English => General => Topic started by: Sparky on 09. June 2021, 19:30:49 PM

Title: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 09. June 2021, 19:30:49 PM
Ok, so I just came up with a "chapter 1" of a new story to share with you. I have no idea yet where this story will go, but I can say that it's likely to be a while before I continue it, as I want to work on my "Asian Braces" story. The main character is Jane Smith, a fairly plain girl. I'm guessing she's maybe 5ft 4in or 5ft 6in tall, fairly slim. She has long reddish / brownish hair, and a pretty average complexion.

Feel free to make suggestions of any sort.


[Chapter 1 was here, but as I've re-written it to be 3rd-person rather than 1st-person, you'll find the updated version a few posts lower down. Don't worry, you haven't missed anything!!!]

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: retained on 10. June 2021, 01:16:56 AM
Yes. A great, detailed start. Think we can guess what might need sorting out next!!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: napacaster on 10. June 2021, 06:03:01 AM
Wonderful start! Plenty of detail, I like that.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: kelly-Marie on 10. June 2021, 16:22:14 PM
Great beginning to your story  I wonder what Jane will get next? Looking forward to the next chapter
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: aktivator82 on 10. June 2021, 16:50:24 PM
awesome begin for a story... excited what will be the treatment for the braces
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: silver-moon-2000 on 10. June 2021, 21:02:51 PM
Very nice start. I'm pretty jealous of your way of writing, I must confess  >:D
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 11. June 2021, 04:47:56 AM
Yes. A great, detailed start. Think we can guess what might need sorting out next!!

Yeah, I reckon she needs a good haircut too!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: agarionoob on 17. June 2021, 21:04:51 PM
I like the characterization and detail you put into your descriptions. It really feels like we get to know who Jane is.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: eddiestobbart on 19. June 2021, 17:34:26 PM
Fascinating story - I'm really enjoying the direction you're taking.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: lizziek on 10. September 2021, 23:38:36 PM
Different! Like it, keep going!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 11. October 2021, 19:56:45 PM
Hi all!

I've decided to tell this story from the third person, rather than the first person (ie "she" rather than "I"), so I just edited down that first chapter: the content is (almost) completely unchanged, just now written in the 3rd person.....

There will be a bit of a pause while I get Danny and Amanda (and a few other characters!) out of my head, and try to remember the ideas I had for this story a month or two ago, and then develop the story.


Chapter 1

Her appointment was at 4:30, so she left work at just after 4: that would give her time to find somewhere to park the car, then walk through town. Luckily the traffic today was light, and she made good time. She walked through the door at 4:25, so was 5 minutes early.

"Good afternoon" said the lady on reception, "How can I help you today?"

"I'm Jane Smith - I have an appointment at 4:30"

"Let me take a look - ah yes, you are seeing Mr Jones... Just a moment." She printed off a couple of sheets, and put them onto a clipboard. "Will you follow me please?" She walked Jane to the other end of the 'shop' and asked her to sit down. She placed the clipboard in a small rack just outside the door.

Jane sat there feeling a little nervous. She picked up one of the magazines, and had a look through it, to try and pass the time.

A couple of minutes later a guy, probably in his mid 30's, came out, took the clipboard from its rack, and took a quick look at it. "Jane Smith?" Jane stood up and walked over to the door where he was standing. "Hello, Jane, please come in, I'm David Jones. Do take a seat..."

"Thanks" she said a bit nervously. Her eyes scanned the room: it looked like it did double purpose, being used sometimes for measuring people's sight... in fact just like the other rooms here, which she had been into when she got her eyes tested, and indeed got her latest glasses, a couple of months ago.

"So, I see that you've been referred by your doctor: have you ever had your hearing tested before?" he asked Jane in a very pleasant voice

"No, I haven't - I've been here for my glasses, but not my hearing" she replied with a slight smile.

"So I'm assuming that you have noticed that you have some sort of hearing issue?"

"Yes, the biggest problem I have is hearing people properly in the office, which is affecting my work, and annoying other people"

"I can understand that. When else do you have problems?"

"Well, when I'm out with friends, down the pub, it's obvious everyone else can hear what someone is saying, but I have problems. And I've noticed, when I'm at a friend's place, I sometimes have problems hearing the TV"

"What about when the room is quiet, can you hear ok then?" he said, fairly softly

"Yes, I can hear you fine, it's nice & quiet in here and there's no background noise getting in the way..."

"Ok, that makes a lot of sense. Do you suffer tinnitus at all? Permanent or occasional tones or noises in one or both your ears?"
She thought for a moment "Yes, I do... I occasionally get a sort of 'dirty whistle' in both my ears, and thinking about it, that's usually after we've played a gig. But I really only notice is when it's quiet".

"You play in a band?"

Jane laughed. "I've played guitar in a Metal Rock band for the last 7 years..."

"And I'm guessing you've never used ear protection?"

"No, never... You think that could be the problem?"

David nodded. "I was going to ask you if you had any thoughts on what might have caused your hearing issues, but I think you may have answered that... Have you ever had any illnesses that caused any problems with your hearing?"

"No, not that I remember"

"Well, I'll know better when I've measured your hearing, but the way you describe you hearing issues matches very well with noise-induced hearing loss. We see it in older people who have worked in noisy factories, but we're starting to see it more in younger people, such as yourself, who regularly go to loud gigs, or play in bands."

What he said made a lot of sense to Jane. She don't remember any single event that caused it, she guessed it just got worse over time. A bit like her needing glasses. When she started at secondary school, her eyesight was pretty good: she could see the board or screen ok from the back of the room. But it seems that, as she grew, so did her eyes, but not in quite the right way, and by the end of my first year at secondary school, she needed glasses.

"So, let me explain how we test your hearing...". It wasn't all that difficult. After looking into her ears, like her doctor had done, he gave Jane some fairly tightly fitting headphones, as well as a button to press. He played different tones - so different pitches, different volumes - and if she heard the tone, she pressed the button. Some of the tones were easy for her to hear, but some were very quiet, and she was sure she pressed the button a couple of times when he wasn't playing her a tone!

Finally, he indicated for Jane to remove the headphones. "Did I pass?" she asked with a big joking smile, which made him smile too.

"Come and have a look on the computer screen". Jane stood up and went over to him, so she could see the screen. "So, that's your left ear, that's your right... they actually match up pretty well. On the left are the lower frequencies, low notes: you can see that your hearing is actually quite good there, slightly above normal. But as we get into the middle and high frequencies, you can see the curve dropping off, indicating that you have a moderate hearing loss at the higher end, which matches up with what we see in people with noise-induced hearing loss".

Jane stood there, feeling slightly shocked. She knew she had a problem, but she had been trying to ignore it, hoping it might just 'go away'. But here was the proof, right in front of her: she actually HAD a problem with her hearing!

"So, please take a seat again, and we can discuss what I can do for you"

"I'm guessing you mean... hearing aids?". 'Shit, I'm only 26! And I am slightly deaf! So I'm going to need hearing aids, with lumpy earmolds and thick, obvious, tubes?' thought Jane.

"Yes, but don't worry, modern hearing aids are surprisingly small and discrete. I guess the first thing I need to ask is are you interested in considering private hearing aids, or are you looking to go with the NHS one, which of course won't cost you anything"

"Erm, I was assuming the NHS ones, but how much are private ones, and are they actually going to be any better for me?"

"Very good question. The prices for private aids starts at just under 500 pounds, and can go up to over 2500 pounds. The NHS aids are pretty much on a par with the lowest cost private aids, so you'd be looking at about 900 pounds to get something better."

Jane winced. 900 quid was a LOT of money, money which she could use for other things - like getting contacts, or even.... yes, even those things. "Erm, would it make sense to maybe start off with the NHS ones, then consider private ones if I have issues?"

"Oh, absolutely. And to be honest, most people with a moderate hearing loss like yours find the NHS aids work well for them. Let me show you what they look like, then I can programme them up, and you can see how you get on with them". David stood up, and opened a cupboard, and took out a couple of small boxes, and a couple of small plastic bags with something in them.

