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Author Topic: Story: Beth and Friends  (Read 12598 times)

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #15 on: 05. May 2023, 23:12:50 PM »
Thank you for the great update.

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #16 on: 12. May 2023, 21:03:56 PM »
Chapter Six

For the next few days, Beth felt mired in her own misery, especially as she felt she’d brought it all on herself. Her teeth ached as she’d expected for the first 24 hours or so, but it was on the second day that the combination of all those expansion screw-turns delivered real pain as Beth’s teeth started to be pushed in all kinds of new directions. To her great credit, in the first week Beth had managed to keep her braces in for almost as long as Dr. Kate had asked for, even though it had meant that she had hardly left the little house in all that time. The facemask however had laid unused, and very unloved, on the dressing table save for a couple of hours one evening.

Jess took the approach of kindly support, with a steady supply of tea, soup and mushy food, but she knew that would have to develop into tough love if Beth was ever going to learn to live with her braces.

“Come on, you…”, Jess insisted on the next Saturday morning, “… we’re going out. There might even be lunch and a glass of wine in it for you!”

At first reluctantly, but soon with the realisation that the rest of world probably didn’t care about Beth’s face full of braces, she agreed to a walk in the nearby nature park, a pub lunch, and if she passed those tests, a supermarket shop too. She guided the pair of bulky acrylic structures into her mouth and pushed hard to snap-fit the mass of curled wires around her teeth. Her natural reactions to the braces kicked in straight away, and a choking mass of saliva collected at the back of Beth’s mouth, making her gag noisily.

The tranquillity of the rural outdoors was very welcome for Beth, and there were so few people about that a couple of awkward smiles was as embarrassing as human interaction got. She got to take her twin blocks out to eat in the pub too and she noticed that since it was almost a week since she’d had them fitted, they slid back over her teeth quite easily when the girls came to leave. The shopping trip earned her one or two long glances from the curious public but all in all she’d felt it was a successful day of confidence re-building.

That evening, whilst Jess cooked, Beth used her new resolve and went upstairs to fit on her facemask. A soft tear still gathered as she pulled her cheeks back to snap the heavy elastic bands on her twin block hooks, then stretched them tightly to loop over the horizontal bar of the facemask. The strength of the force was immediate, and as she stared at her own ridiculous image in the mirror, she allowed that tear to fully form and make its slow, damp journey down Beth’s face, tracing the shadow on her cheek cast by the metal bar she looked through.

Jess’s cooking and a bottle of Chablis as a treat helped restore some joy, and Beth made it through the rest of the evening in only minor discomfort and a new-found readiness to make the most of her treatment. After three fortifying glasses, she even let Jess help by turning the six expanders using the little key which Dr. Kate had given her. She even played along with Jess’s plan to play quiz games, just to be able to practice speaking and getting her dreadful lisp under control.

Although Beth was finding all her speech difficult, she was having major struggles with certain letters. The blocks between her teeth stopped her from forming an S sound properly, and not being able to move her tongue around freely meant every T, D and K was slurred and airy.

The next few weeks passed slowly, with Beth not yet finding the confidence to resume dating or interviewing for jobs, not long ago her two main life goals. She tried to keep up with Dr. Kate’s demands of filling her mouth with the twin blocks for 23 hours every day, and strapping on the monstrous facemask for 18 of those, but always seemed to fall short. Eventually, her check up appointment came, and Beth nervously drove over to the orthodontic clinic for a third time.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #17 on: 24. May 2023, 18:24:42 PM »
Great job!

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #18 on: 26. May 2023, 20:00:03 PM »
Chapter Seven

Beth went into the building to be greeted by both Lexi and Holly again. The girls both beamed welcomingly with their very different dentition being all the more striking; Holly with her gleaming teeth in perfect alignment, and Lexi with her crowded overbite forcing her front teeth forwards but, Beth thought, looking no less pretty than her sister. Beth managed an awkward smile in return, since she thought she’d better turn up to her appointment wearing at least her twin blocks, despite how lax she’d been at wearing them over the last week or two.

“I’m so sorry, they’re running a little late today”, Holly told Beth.

“Yeah, Mum had one poor victim in there for hours this morning!”, rebellious Lexi chimed in, adding a cheeky wink in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to reassure Beth that she was at least half-joking.

