.

“Awful!” came Beth’s assessment of that night’s speed-dating event at the student bar in town. “It’s the same old losers turning up to those nights every time. Oh well… I guess I’m just one of them now.”

Jess laughed and pretended she didn’t agree. “Why? What was so repellent about all the eligible young men in this town?”, she enquired, only gently teasing her housemate.

“Oh, the usual”, Beth groaned, “if they’re not boring me comatose about the size of their motorbike, trust fund or capacity for beer, they’re either staring at my teeth, or else avoiding looking at me completely. Honestly, I feel like giving up on guys. All I’m asking for is a little job and a nice boyfriend.”

“Yeah, preferably in that order”, Jess cut in. “Rent’s due on Friday”.

True enough, the two 19-year-olds were only just managing to pay the rent on their cute little townhouse and really didn’t like the alternative of moving back into the hubbub of mass student accommodation.

“Seriously though, you’ll meet a nice boy if you really want to and look hard enough. If not at those crummy date nights, then somewhere else. In the meantime, you’re stuck here with me and my awful cooking!”

Right on cue, Jess was summoned to the kitchen by the bleeping of the timer and brought out hot pizza from the oven. Beth pulled her boots from her aching feet, poured two glasses of Chianti and sank into the corner of the sofa. Jess came to join her bearing gifts of pizzas, and the two girls pulled the curtains closed, picked out a tragically bad romantic comedy and settled into the night.

As Jess devoured her share of the pizza, Beth laboured over hers until most of it had gone cold before she’d finished it. Small morels were torn in her fingers from each slice, which Beth guided through her front teeth towards the few molars at the back of her mouth which actually touched. She’d always known she’d grown up with ‘funny teeth’ but in the two years since the accident, she’d found it harder and harder to even enjoy eating a pizza.

“And they all lived happily ever after”, Beth mocked as the film credits rolled up the screen. She feigned a vomiting reaction to the gooey ending to their evening’s entertainment, earning a roar of laughter from Jess.

“Leave the pots” Jess told Beth. “Jack will be home at twelve and he owes me a favour.”

“Where do I get one of those boyfriends that does the washing up?” Beth asked. “Where am I going to find a boy like me?”

“Dentist’s waiting room?” Jess shot back with a cheeky wink, and ducked to avoid the plastic eggcup spinning through the air towards her.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #1 on: 01. February 2023, 01:01:14 AM »
Nice start!

And welcome to the world of writing braces stories!

Offline radian

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #2 on: 01. February 2023, 11:13:36 AM »
Good start ! I'm curious of the following...

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #3 on: 01. February 2023, 11:38:23 AM »
Very nice start! Can't wait to see more from you here!

Offline bracessd

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #4 on: 01. February 2023, 17:37:25 PM »
Nice start!

Offline braces37

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #5 on: 02. February 2023, 08:01:52 AM »
This looks good. You've got a nice slice-of-life thing going on, that's something we need more of around here.

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #6 on: 03. February 2023, 00:44:17 AM »
Thanks for the encouraging comments! I’m working on a plan for this story so I can commit to progressing it whenever I can  :)

Offline TrainTrack

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #7 on: 03. February 2023, 02:03:17 AM »
Thanks for the encouraging comments! I’m working on a plan for this story so I can commit to progressing it whenever I can  :)

That’s a very good idea. I didn’t and ended up working myself into a hole which made me realize that a little extra work creates a better story.

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #8 on: 05. February 2023, 12:15:50 PM »
Happy weekend, everyone. I hope you like the next chapter.


Chapter Two
 
“So get it dealt with, Bethany!”

The exasperation in Beth’s mother’s voice was a surprise but the message was the same old story. Every time she went to her parents’ for dinner, it seemed to be chicken wings, thick-cut rump steaks or some other thing she found ridiculously impossible to eat, at least in front of other people. And true to form, Beth would complain about the food and at once feel at fault for allowing herself to be mired in such an awkward situation.