"So, this is the hearing aid" he said, showing it to her. It was tiny, no more than about 3 cm long. "And this is the bit that goes into your ear". He opened one of the small bags and removed a really thin tube with a sort of thin tiny umbrella on the end (no more than 1 cm in diameter!).

"And what about the lumpy earmold bit?" Jane asked

"These use what we call 'thin tube technology'. Traditional hearing aids used to block your natural hearing, and provide all of what you heard. These don't block your natural hearing, they just add back in the higher frequencies that you need. Let me clip the two together, and you can try it in". He clipped one of the tubes onto the hearing aid: the result was something that didn't look at all big or obvious. "Can you turn around so I can get to your right ear?".

Jane turned her head to him, and she could feel him gently pulling her hair to the side, then putting the hearing aid into her ear. "That seems to fit you pretty well, and your glasses don't seem to be an issue".

Jane was very surprised: she could hardly feel the weight of the hearing aid on her ear, and the small tube with its soft 'umbrella' was surprisingly comfortable in her ear, and her natural hearing felt almost unaffected.

"As I said, modern aids are quite discrete and comfortable" he said, passing me a hand-mirror. Jane pulled my hair back and saw.... well, she could see nothing. She looked a bit more carefully, and could see a tiny clear tube going over the top of her ear, then down and into her ear.

"That is amazing!" she said. "I can hardly see or feel it!". Her previous negativity towards the idea of getting hearing aids suddenly evaporated.

"Great, well let me programme up a pair for you, then we can see how they sound to you, and I'll then double-check how they fit. Would you like to remove that hearing aid... just pull it upwards and outwards....

She did as instructed, and the hearing aid came out of her ear without a problem. He took the aid, and got a second aid out of its box, opened what Jane later discovered was the battery door, and slid in a tiny ribbon, then closed the tiny door. He did the same on the second aid, then turned to his computer, and started typing and using the mouse.

"Ok, done" he said, no more than a minute later. "Let me put some batteries in, and you can try them out". He opened the battery door of each aid, removed the tiny electrical ribbon, and put in a tiny round battery. Jane turned first to the left, then to the right, letting him put the hearing aids into her ears.

"So, how do they sound?".

Wow! His voice sounded lovely and crisp and clear and clean to Jane. Her smile went from ear to ear.

"I'm guessing that things are sounding a lot clearer for you?"

"Absolutely! They are amazing.... but my own voice sounds a bit strange..."

"Don't worry, that is quite normal, you'll soon get used to it. From what my customers tell me, it's a bit like the first time you get glasses: your sight is lovely and clear, but you can see the frames, and there's a strange distortion at the edges of the lenses. But after a while, all that becomes quite normal. You'll get a similar thing with the hearing aids: they'll sound a bit strange to begin with, but after a while it will become natural. We suggest that you wear the hearing aids as much as you can, and give it a month or two for your brain to get used to the new sounds."

The most amazing thing about all that he just said was that she was able to clearly hear every bit of it. It sounded a bit odd to her, a little bit 'tinny', but she guessed that was the extra high frequencies the hearing aid was pushing into her ears.

David then got her to take them out and put them in again a few times, until she was happy doing it. Then he showed her the various parts of the hearing aid, describing how to remove the 'ear tips' and 'tube' for when the needed to be replaced, and explained how to clean it all (the hearing aids each came with a small box, which included a tiny brush with a small magnet on the end). Then he explained how to change the batteries, and how the battery door acted as an on-off switch too.

"So, how long do the batteries last?" Jane asked. The batteries themselves were tiny, about the size of a slightly flattened pea.

"Between a week and two weeks. I'll give you a stock of batteries, which should last you about 3 months. Just come in to the shop and ask the receptionist when you need some more. Same for the tubes and tips, I've put some spares into the boxes for you. The tips I've given you are the 'normal' ones, and most people find they work ok... their job is to just hold the tube centrally in your ear, but there are a couple of slightly different versions if you have any problems."

"Thank you very much" said Jane, still smiling from the joy of being able to hear things more clearly.

"If you have any problems, just get in touch with us, and if you can make an appointment for about 8 to 12 weeks time, I can check that everything is going ok for you. Do you have ANY questions you'd like to ask?".

"No, I think I'm fine". David passed her the small plastic bag with everything in, and opened the door. As she went outside, she could hear more of the background noises in the shop than she had heard before. Outside the shop, she could hear all sorts of things, including... was that a bird that she just heard chirping?

Back home Jane took a look at herself in the mirror. Jane never thought of herself as being a pretty girl, she felt she was very much a plain girl. A Plain Jane.

Jane has fairly long brown/red hair: today it is down, but she often wears it back in a ponytail: she pulled her hair back into a ponytail, to see how visible her hearing aids would be: the small hearing aids were a sort of pinky brown colour, which made them a lot less obvious, and her hair seemed to cover the aids anyway. And she could only see the tiny tubes when she was actually looking for them. Luckily, her ears were big enough that there's no problems with either her glasses or her hearing aids being over / behind her ears.

She looked at her face once more. She recently got some new glasses, which she was really pleased with. They are apparently made of titanium, so the side bits are quite bendy yet strong. The metal frames around the lenses are really thin, and the shape seems to fit her face.

Jane smiled, thinking back to the first pair of glasses she ever got. She was 11, nearly 12, and her mum chose them. She thought Jane looked 'cute' in them, but the reality was that they were horrible, and Jane got teased quite a bit about them. That was the last pair that her mum ever chose for her! Her second pair were a lot better, but she still got teased a bit.

Yeah, you've probably realised by now that Jane's self-esteem is a bit on the low side. 'Ok, so I look a bit plain, but I don't look THAT bad... until I open my mouth that is!' thought Jane.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 06. November 2021, 18:36:34 PM
As you might have spotted, I took a bit of a break - I needed to 'flush out' the remains of my other stories!. I'm now writing more chapters of Plain Jane, so will gently post them here over the next weeks. Please note that this is not a "full on braces story", but bear with me, there WILL be braces, it might just take Jane a while to get to the ortho!


Chapter 2

Over the next few days, Jane noticed that the way that she was treated at work changed a little. Because she was now able to hear people much better, she found she was hardly ever needing to say 'pardon' or 'say that again'. And she started to realise that she was now being included in more of the conversations in the office. She didn't think anyone had taken a conscious decision to include her more, it just happened naturally. Of course, whilst her hearing was a lot better, her brain is clearly still getting used to the new sound of everything, but it was already making her life more pleasant. So while she could hear stuff loads better, she would not have classed her hearing as perfect.

Wednesday evening was band practice: Jane had a metal / rock band, where she played bass guitar, which she really enjoyed. The band occasionally played a gig, but that's not really the reason they played together, it was more an excuse for Jane to get out of the house, and have fun playing some loud music... oh yeah, and an excuse to go to the pub after for a drink or two!

This week, having just got hearing aids, Jane decided to have a word with the other 3 guys in her band.

Yes, it was HER band: when she was 15, her brother had bought her a guitar, which she seemed to be able to learn to play. Her parents suggested she might like to have some lessons, so she had found a guy who lived locally, who gave her lessons. They used part of the garage, which worked out well. Her guitar tutor, Jim, also had an amp stack and a couple of electric guitars, so as well as playing her own acoustic guitar, they sometimes played electric guitar, which was fun. One day when she turned up for her lesson, there was another amp there, and another guitar: a bass guitar.

For a bit of fun, later in her lesson, Jim said she could try playing the bass guitar, which belonged to a friend who had been over the previous evening for a jam session. Whilst the strings played different notes, her brain quickly worked them out: she absolutely LOVED the bass guitar! The following week there was a surprise waiting for her: Jim's friend, Sam, was there, and he spent a bit of time talking to her about playing the bass guitar. In fact, Sam came along for part of her lesson for the next few weeks, helping Jane to play the bass guitar

A few weeks later, Sam was there again, and he had a big surprise for Jane.