“Have a seat anyway, and I’ll bring you a drink while you wait”, Holly offered. Beth sat in the small waiting area and fidgeted restlessly in anticipation. Holly, being aware of her unease, brought hot tea and a glass of water and took a moment to sit beside Beth. Beth noticed for the first time as Holly moved from behind her desk how elegantly attractive she was, perhaps 5’9” tall and dressed in a summery floral jumpsuit with cute leather sandals.

“How are you finding it so far?”, Holly asked, though the answer was obvious. Beth simply sighed noisily and met Holly’s eye contact, unable to quite find the words to describe her simultaneous excitement at actually starting treatment and the miserable disappointment at how incredibly hard she was finding wearing the braces. Holly again seemed to read Beth’s feelings exactly.

“Even I found my treatment tough, and I’d grown up knowing Mum was a brilliant orthodontist”, Holly confided.

“Really? Did you have to wear anything as bad as these?”, Beth asked.

“Not exactly like that, but I had all sorts of appliances to sort my teeth out. Mum had tried to get us both to get fitted for braces when we were 9 or 10 but neither of us would do it. Finally, a few years later, Lex and I decided to do it together. I stuck it out until I was 17 but Lex only lasted 6 months!”

“Wow, it really worked though!”, Beth exclaimed. “What was it like?”

Holly went on: “The first one was a massive thing, all in this heavy red plastic with wires all over my top teeth which used to stick out all over the place. Mum called it a Bionator, I think. The idea was to get my bottom jaw to grow forwards and stop my front teeth getting any worse. I only had to keep it in at home and overnight but I remember how horrible it was to try and talk with it in, so I feel your pain with those blocks, Beth.”

“So that lasted a year or so, then I had an expander glued in on my top teeth for about the same time. That was pretty rough too, I must say, especially when I had to activate it and it started making little gaps all over my top teeth. Mum also had me wear a cervical headgear at night for a few months to keep pulling my top teeth back and fix my overbite. That was definitely the worst bit, but again it was just at night, though you can bet I never got a night off when I was at home!”

“Lastly, when that was all done, I got the usual fixed braces on by tops and bottoms. They were actually alright to live with, though I was always sore after check-ups and adjustments. To be honest, they straightened up my smile in a year and a half, but Mum being the perfectionist she is, didn’t want me to have them off until every last detail was perfect. That took about the same amount of time again, so I had them for just under three years in all! I’m grateful now of course, but it was a long slog at the time, especially being a teenage girl in school and college even though I didn’t personally mind the look of them.”

“So yeah – five years in the making, these are!”, Holly joked and again flashed her faultness smile at Beth.

Beth was amazed at Holly’s resilience in having such a long treatment time, but the results certainly spoke for themselves, she thought. It was also reassuring to hear that whilst Dr. Kate was undoubtedly a ruthless obsessive for perfection, she might not quite be the cruel sadist that Beth had feared after her initial braces fitting. Whilst Holly returned to her work, Beth continued to wait for another ten minutes until dental assistant Hannah came to lead her through to the treatment room.

Beth felt her heart pounding as she followed Hannah into the room and got settled into Kate’s treatment chair. Dr. Kate made simple pleasantries and got to work straight away, pulling her surgical mask on, reclining a nervously fidgeting Beth, and preparing an array of metallic inspection tools.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #19 on: 30. May 2023, 17:41:13 PM »
Good job! Holly certainly had a nice treatment!

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #20 on: 09. June 2023, 23:32:34 PM »
Chapter Eight

Dr. Kate firstly asked Beth how long she was wearing her braces and Beth answered, exaggerating. Then came the same question about the facemask, and again Beth overstated her answer.

“I see”, was the only response, as Kate ran her gloved fingers around Beth’s mouth and popped out both parts of her twin blocks. Firstly, she inspected the braces themselves, then Beth’s teeth. Beth opened widely, and bit down at Kate’s command as Hannah made notes according to what Kate observed. Then, she refitted Beth’s braces, before commenting that they seemed to snap in quite easily.

“Looking at your blocks, the expansion screws don’t seem very advanced. Remember we agreed one turn each per week?”, Kate questioned.

“Hmm… I may have missed one or two”, Beth admitted quietly.

“It’s really important that you do that, Beth, so your teeth and jaws correct at the same speed. Is there someone who can help you with it? Don’t forget you can do it with them removed too”, Kate continued encouragingly. “We’ll have a little catch up now though, shall we?”, she continued.