“And how’s that boyfriend search coming along, Bethany? And what about a nice little job? Had any interviews? Any leads at all? Anything…?”. Andrea seemed determined to get an answer of some kind from her daughter that evening.

Beth took a long gulp of the fine Burgundy in her glass and allowed her body to sink into the chair, and her head to sink into her hands. She knew that despite being a little overbearing, her mother cared deeply for her and only struggled to express herself.

The truth was she was utterly tired of a handful of other people telling her she should have had her teeth fixed years ago, or at least get on with doing it now. The reasons she hadn’t were her own, and none of anyone else’s concern. Quite simply, after what seemed like an entire childhood of hospital appointments, operations, uncomfortable procedures and of course, teasing from other schoolchildren, Beth reached her early-teens quite unwilling to embark on yet another programme of the same just to fix a few teeth too close to one another. Fair enough, she thought, but the accident changed soon that, and then things got a lot worse.

Her experience was hardly the stuff of nightmares, but had certainly led to challenges growing up. A club foot diagnosed even before birth should have been an easy fix but its stubborn reluctance to regain its proper form, some would say in perfect parallel to its owner, necessitated years of unpleasant treatment. It then seemed to her that the diagnosis of a rapidly worsening scoliotic curve in her spine, and the resulting surgery, waited patiently until the time Beth’s foot was mended to deliberately prolong her misery.

Finally, came the event on the cricket field having just turned 16 which eventually led Beth to her current situation of noisily masticating the final life out of a dry-aged sirloin. She’d only turned her head for a second but the ball seemed to come out of thin air. The first she saw of it was on the ground lying beside her head after thumping into the side of her face and knocking her easily to the floor. The pain exploded in her jaw and she knew straight away to be afraid of a serious fracture. The good news from the hospital was that whilst there was a small break, they were confident enough in its stability to give Beth a choice in how to proceed. The bad news was that her choice turned out to be the worst decision of her life.

Essentially, it was a coin toss between surgery to screw a plate around the fracture site, which terrified Beth, even after enduring multiple operations in her life so far. The alternative was to fit metal bars which could be used to wire Beth’s jaw closed for a few weeks, whilst the break healed itself. The decision was an easy one for Beth, and a soup diet for a month seemed a small price to pay to avoid having even more steel hardware permanently screwed into her body. Unfortunately for Beth, the impact of the cricket ball had disrupted the growth pattern of her jaws at a crucial phase of her teenage skeletal development and resulted in the development of her underbite by the time she’d reached 17. That, combined with the entirely unexpected pain of removing her fixing bars and wires had led her to her current situation, aged 19, of desperately wanting to improve her teeth but first needing to conquer her inner fears of doing so.

She began to contemplate her mood and the well-worn phrase ‘sick to the back teeth’, and the cruel relevance of it amused her enough to shake her from her introspective state.

“You know it wouldn’t cost anything?”, Andrea went on. “Insurance would cover everything, now I’ve been made partner at the firm. Do think about it, love.”

Little did her mother know that, at first occasionally but now increasingly often, Beth had given serious thought to having an orthodontic assessment, and she now began to wonder if now was the right time in her life to commit to treatment. A week of research commenced, and Beth was struck by one private practice in particular. Their website had lots of ‘before and afters’ which was always the thing Beth liked to study. Interestingly, there were no photos of the patients in the middle of their treatment, but she guessed that if everyone was half as nervous as her, that would easily explain that. She did notice that the final results were all spectacularly perfect; clearly the work of someone who doesn’t settle for nearly-there, thought Beth. They were clearly used to working miracles on some pretty complex cases, even though the people in the final pictures looked several years older than in their ‘before’ shot.

“Oh well”, thought Beth, I guess they take photos at one and two-year follow-up appointments so that’ll be why.
Her hand trembled with nervous excitement as she dialled the number.

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #9 on: 13. February 2023, 17:31:43 PM »
Chapter Three


Beth had been fizzing with nervous excitement for days before her first appointment, but was determined to act cool when it finally came, two weeks after her phone call. Beth drove herself to the orthodontist’s office, which was small, and in a suburban town twenty minutes away from her student house. Inside the building, the décor was minimal and modern, but warmly coloured, and there was a small empty waiting room alongside the reception desk.