"I just bought this new bass... want to have a play?"

"You kidding me?"

"No, I've seen you play my other guitar, you ain't gonna hurt it!". Jane took the lovely shiny new bass guitar, and started to play it, while Jim played along on his electric guitar. Jane really loved the feel of the new guitar, it was a pleasure to play. The fact that it was brand new made it even nicer!

"So, I realise that I have far too many bass guitars... I got 5 in total, so I was thinking that you could probably do something good with one of them.... so how would you like this one?" said Sam, passing his older guitar to Jane. Jane had one of the biggest smiles on her face as she took the bass guitar from Sam.

"You sure?"

"Very sure. I get a feeling you might end up making it sound better than I can. Of course, you'll also need something to plug it into, so I dug out my old practice amp..."

"Oh, Sam, thank you SOOOO much".

A couple of weeks later, Jim made a suggestion: "Jane, I have another student who comes to me just before you, you've met him a few times, and I was thinking if you'd like to do double-lessons with him: you'll have someone else to play with, and you'll get twice the time with me". Jane loved the idea, and over the next few months her playing, both of guitar and of bass guitar got better.

Another thing Jane did as a teen was to go to the local youth club, where she seemed to get on more with the 'goth' crowd, rather than the 'girls', preferring to wear jeans and dark shirts, rather than more colourful blouses and dresses. It also influenced her music tastes, and Jane was very much into indie rock and metal, and certainly NOT girl or boy bands! One day, a couple of guys approached her.

"You're Jane, aren't you?"

"Yeah, that's me"

"We hear you play bass..."

"Yeah, so what?"

"Well, we have a small rock band, and our bass player moved away over the summer, so we were wondering if you'd like to come along and see if maybe you'd like to play with us."

As a result, Jane ended up playing in their band. The other members of the band were a year older than Jane, and attended the local 6th form college, so at the end of the school year, they all moved away to university, so sadly Jane no longer had a band to play in... so she started asking around, put up notices in a couple of shops, and asked online too. Eventually she managed to get a group together, four of them in total, and they started to play together. Several years on, and they still play together regularly.

So, yes, HER band!

So where was I? Ah yes, she had a word with the other guys in her band, and told them about her needing hearing aids, and suggested that, for a start, if they were going to continue to play loud (which WAS fun!) then they should seriously consider wearing ear plugs (she had bought some for them all...), or maybe they should play a bit quieter (not such good fun). Plus maybe they should also get their hearing tested.

Then they all spent the evening having fun playing - they tried wearing the cheap ear-plugs for a while, and whilst they reduced the noise, they reduced it too much, so they removed them. That didn't deter Jane: a couple of weeks later, in a music shop, she found some more-suitable ear plugs, which blocked a lot of the sound, but let enough in to let her actually still enjoy the music.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: kelly-Marie on 07. November 2021, 18:58:05 PM
It's all going well for Jane hope you can write another chapter soon
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 07. November 2021, 19:59:54 PM
It's all going well for Jane hope you can write another chapter soon

Don't worry, I'm working on it. It's just that some of it is pretty hard to write, so I'm not rushing it.

But thank you for the comment, it makes the writing worthwhile.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 07. November 2021, 22:02:27 PM
This is really good so far. The hearing aids provide a unique concept, and it being a story featuring braces, but not a braces story, also gives it its own identity.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 10. November 2021, 21:13:01 PM
Chapter 3

Friday evening:

Jane's phone rang, and she answered it. "Hey Jane, you doing anything on Sunday afternoon?" asked Sarah from work, "It's just that a group of us are going on a bike ride, and wondered if you wanted to....". She went silent for a moment, realising what she had just said. "Ummm... don't worry, we're not going to be riding on any roads, it's pretty much all going to be on country paths, and in the woods, so yeah, ummm.... would you like to join us?"

Jane wasn't really looking forward to Monday, and that would also mean that her mum probably wouldn't be great company over the weekend either... not that's she'd been particularly great company much since.... yeah, since this weekend last year. The problem was that Jane had not actually been on her bike since..... but she thought that maybe it was time to give it a go again.

"Yeah, ok, that would be nice. I have one problem, I'm not sure if my bike is actually ready to use, it's been a while...."

"Oh, ok... yes, I understand. Um, we have a spare bike, you can use it if you like."

"Oh, thanks, that would be good!"

"So, if you can be ready for, say, just before 2? It's only a 10 minute drive to where we'll be starting. Don't forget to bring a drink, although we are planning to stop at a nice tea-shop for tea and cakes about halfway around."

"That sounds nice... Oh, do you have a bottle holder on your spare bike? If so I can use my bike bottle"

"Yeah, it does. Ok see you on Sunday then!"

Jane felt a bit nervous about the idea of riding a bike again, after what happened last year, but she felt that she needed to try and get some sort or normality back in her life.

She went up to her room, and watched TV for the rest of the evening. Jane needed to try to get out a bit more, she needed to rebuild her life... not that she had much of life before: she used to spend a lot of time with Peter, but that definitely wasn't an option now. The programme she was watching ended, and it was almost 11pm, so she decided it was probably time to go to bed.

She took her clothes off, and had a quick wash, then grabbed an incontinence pad, and put it into her panties, then grabbed her plastic panties, and pulled them up on top. She wondered if tonight she'd be dry or wet. She first wet the bed *THAT* night. She'd woken in the middle of the night after a pretty horrible dream, to find that she was lying on a damp bed, so she had got up and changed the bedding, then went back to sleep. The same thing happened the following night: a bad dream, and damp sheets. Given what had happened, Jane had a feeling this would keep happening, so she had bought a pack of adult nappies, which worked well, but were a bit expensive. So then she tried using simpler incontinence pads, and they were ok-ish (and a lot cheaper), but sometimes leaked a bit, depending on how she had been lying, so she had bought herself a couple of pairs of plastic panties, and the combination seemed to work pretty ok. Not particularly flattering, but effective.

Things seemed to go in cycles: she'd not have the bad dreams and she'd be dry for a week, then the dreams would return, and she would wake up wet. It always seemed to be a version of the same dream: she was cycling down the road, and she was being chased by a huge lorry. And when I say huge, I mean nightmare-dreams huge! And it was slowly catching her up.... luckily she always managed to wake up just before it caught her.

Yeah, she had been to trauma counselling, and it helped her a tiny bit. But not really that much. She knew WHY she was having the dreams, that wasn't the issue, it was how to get past it....

Jane got into bed, pulled her lightweight duvet over herself, closed her eyes, and sent her love to Peter, which brought a tear or two to her eyes. Then she opened her mouth, put her left forearm in between her teeth, and bit down gently, giving herself a bit of pain. It was a nice pain, and helped to comfort her. She fell asleep surprisingly quickly.

When she woke the Saturday morning, not only did she feel pleasantly refreshed, she hadn't had any nasty dreams, and she was dry. She turned on the radio quietly, and listened to it for a bit, as she continued to just lie in bed. She decided that she would go into town in the morning, and do a little bit of shopping, then in the afternoon she could take a short bus journey to a nice place she had read up about online, and try doing some more drawing. Jane used to do pencil drawing at school, and whilst she wasn't especially amazing at it, she enjoyed it. So about 9 months ago, she had decided to try drawing again, hoping it might help her. If nothing else, it was nice way to pass the time. It gave her an excuse to go somewhere, and just sit there enjoying the view, and have a go at drawing it. Sometimes she would walk out into the countryside, other times she'd actually sit in town, or in the park, or wherever. She'd definitely improved, but she still didn't feel she was especially good: anyway, they weren't for anyone else to look at, they were for Jane to do for herself, spending some time doing them, and occasionally taking a look at them later on.