And with that, she reached into Beth’s mouth with the silver key and went around all six of the screws built into Beth’s braces. Like in the fitting appointment, Kate made two full turns to every screw causing strong and immediate pressure to build in Beth’s face.

Next, Kate and Hannah checked the fitting of Beth’s facemask, which she had at least brought with her even if she hadn’t felt able to wear it in the waiting room. They looked on as Beth first mounted it upside down, then fumbled with the elastic bands, eventually getting it fitted after a couple of minutes.

Thinking the worst was over, Beth was relieved when Kate sat her back upright but then surprised her by handing her a laminated sheet filled with words.

“Read me a page please, Beth”, Dr. Kate said. Beth immediately became anxious and embarrassed as she glanced at the page. Every single word was something Beth would find difficult to say, and she’d found herself becoming quite adept at avoiding a lot of words that she tripped over when wearing her braces. But here they all were, and a great many more besides. Her heart thumped in her chest, and she felt the palms of her hands become moist with sweat.
“Take your time”, Kate finally said gently. And with that, Beth lisped, hissed and spluttered through all of the words on the page.

“…Stacked…”
“…Succinctly…”
“…Skyrocketed…”
“…Karnataka…”

When her ordeal was over, Kate wheeled her chair over to sit beside Beth.

“I can see you’re really struggling there. The thing is, we’d expect someone who’s been wearing these almost full time for eight weeks to have got past the worst of the speech difficulties. It looked like you also found putting on the facemask difficult just now. Are you sure you’re sticking to the schedule we agreed?”
Beth let out the tiniest of tears and shook her head silently.

“Well, all I can say Beth”, continued Dr. Kate, “is that you came here to me to get a great result. The best possible! If these braces aren’t working for you, then we’ll just have to think of another way. For now, please remake your commitment to this treatment, keep turning your expanders and wearing your facemask, and come back to see me in eight weeks.”

Offline mr_90proof

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #21 on: 10. June 2023, 02:54:08 AM »
Guessing that Beth’s next appointment is gonna suck.  Will eagerly await to find out how bad.

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #22 on: 24. June 2023, 23:38:22 PM »
Chapter Nine

Beth returned to her little house, and Jess’s caring friendship, having felt like she’d hit a new level of frustration with her treatment. Jess, as usual, slipped naturally into the role of kindness with just a hint of firm encouragement when she felt that Beth needed it.

“I’m so sick of wearing these – they are making everything worse.”, Beth had complained to her best friend. “At least before I got them, I could hide my stupid teeth and I wasn’t in pain all the time.”

It was true that coupled with Beth’s substantial underbite and her upper canines being so out of line, the bulk of the twin blocks and her inability to hide them did make for a very conspicuous appearance. Coupled with her continuing difficulty in stringing together a sentence, and it was no surprise that her confidence had been knocked hard by starting treatment, rather than the opposite as she had first expected.

“Chin up, sweetheart”, Jess had told her. “Just a case of persevering and it will get easier, I promise.” She knew well enough that it was a weak promise as any she’d heard, but it gave Jess the determination to help Beth through the next few weeks. As they passed, Jess helped Beth gradually conquer her fears and embarrassment of wearing her braces. They continued with their evening quizzes, and even book-reading, usually over a glass or two of something nice. Beth wore her braces out to the shops, then to the pub, and then finally to university where she managed a whole day around her other friends and even managed to speak up in a tutorial, despite stumbling on the odd consonant-heavy word.

Each Sunday night, Beth would diligently lie back on the sofa at home and Jess would carefully slot the silvery steel key into each of Beth’s expansion screws to twist them and maintain the relentless multi-directional pressure on Beth’s teeth. Even more surprisingly, Beth used Jess’s reminders to fit her facemask almost every night, and whilst she might not be getting the 18 hours she’d been prescribed, most times she was in the house alone or with Jess Beth could be found sporting her obtrusive appliance with it’s heavy steel bar dividing her face and thick elastic bands slithering out from between Beth’s lips. She was certainly putting in the effort, but couldn’t help be disappointed when every time she look at herself in the mirror after taking her braces out, and the great shift in her teeth just wasn’t happening.