Two pretty girls sat behind the desk and welcomed Beth so warmly it was as if they were already friends. Despite their equally matched friendliness and even mannerisms whilst taking Beth’s details and showing her to a chair to wait, they were so different in appearance.

Holly, as her name badge identified her, sat on the left and was smartly dressed in a fitted blouse and black jacket. She had shoulder length blonde hair, and most strikingly when she smiled, Beth couldn’t help but see her thick wire retainers on both sets of perfectly straight and white teeth. Her workmate was Lexi, who sported a short-sleeved tartan shirt, revealing several tattoos on both arms which perfectly complemented her two nose rings and a shock of short, spiky red hair. To complete the contrast to the girl sitting beside her, Lexi had quite noticeably prominent front teeth which pushed her top lips outwards and gave her a slight lisp when she had asked Beth to “take a seat and sign the papers”.

When Beth had completed all her details, Holly came over to collect her forms. She smiled widely at Beth, really showing off her retainers and Beth caught herself looking at them for perhaps a moment too long. She got a little flustered and spluttered out her words; “Er… so you’ve had just braces have you?”

“Oh not really”, Holly willingly replied, “I got mine off at the end of school. But after five years of treatment, I’m not taking any chances, so I like to wear these just now and then to be certain”.

“Wow – five years! I never heard of anyone back in school wearing them for so long”, Beth said.

“Well, I guess you could say my orthodontist was something of a strict perfectionist”, Holly admitted. “I’m just glad I went through all that back then, unlike my sister. You’ve always been the rebel though, Lex, am I right or am I right?”, she called over to the punky girl on the front desk.

Beth stared back at her, and then at Lexi, who was giving a playful shrug of her shoulders. Their relationship was obvious now, but she’d obviously missed the underlying resemblance.

“Yep”, chimed in Lexi, “if they gave out awards for the least alike identical twins, we’d be first in line!”

Whilst Holly returned the paperwork to the office, a door opened from down the corridor and Beth heard the approach of people. A boy who looked to be a mid-teenager glumly walked past with an older woman. Beth instinctively looked up to see his teeth but it seemed he was keeping his mouth firmly shut. Exactly how, she wasn’t quite sure as his lips and cheeks were all puffed up by some enormous bulk that he had in his mouth. Her nervous excitement was quite quickly drained of its excitement, and she looked away quickly.

Beth didn’t have time to dwell on her fears, as she was approached by a tall, slim woman of about 30, wearing smart dental scrubs.

“Hi, good morning, Beth! I’m Hannah, the dental assistant here. Come through and meet Dr. Kate, and we can get started.”

Offline ortho218

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #10 on: 17. February 2023, 17:09:56 PM »
I like this, great writing style. Excited to hear more!

Offline kelly-Marie

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #11 on: 17. February 2023, 17:28:34 PM »
I also like this story you have made a good start am excited for more chapters

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #12 on: 03. March 2023, 17:04:23 PM »
Whoops - time flies! Thanks for the feedback as always.

Chapter Four

Hannah led me down the corridor and into a treatment room on the left. The room was light, spacious, and private with just one chair, not like those bustling open-plan clinics Beth had seen on American Youtube channels. There was light classical music playing in the background – Rachmaninoff she thought it might be.

A second woman in scrubs had her back to door as she arranged trays of various implements on the sideboard. She quickly turned and greeted Beth warmly.

“Welcome, Beth. It’s wonderful to have you here. I’m Dr. Kate and it’ll be mine and Hannah’s pleasure to look after you. I guess you already met the twins?”

“Yes, thank you. It took me a while to realise they were actually twins, I must say”, explained Beth.

“I know! At least they’re easy to tell apart now. And of course, it’s so convenient for me having my own daughters work with me.”

“Wait… the girls are your daughters?”, Beth asked, stunned that she’d missed that genetic resemblance too.