Before going out she'd done a bit of research: she had looked on the online maps, then looked at the bus route. So today, after doing her shopping, Jane caught a bus going to the far side of town, a place she didn't normally go, getting off at a park she'd never been to before. She had a bit of a walk, then stopped by the pond. Or was it a lake? We're not talking about one of those ornate ponds, this one felt pleasantly natural. There were a couple of benches near the pond, so she sat down for a while, just absorbing the view. Then she got her sketchpad and pencils out, and started to draw. The first one was a fairly normal, realistic drawing, looking across the pond. Then she tried something similar, but in a different style, one that she'd been reading about online. The first drawing was more of her getting used to draw in that new style, so she started another picture but in the same style. The more she drew, the more this new way of drawing made sense to her, and she started to quite enjoy doing it.

She looked at the time on her phone: it was almost 6pm. She checked online (luckily mobile coverage was pretty good here), and worked out that, if she got going straight away, she could catch the next bus (if she waited, then it would be another 30 minutes till the next one). So she packed up her stuff, and started walking. Her timing was spot on: she had only been at the bus stop for about a minute when the bus arrived. So back into town, then wait for her bus back home... luckily they were every 15 minutes, so she didn't have to wait long.

Out of simple courtesy, she'd texted mum, to let her know she would be a bit late, so she just leave her dinner on the side, and she'd reheat it, which she often did. Jane's relationship with her mum has been rather strained this last year, since... yeah, since then. Her dad was less of a problem, he was just dad, and wasn't one for sharing his feelings.

Yes, Jane still lived at home, with her mum and dad. She's thought about moving out a few times, once she even got as far as looking to see where she could live.... getting a small place for just herself would be quite expensive, so she'd probably end up in a shared house.... which would probably do her a lot of good, having some company more of her own age.

Mum was a bit quieter than normal tonight, which didn't really surprise Jane, given what this weekend was. Jane heated up her dinner, which she then ate, then sat down and watched TV for a bit.

She went to bed sort-of looking forward to tomorrow, to going out on that bike ride. She seemed to be a bit reticent about actually falling asleep, knowing that she would probably have that nightmare again, and probably wet herself. However, she fell asleep quickly, slept really well, no nightmares, and was completely dry when she woke up.

She went down to the kitchen, and put the kettle on, to make herself a coffee, and mum came in.

"By the way, I'm going out just before 2, so need to make sure we have an early lunch. Tell you what, why don't I make it?" suggested Jane.

"Yes, ok..? I was planning on having the pork chops and veg..."

"I can do that!" said Jane. Jane actually quite enjoyed cooking, and was reasonably good at it, so she was very happy to make the lunch today.

Lunch was cooked and eaten, and it was about 20 to 2, so Jane needed to get herself ready. Up in the bedroom, she brushed her hair, then she went to the bathroom, where she brushed her teeth, then took a look at herself in the mirror, smiling a little so she could see her teeth.

To be honest, her teeth were a mess! Jane thought of her mouth as being a bit of a war zone!

Looking back, Jane realised that she really should have got braces as a teen, but the way she got so badly teased when she first got her glasses completely removed any possibility of her ever wanting braces, as she knew she would be teased even more if she got them. Instead she just put up with her horrible teeth - at least the level of teasing for having bad teeth and glasses was a lot less than for having a mouth full of braces on terrible teeth and glasses. She had several fights with her parents about her not wanting braces, and eventually Jane won!

So here she was: she's 26 years old, she's been out on a few dates and had a few 'one night stands', but she's never had a proper boyfriend. She knew for a fact that a couple of guys have been put off by her teeth. They had told Peter! B*st*rds!

So maybe now that she could see and hear clearly (wow, those hearing aids were really amazing! They are so much better, and so much more comfortable, than she ever thought they would be!), she had been thinking that maybe it was time to see about getting her teeth fixed.

They had got one of those adverts through the door last week, for 'Smile Club' - I guess that by calling it a 'club' they think you'll more likely to go to them. Nice try guys, but I think Jane's teeth are going to need rather a lot more treatment than your nice aligners can provide!

So what's actually wrong with her teeth? I'm not really sure where to start. Her teeth themselves are in pretty good condition: Jane brushes them carefully at least twice a day (although that isn't entirely easy), and she only has one filling. Her dentist is very happy with their condition, but has told her, many times now, that she should seriously consider having orthodontic treatment to sort out her teeth, otherwise she would end up with badly worn teeth, and even jaw pain, neither of which sounded good.

So, her top molar teeth are a bit close together, from one side to the other, and tip inwards a bit. So are her bottom ones, but not so bad. None of her teeth actually line up... her molars aren't in any sort of straight line, although only a couple of her small molars are crooked / rotated.

All four of her canine teeth are up (or down) in her gums. None of her bottom front teeth line up, they are all twisted and staggered, and at the top, her front two teeth stick inwards (inside her lower teeth), and the next ones are at about 45 degrees.

It also seems that she has 4 lovely and pristine wisdom teeth fully erupted at the back of her mouth, apparently causing part of her problems.

Her dentist used the phrase 'severely crowded and malocclused' to describe her teeth. I don't think Jane would have felt quite so bad if he hadn't included that word 'severely'. Jane would have 'bitten a bullet' and go see an ortho, but she was scared that biting a bullet would only make her teeth worse! Besides, where would she find a bullet anyway?

All of this means that Jane tries to keep her mouth closed as much as she can, to hide her 'war zone', and when she speaks, she's got into a habit of trying to make sure her lips covered her teeth as much as possible.

She looked at her face in the mirror once more. She tried to imagine how she would look with nice straight teeth. As she looked at herself, she realised that she really needed to learn how to do makeup properly: her makeup tended to be very simple, and was probably almost the same as she used to wear in her late teens, despite now being in her mid 20s. 'Maybe I'll just have to start watching makeup videos rather than cat videos!' she thought. That was a bit of a joke, because, if she were honest, she'd much rather watch a good techie video than either cat videos or makeup videos!

It wasn't just her teeth and face that she disliked, it was all the rest of her body. To be honest, her body wasn't THAT bad, but Jane put herself down a lot. Jane's hair was a strange colour, neither red nor brown, but something between. She's had long hair for as long as she could remember, and it currently almost reaches her waist. It actually looks quite nice, but it's a right pain in the a$$ to look after.

She's 5ft 5ins tall, and luckily she's able to stay pretty slim without trying - unlike Peter who used too be a bit chubby as a teen. She's not especially happy with the shape of her nose, she feels that it's too big for her face, and there's a bump in it about a third of the way down. She's not too happy with her boobs either, they are only 34B's, I think she'd like something a little bigger, but she can't see that happening, so she just wears a padded bra. 'Maybe I can get onto "Botched" somehow, and get Dr Nassif to do my nose, and Dr Dubrow to fix my boobs, all in one go?' she thought. She'd love to have more of an 'hour-glass' body, but it's far from that, it's pretty much like a tube, the same sort of size all the way down.
'I really need to do something about my fingernails too' she thought: Jane bites her nails, and they are much too short. She's not really sure why she bites them, but she does. She even tried wearing gloves... yeah, right! She sometimes uses those stick-on fingernails, but even if she trims them so they're not quite so long, they feel strange to her, so she doesn't wear them that often.

And then there's her eyebrows, her bushy, and strangely shaped eyebrows. I guess it could be worse: she could have a mono-brow!. In the past she's tried plucking them, but they just ended up being a bit of a mess, so they are their natural bushy shape again - and horrible. Yeah, more videos for Jane to watch, I guess.

Jane's mouth is pretty non-descript... it's not narrow, nor is it wide, and to be honest, it's not an interesting shape. She's tried things with lipstick and lip gloss, but it comes back to not really understanding how to use makeup to make the best of a bad job... she definitely need to watch those videos. 'I wonder if anyone around here does makeup courses of some sort? Something like 'Makeup 101' or 'Makeup for Dummies' ' she thought.

There must be SOMETHING that Jane likes about herself? Well, her ears are pretty normal, not too close to her head, and not sticking out too far, and they even have a nice shape. But Jane thinks that her nicest feature is her eyes. Her blue eyes. And when I say blue, I don't mean grey, they really are a lovely blue colour.