One afternoon after Beth had settled into her routine, the doorbell had rung and Beth had rushed to answer it. The young man who had only come to read their energy meters had quite the shock when the door opened, and his eyes widened in a mix of intrigue and concern. At first Beth couldn’t imagine what was wrong with him, but she quickly flushed with horrified embarrassment when she realised she’d become so accustomed to her facemask that she’d opened the door to a stranger without taking it off.

Immediately feeling a fool, she hurried and slurred out some unnecessary explanation to her unwanted visitor, who simply replied, “Please don’t worry it. You know it’s actually pretty cool you’re doing that!”

In the end, the chance meeting was a huge lift for Beth. James, as he introduced himself as, stayed a few minutes just to talk to Beth and she engaged him in her first ever conversation with her mouth tangled up in both twin blocks and facemask. He wasn’t her boyfriend type perhaps, but to her it felt like a triumph.
By the time her next appointment date came around, Beth had been in her braces for close to four months, and this time she felt a little more upbeat as she was able to tell Dr. Kate all about her efforts in committing to wearing her appliances much more often.

She almost breezed into the office to be met by just Lexi this time, looking just adorable with her hair, green this time, in two bunches and with two new nose rings. She smiled sweetly at Beth, allowing her front teeth to push through her lips as she did.
Beth was quickly called down this time, and Dr. Kate and Hannah made haste in getting her comfortable in the chair and fully reclined.

“Alright let’s see what progress you’ve made”, Kate said, without even asking Beth first. The gloved fingers did their usual probing examination before Beth’s braces were popped out and Kate could fully assess Beth’s teeth again.
“I see you’ve been trying much harder, Beth”, Kate finally said in a voice that was trying to be kind. Beth was cheered by the acknowledgement of her efforts and nodded whilst garbling an enthusiastic “Yes!” even before Kate had removed her fingers from Beth’s mouth.

“But I’m sorry”, the doctor went on more gravely, “this treatment has failed!”

Beth suddenly felt crushed and her eyes once again felt heavy with tears.

“We knew it was a risk of course with you being just shy of 20, but these removable braces just aren’t able to generate the constant forces to deal with your complex case. So I’m afraid we have to step things up a gear or two with some heavy-duty fixed appliances. As long as you still want to fix your teeth that is?”

Beth nodded weakly, knowing it was the right choice, but secretly terrified of having to get used to more hardware just as she’d thought she was getting somewhere.

Kate looked up towards her assistant. “Hannah, can you prepare some elastic separators for Beth, please? I’m going to need 12 in total.” Hannah seemed to wince ever so slightly, as Beth looked up from the chair with growing dread.

“Alright Beth, what Hannah is going to do now is fit some tiny elastic bands between some of your back teeth to make some space between them so allow us to continue your treatment. You’ll need some extra ones around your upper pre-molars too. They’ll go on quite easily on your bottom teeth but your top ones might need a bit more effort given your overcrowding’s pretty severe. Even though your canines are sitting high in your mouth, the misalignment of your teeth behind them still means they’re really close together. Stop wearing your twin blocks now, please, or else you could knock these separators out. That might mean that your teeth slip back a bit but we’ll have to deal with that in the next stage.”

Kate’s words washed over Beth who struggled to digest them, in this sudden step-change in her prescribed therapy. Hannah moved over the chair with a metal pronged tool in her right hand. As she squeezed it, the bright blue elastic band looped around the end was stretched into a straight line.

“Open really wide now”, Hannah said more soothingly than Kate could, and she guided the tool in towards the back of Beth’s lower teeth. Using a repeated sawing motion, and more pushing force than Beth could have imagined, Hannah wedged separators around Hannah’s bottom molars on her left and right side. The first four in, she quickly moved to Beth’s upper arch. Pushing upwards was more difficult, and combined with the tightness of Beth’s top teeth, Hannah took much longer to fit the next four around the upper molars. Finally, she moved forwards to squeeze another four bands around Beth’s premolars to make space for whatever grotesque appliance Kate was planning to use on Beth.

“Deep breathe my love”, Hannah encouraged Beth, “these next ones are going to be really tight.” Sure enough, Hannah grunted with the effort and Beth shuddered with the sudden pain of these last four being forced into her mouth.

“There’s no nice was to say it”, Hannah finished up by telling Beth, “These little buggers are going to hurt for a few days. Keep taking your usual painkillers and tell Lexi we’ll see you in ten days.”

“Then we can really get this treatment moving!”, Kate followed up with, as Beth fled the room.