“That’s right”, Dr. Kate continued. “Lexi’s is here full time. She’s our little rebel, and I like to keep my eye on her”, she said, jokingly. “And Holly just pops in when she has time between other jobs. They recently turned 21 so Holly at least is back off to university to do her Masters quite soon. Anyway, enough about me. Let’s have a look at you, Beth. Hop up and get yourself comfortable in the chair, and Hannah will prepare you for the exam”.

Beth settled herself into the chair and Hannah reclined it towards her. Hannah started with a thorough clean of Beth’s teeth, and there followed an hour of Dr. Kate’s examinations. She physically examined Beth’s mouth, took a series of X-Rays, and then photographs with Hannah stretching Beth’s lips and cheeks using metal retractors. Finally, impression trays were filled with alginate, which Hannah guided between Beth’s lips and pushed hard against her top and bottom teeth. All this time, Dr. Kate didn’t say a lot but wrote pages of notes and made a lot of barely audible tutting noises which Beth found particularly unsettling.

“OK, Beth”, she finally said, as she sat by the treatment chair and removed her mask. “There’s a quite a lot going on in there, and some of it quite difficult to deal with. Luckily that’s what I do best.” Dr. Kate reeled off her overwhelming list of observations.

“Obviously your biggest issue is your underbite. That’s going to cause you endless problems later in life if we don’t fix that. You’ve ended up with an open bite too, and your molars are sitting a lot lower that your other teeth. You probably know your top jaw is too narrow for your teeth to sit straight but your lower arch is also a bad shape. And all the crowding we can see in your front teeth is really just a result of all that other stuff.”

“Now normally, I’d be referring you straight for surgery, but I see from your forms that you don’t want that, is that right?”

“Er, yeah”, Beth replied timidly, quickly worried about what she’d got herself in to. “No surgery please”.

“Alright, I’m sure I’ll think of something”, continued Dr. Kate, more reassuringly. “But you have to know there are no quick fixes for issues like yours. And I need commitment from you to make it work, and to keep up my perfect results record.”

Beth’s mind darted back to her conversation with Holly, and she couldn’t help herself asking the obvious question. “Dr. Kate? Where did Holly get her braces treatment?”

Dr. Kate looked like it was a strange question to ask, and I guess to her it was. “I did it myself, obviously”, she answered with a confused tone. “But Holly did exactly as she was told, of course.”

She continued, quickly changing the subject back to Beth: “I need to work out your treatment plan, Beth. I don’t feel you have a lot of options here, so I suggest you make your next appointment with the girls for three weeks’ time, and we just get on with it. I think there’s something we can try that isn’t too invasive.”

Beth nodded, meekly. “And what if it doesn’t work?”, she asked, concerned.

“Don’t you worry”, said the doctor. “I always get my results!”

Offline radian

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #13 on: 03. March 2023, 18:24:14 PM »
I really like the last part. I can't wait to discover what will be the treatment plan !

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #14 on: 05. May 2023, 22:24:28 PM »
Chapter Five

For the next three weeks, Beth felt gripped in a whirlwind of anxious emotions. “Have I made the right choice?, Can I trust this woman?, Should I be bothering at all?”, and a hundred more questions rattled around her brain almost constantly. “How can I be dreading something yet still can’t wait for it to happen?!”, Beth contemplated.

For her part, Jess has been the perfect supportive friend, though even she felt uneasy on Beth’s behalf about the implied length and intensity of what her treatment might entail.
The date finally came, and Beth was back in the clinic checking in with Lexi for her appointment, having brought Jess for some friendly support during her session with Dr. Kate. They hadn’t waited long when Hannah came down to collect them.

“Hello again, Beth”, Dr. Kate greeted her warmly. “Are you ready to change your life?”

“As long as it’s for the better!”, Beth replied, and earned a weak smile from Kate in return.

“So get yourself comfortable in the chair please, Beth, and we’ll make a start. Actually, today’s appointment will be pretty quick. We just have to check the fit of your removable appliance and you’ll be good to go”.