So, as long as she can make a guy look at her eyes, she reckons she'll be ok. Not an inch above (her eye brows), or an inch or two below (her nose and mouth), but just at her eyes!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 11. November 2021, 19:35:55 PM
Chapter 4

Jane heard the doorbell: it was of course Sarah, collecting her for the bike ride. Jane was still a bit apprehensive, remembering what happened last year. A year ago tomorrow.

Jane picked up her drink bottle and went out to the car with Sarah. There were 3 bikes on a rack on the back of the car.

"Hi Simon" said Jane as she got into Sarah's car. Simon was Sarah's older brother: Sarah was 24, Simon was 26. Sarah drove them the 10 minutes to the car park, where others were also arriving, and getting their bikes ready. I should make it clear, we are not taking about the 'lycra brigade' here, these were all people who simply liked to get together for a gentle social bike ride in the country.

Sarah helped Jane to adjust the saddle and handlebars of the bike, so they were the right height for her, and Jane put her drinks bottle into the holder. On her back, she wore one of those backpack-handbags, mush smaller than a normal 'day bag', but plenty big enough to hold her phone, keys, money and so on.

In total there was 9 of them, and they started off their ride by following the track from the carpark into the woods. It was dry, so any mud there might have been was now quite dry, making the ride quite easy. The path went gently upwards, making the cycling a little harder, but still not that difficult. They weren't rushing, it was more about getting out and enjoying nature, rather than trying to set a speed record.

After about 40 minutes, they came out of the woods, and followed a path along the edge of some fields. As they went over the brow of the hill, they all stopped. Partly to just have a bit of a rest, but more because the view was rather nice, looking out across the countryside from almost the top of the hill.

Jane, Sarah and Simon got off their bikes, and sat down to enjoy the view, and took the opportunity to have a quick drink.

As Jane looked out at the view, tears started to come to her eyes. She had realised that she recognised the view - she had been here with Peter a couple of times. She put her head into her hands, and quietly sobbed.

Simon spotted Jane, and went and sat down next to her.

"You ok?" he asked her.

"Not really, just give me a few minutes.....". By now, the others were starting to get back on their bikes.

"We'll catch you guys up" said Sarah to one of them. "We'll stay with Jane and meet you at the tea shop, if not before...."

Sarah and Simon sat quietly with Jane, not actually saying anything, but just being there. A few minutes later, Jane opened her small bag, took out some tissues and wiped her eyes, and blew her nose. "I should be ok now, I think.... thanks for staying with me!" she said to both Sarah & Simon.

They all got onto their bikes, and continued their ride. The next bit of the ride was downhill, then it flattened off, and went into some more woods. Finally, about 20 minutes after restarting, they got to the tea shop: it was actually part of the park facilities, next to a big carpark... so whilst others would have parked there, and cycled to where Jane and the others had just been, they had done it in reverse. Inside, the others had commandeered a couple of tables, and there were 3 seats ready for them.

The others had already ordered tea and scones for everyone, knowing that they would only be a few minutes behind. Of course, because of their bike ride, it all tasted so much better than had they just driven there! And with her new hearing aids, Jane found that, although things weren't perfect, she was able to join in the conversations a lot better.

Having had a break, they now needed to ride back to their cars. They went a different route, not quite as much uphill, but still riding through some lovely countryside.

"Thank guys, I actually had a really nice time this afternoon" said Jane a bit later, as Sarah dropped her off at home.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 13. November 2021, 20:05:23 PM
Chapter 5

It was the the early hours of Monday morning. After watching TV for a couple of hours, Jane had gone to bed at about 10:30, as she felt a bit tired from the bike ride, and needed to be at work tomorrow morning. She started by taking off her glasses, then removed her hearing aids, and put them into the small 'drying box' she'd bought on eBay. Next, just like she did normally, she grabbed a fresh incontinence pad which she put into her panties, and pulled on her plastic pants. Then she put on her pyjamas, and got in to bed, pulling the duvet over herself.

Of course, she then put her arm into her mouth and gently bit on it: she found the pain to be strangely and pleasantly soothing. In the early days, she'd tried biting her fingers, and whilst that gave her some comforting pain, it didn't help her fingers. She tried biting her wrists a few times, but realised that that could leave visible bruises, so now she bit further along her arms, where a long sleeved shirt would cover any marks or bruises.

Despite being a little apprehensive about what tomorrow actually was, she managed to get to sleep fairly quickly.

Suddenly Jane woke up screaming.

She had had another nightmare, but this one was different, a lot nastier than her normal nightmare: normally she was being chased by a massively big truck, which was getting closer and closer to her, and Jane would normally wake up just before it had caught up with her. Today, the truck had chased her for ages, getting closer and closer. She had looked around, and seen what looked like hate in the driver's eyes. She tried cycling faster, but that didn't help, the truck was slowly catching up with her... then finally it actually caught up with her, knocking her from her bike.... and she was flying through the air..... screaming.

And that's when she woke up, shaking and screaming.

Her screaming was so loud that it woke her dad, who came in to her room to check she was ok. He stayed with her for a few minutes while she fully woke up, and had calmed herself down.

Jane was very shaken: she'd never had this nightmare before, and she worried that it might start repeating, like the other one. The other nightmare was bad enough, but this one was an order of magnitude scarier, and the thought that she might have it again worried her.

Of course, Jane also felt wet, so she went and changed herself.

It took Jane quite a while to get back to sleep again - the intense nightmare had clearly affected her, and she lay there thinking about it. And of Peter.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 14. November 2021, 21:20:28 PM
This story is really something special. Jane is the best developed character I've seen on this site. I'm looking forward to more exploration of her psychological condition.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 15. November 2021, 18:55:24 PM
Chapter 6

Jane had left school at 16. She didn't feel that she would be able to cope with full-time further education, so she went on what's called a 'traineeship program', which in her case meant starting in a sales office / call centre as a junior. Luckily, the place where she went was actually pretty good, they did actually give her some useful training, and she started to see how things like the maths she did at school got used out in the real world.

She was also trained to properly use a computer, which she enjoyed, and was actually good at, and after 9 months, they moved her into their IT department. Ok, she was still a junior, but she really enjoyed the work there, and whilst most of the IT team was guys, she never had any problems with anyone - Jane guessed that sort of thing comes down to attitudes, doesn't it? At first, she was the junior person who answered the phone calls when someone had a problem, logged the call, and was sometimes actually able to fix their problem. There was one guy who was really great at explaining stuff to her, and he helped her a lot, and Jane got really good at sorting many of the mundane problems... like 'I've forgotten my password', 'the printer isn't working' and that sort of thing. Quite soon, Jane was sent out into the offices and call centre to fix the simple problems, but she was learning all the time.

That lead onto her being shown how to do some simple tasks on the servers... at first the servers were in the company's computer room, but over time they started using computers and services out in the cloud... the whole idea of doing stuff in the cloud sort of clicked with Jane, and 10 years after she first started there, she's still working at the same place, but now works in the 'Cloud Services Delivery Team', as a 'Senior Engineer'. They have been really good at training her, especially in the last 4 years, as they have all needed to learn more about using the various cloud providers, and the many service that are available out there. Jane still loves learning, and new technologies don't scare her at all. She also loves sharing what she learns with the other guys in the team.

So, it's Monday, the day after the bike ride. Specifically Monday afternoon. It's been a very difficult day for Jane today, not so much the work, more emotionally. But so far she's just about managed to 'keep it together', mainly by keeping herself busy.

Jane was working on a python script, something to help automate some of the processes that happened in their cloud setup. She glanced up at the clock: 4 pm. Suddenly Jane's emotions welled up, and overcame her. Memories were flooding back, and she started to cry. Quite noticeably. The room went a bit quieter. Various eyes - male eyes - turned to look at her, but most of them had no idea what had happened to make Jane suddenly start crying, and - being guys - had absolutely no idea what they should do.

Sarah was at her own desk, busy working remotely on a new server, and noticed that things had gone a bit quiet, so looked around to see what was going on. At the other end of the room, she could hear crying. So she got up, and walked over, to find Jane sitting at her desk, face in her hands, and sobbing. Sarah suddenly realised what had caused it, and knew that Jane would not be cheering up any time soon.