Offline bracessd

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #23 on: 26. June 2023, 17:43:16 PM »
Sounds like Beth is in for some heavy metal!

Offline Bracetee11

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #24 on: 02. July 2023, 19:31:11 PM »
Im waiting for more!

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #25 on: 03. July 2023, 14:05:22 PM »
What can I say? The storyline is good, and - whilst extreme - is reasonably credible. Your writing style is easy to read, and the characters are gently developing.

I can see this story could be a fairly long one!

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #26 on: 22. July 2023, 19:24:39 PM »
Thanks for the comments and interest. Sorry it’s been a while…
Not sure I can promise much in the way of character development, never been my strong suit. I guess mine is a braces story in the strict sense, and it just so happens to have people in it too!

Anyway, I’ve got another few lines written so time for a new chapter.

Offline chrisbrace

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #27 on: 22. July 2023, 19:29:17 PM »
Chapter Ten

Back in the safety of her little house, Beth used Jess’s help with a light and a mirror to get a proper look at the blue bands that were speckled over her teeth. Jess commented that for such small things their bright colour made them quite noticeable in Beth’s mouth.

“Oh, and they are SO annoying!”, Beth groaned to her friend. “Like I’m used to getting food stuck in these teeth of mine, but these are something else, especially these side ones”. Beth pulled her saddest face at Jess and massaged her gums to emphasise her discomfort.

Loaded up on paracetamol, soft bean casserole and a couple of glasses of Aussie Shiraz, the girls settled into an evening of terrible TV and making plans for Beth’s twentieth birthday the following week. By the time midnight rolled around, Beth’s discomfort from her separators was growing fast, and she headed up to bed, hoping by the morning that they had settled down and she was over the worst of it.

The 4am wake-up and throbbing pressure that kept Beth awake for the rest of the night told her that once again, she’d underestimated the intensity of her treatment. By the end of the morning, she was in real pain as the innocent looking blue bands were relentlessly forcing her teeth apart. Nothing seemed to take the constant soreness away; Beth tried a walk in the park, sleeping it off and trying to distract herself with a book, but it was an unyielding companion and made for a pretty miserable day.

“How are you doing now?”, Jess had asked as the girls pored over the Indian takeaway menu later in the evening.

Beth breathed out heavily, “Pretty sore. I’m counting the days already!”.

“Hey at least you can talk to me properly now”, Jess said jokingly, putting on a heavy mock-lisp, and they both laughed loudly with each other.

---

The next few days passed slowly, with only gradual improvements in Beth’s comfort and mood. Finally, she decided she’d have to put on a brave face for her birthday drinks party with her and Jess’s friends in town. Replacing her usual paracetamol tablets with an almost heroic amount of Prosecco certainly seemed to dull the aches and pains, at least on the night itself. Beth ended up having a great time with the drinking and dancing, and catching up with all her university friends, one of which also introduced her to Olly, her brother.

Olly was close to what Beth would call ‘her type’; just a couple of years older than her, well dressed and groomed but not obsessively so, and had a really good job in town. Though he was a bit on the short side, and she didn’t find his spark all that fascinating, Beth and Olly spent a couple of hours sharing travel experiences, silly jokes and life goals, and was happy when at the end of the night they’d swapped numbers.

“Well look at you!”, Jess had said excitedly as they walked back home, “looks like you’re back with us after these few weeks!” Beth knew exactly what she’d meant; she knew she’d have to make a stronger effort to keep up her social life when she eventually had her appliances fixed in. Then she realised… ‘eventually’ meant only four days away.

---

Beth and Olly exchanged friendly but pretty boring texts over the next couple of days. Then one dropped in which really excited her:
“Engineering admin job at my place. Might be good for you?”

“Absolutely – send me the details”, Beth replied straight away. It might be just the push she needed to find the job she wanted to fit around what was left of her study course.

With her CV polished up, and full of renewed confidence despite the rapid return of the aching in her teeth, Beth sent in her application that afternoon and was delighted to get an interview that Thursday. Beth opened her little diary to update it.

“Well that will be one hell of a day”, she mused. “Job interview at 1, then straight to the orthodontist for 3.” The nerves kicked in straight away, but on which outweighed the other, Beth wasn’t sure.

Offline anton08

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Re: Story: Beth and Friends
« Reply #28 on: 25. October 2023, 17:54:20 PM »
Can´t wait for the next episode!