Beth’s sense of relief was immediate, as she quickly wondered what she’d ever worried about. A removable brace to wear whenever she liked sounded ideal, one of those little wire things most probably, she told herself in her head. But as Jess shuffled her chair over to be nearer to Beth, she caught sight of the hardware being assembled on the bench and gulped hard.

Dr. Kate and Hannah snapped on their latex gloves and started to have a good feel of Beth’s teeth to check for anything stuck in them. With her mouth wide open, Kate brought the first appliance in and snapped it hard around Beth’s bottom teeth. She immediately felt wires close tightly around her teeth, although she didn’t hate the sensation. Without Beth having a moment to move her tongue around, Dr. Kate came straight back with another piece of hardware and pushed it into place around Beth’s upper teeth.

Beth thought that one seemed to fit in much easier, which was probably why Kate removed it straight away. She used pliers to make a bend here, a twist there, before refitting the brace which this time went in with a loud snap, making Beth wince. As soon as Dr. Kate withdrew her fingers, Beth allowed her tongue to explore her mouth and her eyes widened in fear.

“I’ve fitted you with a pretty specialised appliance here, Beth”, Dr. Kate explained calmly. “This is a reverse twin-block and the two parts are designed to push your upper jaw forward every time you bite. It might feel a bit bulky at first but people quickly adapt. We’ve also had this made with three expansion screws in each half. These are going to make some room in your upper and lower arches by stretching your arches outwards and pushing your molars backwards.”

Beth could no longer focus on the words – the twin blocks were so thick that she couldn’t close her mouth at all, and she was terrified of speaking. She tried to say “This is a bit more than I expected”, but all that came out was noise, all muffled and spit-laden.

Kate continued: “Now I want you to use the key we’ll give you to turn those expansion screws once a week each. But if you can open up wide again, I’m going to give each one two turns now just to get things moving nicely.”

Beth, though feeling quite helpless, tried her best to keep her thoughts on her treatment being for the greater good, and opened her mouth wide. Kate leaned over and slotted the key into the first expander hole. As she moved around Beth’s braces completing all twelve turns, Beth felt the pressure build in her entire face until it seemed like her teeth were trying to break through her jaws.

“Alright, well done”, Kate said, “now just one last thing.”

Beth wondered how much worse it could get, and glanced up at Jess, who had subconsciously held her mouth tightly shut for the whole appointment lest Kate and Hannah noticed anything they thought needed fixing on her.

Kate brought over an imposing looking metal frame and went on explaining to Beth, “There’s not much evidence of adults getting good results from twin blocks, so we’re going to have to help things along a little. This is a facemask and it’s going to use heavier forces to pull your top teeth forward and reduce that underbite of yours.”

“Really? I can’t do that! I can’t wear one of those!”, Beth lisped through her twin blocks.

“I’m afraid the alternative is surgery or much other much more involved treatments”, Dr. Kate replied.

Beth nodded, resigned to the fact that she’d chosen what she’d thought was the easy option, and opened her mouth again.

“It’s quite simple”, Kate explained, as Hannah positioned the frame of the facemask on Beth’s forehead and chin. “Your upper twin block has hooks on the outside. We use strong elastic bands to fix the facemask to those hooks. You said you’re not working right now, right? Then I want you to be wearing this at least 18 hours a day. We’ve got to get those top teeth moving forward to avoid any other treatments being needed, and your cooperation is essential. Your twin blocks are important too, so even though they’re removable, that should just be for eating and brushing, so please keep them in for 23 hours every day. We will soon see if they’re not working for any reason.”

Hannah moved the chair up so Beth could sit upright. She went over to the mirror in the corner of the room to examine the extent of Dr. Kate’s work, and heavy tears rolled down her cheeks.

Jess led her friend out to make her next appointments with Lexi, who though alarmed at Beth’s collection of braces, was quick to make some sympathetic remarks and was very patient as Beth spluttered her way through the conversation to book appointment slots. As the girls left the office, Lexi smiled widely at them, showing Beth her oddly alluring overbite.