"Hey, Jane, let's go somewhere a bit quieter, somewhere a bit more private" she said, putting an arm around her to comfort her. She led Jane out of the office, to a meeting room just along the corridor, and sat her down. "Fancy a coffee?" she asked Jane. Jane nodded.

"Ok, you stay here, no one will disturb you, I'll get us both a coffee....". As Sarah left the meeting room, she moved the indicater flap outside the room to the 'occupied' position. As Sarah was walking to the kitchen area, Brian, their boss came over to her.

"She ok?" asked Brian.

"No, not really, but I'll look after her. I'm actually a bit surprised she came in today" replied Sarah.

"Yeah. Look, if you want, why don't you take her home early? I'm sure we owe both of you more than a few hours!" Clearly Brian also understood, at least in principle, what the issue was.

"I might just do that. Let me get her a drink, then I'll go save whatever she was working on". Sarah made the coffees, and took a couple of biscuits from the 'visitors biscuits' box, as well as some tissues, and returned to the meeting room.

"After you've had your coffee, I'll take you home" Sarah said to Jane. "I'm just gonna go and save whatever you were working on, and close down your PC, mine too.... I'll be back in a moment." She made sure Jane would be ok by herself, then went and saved the editting Jane had been doing, closed the many windows that were open (she recognised pretty much everything Jane had open, so felt quite confident in closing them all), then did the same on her own PC.

Sarah popped into Brian's office as she walked back to see Jane. "I've closed both our computers down, I'm going to go sit with Jane, then take her home.... so see you tomorrow!". She went back to the meeting room, and sat with Jane. She didn't bother asking her 'how she was', because she KNEW she felt like sh*t. So she just sat there next to Jane quietly, keeping her company, while they silently drank their coffees.

Having a warm drink seemed to help Jane to calm down a bit. She wiped her eyes with the tissues.

"Ready to go home?" Sarah asked. "I saved that script you were working on, and shut your PC down..."

"Thanks, Sarah... yeah, let's go. And thanks...." replied Jane softly.

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 17. November 2021, 18:01:26 PM
You might be happy to hear that in the NEXT chapter (so not the one below) you will finally learn a bit about Jane's back-story, so hold on in there!


Chapter 7

Unsurprisingly, mum was in a bit of a mood when Jane got home, not wanting to talk about anything. To be honest, Jane felt that her mum was still a bit in denial. To pre-empt any of the sort of 'you never do anything' arguments, which Jane felt could happen today, Jane decided to make the dinner. The main ingredient was mince beef, so the obvious thing to make was spaghetti bolognaise, or similar, but Jane decided that might not be the best thing to make today. Instead, she got out some onions, which she chopped finely, and mixed it with the beef, along with some garlic and seasoning, and quickly cooked it. While it cooled, she made up some pastry - that was something she was good at - and made a beef and onion pie. Mum heard what Jane was doing, came out to check, then left without saying anything.

With the pie cooking in the oven, Jane got out some vegetables: she prepared a few new potatoes, some carrots and some leeks. While she was preparing the veg, her dad came home, and came out to the kitchen.

"Oh, hi Jane!" he said. "I guess your mother is in the lounge then?"

"Hi dad" said Jane. Her dad looked a bit tired after his day at work. "Yes, she's in the lounge. Dinner should be ready in about 10 minutes....". Jane actually liked cooking, she found that it relaxed her, and removed her stresses, which she definitely needed today.

With the pie cooking, and the veg simmering, Jane made some gravy to go with it all, then went into the dining area, and put out the mats and some cutlery, plus the salt & pepper. Back in the kitchen, she put 3 plates into the oven to heat up for a couple of minutes: the pie was looking good.

Three minutes later, she got the plates out of the oven with the oven gloves, drained the vegetables, and started to serve up the food onto the 3 plates, which she then took through to the dining area.

"Dinner's ready" announced Jane. Her mum looked a little less stressed as she sat down. It was a strange dinnertime: everyone was eerily quiet, hardly any conversation.

For desert, Jane opened a tin of fruit, and added a scoop of ice-cream.

"Thank you, Jane, that was nice" said her dad, as he took the dirty dishes out to the kitchen, and put them into the dishwasher.

Jane had just finished washing up the couple of bits that wouldn't go into the dishwasher, when her phone rang. "Hi Simon!" said Jane

"Hi Jane... hey, how are you? Sarah told me things got a bit difficult at work....". Luckily Jane knew Simon well enough, and the way Simon had asked was actually in a very caring voice.

"Yeah, I'm feeling quite a bit better, I just cooked dinner, that helps me cope better..."

"Ok, well, I was thinking... there's a park down the road from where you live, isn't there? How about I meet you there, with some beers, and we can sit and chat... or even just sit... whatever. It's a nice evening...."

"Yes, I'd like that a lot... I don't think I can stay here this evening, you can almost cut the atmosphere with a knife... What time?"

"As soon as you like: I'll leave straight away, and get the beers on the way"

"Ok, see you there soon!"
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: agarionoob on 17. November 2021, 20:01:49 PM
Great story with really interesting character development! Looking forward to seeing what happens with Jane next!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: kelly-Marie on 18. November 2021, 09:36:51 AM
This is a really great story Jane has an air of mystery about her like we know something really awful happened to her but no idea what although I've got a few ideas in my head what mite have gone on serioseley if I'm right it's scarily close to something that happened in real life to my own family years ago but enough about that keep up the good work looking forward to the next chapter
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 19. November 2021, 20:58:08 PM
Chapter 8

Jane was already at the park when Simon arrived, she was sat up against the trunk of a big tree. Simon sat down next to her, close, but not too close, and opened his bag, took out a 4-pack of beers, passing one to Jane, and taking one for himself.

"There's another pack in the bag, if we need them!" said Simon.

Jane took the can, and opened it, and before taking a drink from it, held it up in the air. "To my darling Peter" she said, making a toast, then taking a swig.

"Yes, to Peter!" added Simon. They sat there silently for several minutes.

"It was a year ago today" said Jane. "Of course, last year it was a Sunday" she added, taking another swig from the can. "I thought I was managing ok at work today, until I looked up at the clock, and saw it was 4 o'clock."

Whilst Simon knew that Jane's brother, Peter, had been killed in an accident a year ago, he actually knew very little of what actually happened. 'Knocked down by a truck' was all he had heard.

"So what happened at 4 o'clock then?" asked Simon innocently

"That's when the police came around and told us. Peter had gone around to see a friend, and stay for Sunday Lunch... as ever, he cycled there. You know, he was a really good careful cyclist. He taught me that I needed to cycle very defensively - it's all very well being right, but that doesn't help when you're in hospital with a broken leg - cars are a lot bigger than bodies!"

"Yeah, I know what you mean...." said Simon.

"So I'm sure he was riding amazingly carefully... unlike the lorry driver...."

Jane seemed to be willing to talk about what had happened last year, so Simon asked her "so what exactly happened, do you know?"

"Well, from what the reports said, Peter was riding along the road quite carefully - a couple of drivers who saw what happened specifically commented on that. Anyway, it seems the truck driver wasn't paying enough attention: he was coming along a side road, and pulled into the main road that Peter was on. He'd not seen any cars, but hadn't thought to look for bikes, and turned out from the side road without stopping.". Simon got the definite feeling that Jane wanted to tell him the story. Maybe even needed to.

"They said he probably didn't even know what happened, which I must admit I'm glad of. Of course, we were at home: I was waiting for Peter to get back. I even tried calling him on his mobile, but it appeared to be off. The first thing we knew was when there was a knock at the front door, at just after 4". Jane finished off the remains of the can of beer, and Simon passed her another.

"I went to the door: there was a uniformed guy and a plain-clothed guy, they asked if I was Ms Smith - I guess they realised I was too young to be Peter's mum! - then asked to come inside. I introduced mum and dad, then they said they were very sorry, but Peter had been killed in a road accident. Looking back, I think I was in shock, but felt strangely calm. Mum was the opposite, and started to cry. Dad was dad, holding in his emotions like he always did, and tried to comfort mum."

Jane paused a moment, taking another swig from the can of beer. Simon sat there, remaining silent, letting Jane tell her story.

"They said they would need someone to formally identify him at some point, so I offered to go back with them and do it straight away. I mean, there was no way mum would be able to do it, and she needed dad there with her, so it seemed the obvious thing to do. Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but hindsight is a great thing. So about an hour later, I was in the morgue, about to identify him. They told me that I might be a bit shocked, he was in a bit of a mess... but just then, I happened to look down at his hand. 'Do I actually need to see his face?' I asked. 'I can identify him from his hand....'. 'What do you mean?' asked the police guy. I took Peter's hand in mine: 'These are his two rings, I know them very well, it's definitely him'. He went and had a word with someone, and when he came back, he said that would be fine - after all they already had his wallet with ID in it. 'I don't suppose I could have the rings, could I?' I asked, still holding Peter's hand, 'it would mean a lot to me'. Well, I don't know whether he was supposed to, but he took me away and sat and had a coffee with me, and a few minutes later, the ME brought the rings through, and I put them on my fingers". Jane held her hand up, and showed Simon the two rings on her fingers. "And that's where they've been ever since, so I can have a bit of him with me all the time...."

Jane and Simon sat quietly for a minute, sipping their beers.

"So he was what... 2 or 3 years older than you?"

"He was only 18 months older than me, I guess that's why we were so close. Ever since I was born, he was always there for me... I get the feeling you and Sarah are a bit like that?"

"Yeah, we're just over 2 years apart, and yeah, that small age gap does make you close. I don't know what I would do without Sarah...". Simon realised that last bit was probably not the best thing to have said, but it was too late now.

"God, I miss him so much......." said Jane, starting to cry a little. Simon took her hand in his, holding it gently to try and comfort her. "I still have nightmares you know... I'm riding my bike, and I'm being chased by a massive lorry. They started the night Peter died, and they seem to go in cycles, I'll have it every night for a few days, then I'll be ok for a few days."

"So, does the truck actually catch you up?"

"Not normally. I normally wake up just before it catches up with me. Until this morning, that is"

"Oh... so what happened this morning?"

"It caught up with me! It knocked me from my bike, sending me flying through the air, screaming. I screamed so loud it woke up dad, who came through to check I was ok." Jane had already decided that Simon didn't need to know about the incontinence pads or plastic panties, nor that she peed herself whenever she had a nightmare.

Simon had no idea how to respond, so just sat there quietly with Jane.

"It's often hard for me to get to sleep" continued Jane. She pulled up the sleeve of her top. "I find a bit of pain can be quite comforting..."

"Oh, Jane, that's not good....."

"Yeah, I know, but it does help for some strange reason..."

They sat quietly for a few minutes, gently drinking their beers.

"Did you ever get any form of counselling?" asked Simon

"Yeah, I went to a few 'Trauma Counselling' sessions, but they didn't really help me... not really sure why.... maybe it was the counsellor, or maybe I just wasn't ready for it". Another drink of beer. "Hey, I think we're gonna need the second pack of beer..." added Jane, finishing off the can.

"You ever talk with your mum and dad about it?"

"No, I haven't"

"Why not?"

"Well, dad's not one for sharing his feelings, he tends to keep them to himself. Mum... well, we've not had the best of relationships this last year"

"Maybe now is a good time to have a try, it's a year on...." suggested Simon.

Jane took a deep breath. "Well....."

"Go on, I'm sure it would help you, and your mum and dad...."

"I'm not quite sure what to say to them..."

"You've been managing fine talking with me tonight ....". Another pause.

"I'll tell you what... talking with you tonight has probably been the best bit of therapy I've had so far" said Jane. ".. although I'm sure the beer has helped too!"

"Well, I'm here if you need me - I try to be a good listener.... And getting beer is even easier!"

"Thank you Simon....."

"But I really think you should talk to your mum and dad, and from what you've said, I don't imagine either of them are likely to start the ball rolling. Tell me you'll give it a go..."

"Ok, yeah, I'll try"

"Tonight, when you get home. It's not that late...." insisted Simon

They sat for a bit longer, sometimes silent, sometimes chatting. As a result of the beer and the chatting, Jane actually felt a bit better about life.

"Simon, thank you so much for tonight... it has been amazingly good to share things with you...."

"That's fine, as I said, I'm here if you need me...". Simon walked Jane back to her house (it wasn't far away) then went back to his car and drove off. Jane went into the house. She had been thinking about what Simon had said, and decided that he was quite right, she needed to talk with her mum and dad, and she was going to have to be the one to start things.


Mum and dad were sitting on the settee with a bit of a gap between them, watching something on the TV. Jane grabbed the TV remote, then forced her way in between them, then used the remote to turn off the TV. Before either of them could complain, she said to them both. "Mum, dad, we need to talk..."

"Talk? What about?" asked her dad.

"Well, about you, and mum, and me... and Peter! It's been a year now, dad, and I've never seen you shed a tear.. you keep everything bottled up inside you, and I know that can't be good for you..... Ok, let me start.....".

Jane spent a few minutes trying to express how she had been feeling... about losing Peter, about the way that she felt that the three of them were no longer as close as they used to be. Very slowly, both her parents started talking too. An hour later, Jane made them all a drink. An hour after that, her mum got out some old pictures of all of them, taken a few years ago, on one of those old things called a 'camera' that used 'rolls of film'! Tears were shed - even her dad finally managed to cry a bit, which Jane considered to be a big step. A lot of things were talked about. There was even hugging.

The most important thing as far as Jane was concerned was that, finally, a year on, they were actually talking together about the love of Jane's life: her darling brother Peter.

"I think you'd better just tell them you're not going into work today, dad, that's what I'm going to do" said Jane, when they all finally decided that it REALLY was time for bed - was nearly 4 in the morning.

Jane went upstairs. She took off her glasses, removed her hearing aids - which she put into the small dryer - then went into the bathroom and brushed her teeth. Back in her room she took off her clothes, except her panties, into which she put a clean and dry incontinence pad, then put on her plastic pants, followed by her pyjamas. She got into bed, and before putting her phone on charge, she disabled the alarm for later, then sent 3 texts. To Brian, her boss, she sent 'Sorry, Brian, but I won't be in to work today, but if you need me, call me... but please wait till after lunch!!". She sent a similar one to Sarah, but adding her thanks for being so nice to her at work. Finally she sent a simple one to Simon 'Been talking with mum & dad - Thanks.  xx'

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: kelly-Marie on 20. November 2021, 16:08:37 PM
Poor Jane she's really had a terrible year I'm glad we now know what happened a year ago its also good that none of it was Jane's fault  I hope now her life improves keep up the good work
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 21. November 2021, 05:38:21 AM
The backstory reveal was well done, and it had good foreshadowing beforehand. It's good to see Jane and her family start mending their relationship. Can't wait until the next chapter!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 21. November 2021, 16:04:17 PM
Chapter 9

Jane slept well - she had no nightmares, which also meant that she was dry, which was nice. She was very pleased to find, when she finally woke up and went downstairs - some time after midday - that her dad had indeed taken the day off work. She went over to him, and hugged him, and he hugged her back.

"Thank you for doing what you did last night - you were right, we do need to talk a bit more! And yes, I miss Peter too!" said her dad.

"How's mum?"

"She's still asleep in bed. This last year has been hard for her, and I think talking about things will help her. I dont think she fully realised how you felt, so be gentle to her when you see her"

"Don't worry, I will. Want another coffee?"

Mum came down a bit later, and later in the afternoon, they all talked a bit more.

Also in the afternoon Jane went into town: her mission today was to try and find out if anywhere did any sort of make-up courses, or some form of 1:1 coaching. She had some success on that - in one of the places that sold lots of make-up, one of the assistants actually did make-up tutorials online, and offered to do something with Jane out of hours They didn't discuss too much in the way of details, but she indicated that if she was willing to let her video Jane, then the cost could be pretty minimal.

Back at home, while Jane's mum made dinner, Jane called Simon.

"Hi Simon!"

"Hi Jane! I see from your text that you were up late last night, plus Sarah tells me you weren't at work today"

"Yeah, although it was more early this morning. Mum and dad and me had a long talk... and again this afternoon."

"Oh, that's good, did it help?"

"I think so. At least we're starting to talk about things. Anyway, what you doing tonight?"

"Nothing as yet..."

"How would you like to meet up in the park again? I really enjoyed last night. You could ask Sarah if she'd like to come - don't force her, only if she wants to. And I'll get some beer this time"

"Ok, what sort of time you thinking?"

"Seven thirty?"

"Ok, I'll be there... and I'll see if Sarah wants to come along"

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 23. November 2021, 23:45:06 PM
Chapter 10

So, at 7:10, Jane left home and walked down to the local shop, and bought some cans of beer, then walked to the park. Once again it was a pleasant evening, and she didn't have to wait long before both Simon and Sarah arrived.

"Simon, thanks for last night" said Jane giving him a big hug. "And thank you too, Sarah, for what you did yesterday" she added, hugging Sarah too.

Jane passed around the beers, and they started chatting.

"You sound to be a lot more relaxed today" said Simon. "Any nightmares last night? Or should I say this morning.."

"No, I had one of my best sleeps for ages....". They kept talking about various almost random things.

"Hey, did anyone comment about me not being in at work today?"

"A couple of people were wondering, so I explained you were having a personal day at short notice."

"Brian say anything?"

"No, he had got your text too, and seemed fine"

"Oh, good....". They continued talking about other things.

Things had gone quiet for a moment, and then Jane asked: "I have a question for both of you...". She paused.

"Yeah, go on...."

"Umm.... did either of you.... have braces as a kid?"

"Yeah, we both did" replied Sarah

"Yeah, I got mine first, and Sarah got hers soon after"

"What were they like?"

"Do I guess you might be thinking of getting braces yourself?" asked Simon

"Yeah, maybe.... I've thought about it a few times.... so how were they? What braces did you have?"

"Well, I just had those metal train-tracks, along with a screw thing in the top of my mouth for a bit." started Simon. "What were they like? Wow, that was a few years ago... I seem to remember they hurt a bit to start with, both my teeth and my cheeks, which got caught by the braces. Oh, and I had a lisp because of the screw thing for a while. Mind you, my lisp wasn't half as bad as Sarah's!" added Simon, smiling. Jane could see that his teeth were still in good shape.

"Oh why, what did she have that gave her a lisp?" asked Jane

"Poor Sarah, when I was taken to the orthodontist, of course Sarah came along too, and a few months after I got my braces, she got this huge removable appliance"

"Yeah, I hated you for having to go to the orthodontist, that was a horrible thing I had to wear. Plastic top and bottom, all over my teeth, that kept my jaws apart. Wires to clip it in, and wire around the front too. And a screw thing in the top one. I had that thing for nearly 9 months, and it was so hard to talk with it in. I used to often take it out at school, so I could talk to my mates. Then I got train-tracks too after that!" said Sarah

"How long did you have them?"

"So, I had the removable for 9 months, then about another year in the train-tracks." replied Sarah.

"I had my screw thing for just over 6 months, and I had them for about a year and a half in total"

"But I'm guessing you managed to cope?"

"I didn't really have an option, but luckily neither of us were the only ones in our classes with braces. But, to be honest, once I got the train-tracks, they weren't all that bad. Yeah, like Simon, sore to start with, but I almost forgot I had them... except for when I had to brush them. That was the only GOOD thing about the removables: brushing was so easy!"

"Oh, yeah, the brushing!" said Simon. "It always took so long, trying to get behind the braces. We both had to show mum we'd done it properly afterwards!"

"I don't think you were quite as good at it as I was, I remember you used to often get told off!" commented Sarah.

"What about the other kids? How did they treat you?"

"Oh, anyone that wasn't 'normal' got picked on in one way of another... so that was about half the class! Glasses. Strange haircuts. Being a swot. Braces, of course. But it was really just a matter of giving back as much as you got, some kids were better at that than others. And Sarah and I used to help each other, giving each other ideas for comebacks and so on. So you never had braces as a kid - how come?"

"I was one of those 'anyone who wasn't normal' kids: I had a terrible pair of glasses that mum chose for me. I hated them, they were ugly, and I couldn't persuade her to let me have something nicer until I needed new ones - and I made sure she had no say for my next pair! But it left a mark. I was still a girl in glasses, a 'four-eyes' and so on, it was just that the new glasses weren't quite as naff as my original ones. So when it came to braces, I just dug my heels in: I already got enough sh*t at school from having glasses, there was no way I would have ever coped with glasses AND braces! So I just had to suffer from having glasses and crooked teeth. Peter tried his best to help me, but I don't think I was as strong-willed as you two"

"So how bad ARE your teeth? I've seen them from the front, and can see some obvious issues, but something tells me it might be a bit more than that" commented Simon.

Jane smiled widely, letting both Simon and Sarah see her front teeth, then opened her mouth to let them see the war-zone inside. It said something for the trust that Jane had for both of them, as I don't think she would have shown them to anyone else, not even her parents.

Sarah visibly winced as she saw how bad Jane's teeth actually were.

"Yes, I don't think there's any doubt that you have an issue there" said Simon. "Have you been to see an orthodontist yet?"

"No, I haven't. I must admit, I'm actually a bit scared to...."

"Why are you scared? Are you ok going to see your dentist?"

"I'm fine with my dentist"

"Well, from what I remember, orthodontic visits can be a bit long - like when you get your braces on - and a bit boring, but I never remember any real pain when visiting. I guess the worst when he was pushing those bands onto my back teeth, that held my screw thing in place." said Simon

"No, I don't remember a lot of real pain, more soreness that happens for a bit after, when you get home, and painkillers seemed to help a lot with that" added Sarah.

"How many orthodontists did you have to visit, to decide which one to go to?" asked Jane

"Oh, just the one, but we were getting NHS treatment, so didn't get the option. I guess as an adult, you're paying for it privately, so like buying a car, you want to have a look around.".

Jane said nothing for a moment, then said "Umm, if I went to visit a couple of orthodontists, I don't suppose one of you would come with me, would you?"

"Sure" said Simon.

"Yeah, of course I would" added Sarah.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: annasun251 on 24. November 2021, 09:13:52 AM
Interesting and well thought out story, thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: bracessd on 24. November 2021, 17:36:54 PM
Good job. Looking forward to seeing what treatment Jane will get!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 25. November 2021, 10:26:28 AM
The orthodontia has arrived! I'm interested in seeing how this will affect Jane.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 25. November 2021, 21:13:22 PM
Chapter 11

Jane was feeling quite positive when she arrived at work the day after: having the day off on the Tuesday had given her the chance to spend some time with, and talk to, her mum & dad. She was actually a bit early, and the first one in.

She put her bag, along with the tins she's brought in with her, onto her desk, switched on her laptop, then went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. The kettle had just boiled, and she was filling up a cafetiere with hot water, when her boss, Brian, walked in.

"Oh, hi there Jane! Good to see you!". Jane wasn't quite sure whether he was being nice, or a bit sarcastic.

"Good morning Brian!" she replied

"Ah, yes... Jane... when you're ready, can you come into my office - and bring your coffee with you!"


Jane went and logged into her laptop, checked to see if there were any important emails - there weren't, apart from one saying that there would be a short departmental meeting at 10am. Next she took the picture, in it's frame, out of her bag - it was a nice picture of Peter that she's got printed yesterday - and put it in pride of place on her desk. She didn't know why she hadn't thought of doing that before.

Finally, Jane picked up her cup of coffee, and went to Brian's office.

"Close the door, and sit down" said Brian as she entered.

"Am I in trouble for yesterday?" asked Jane

"No, of course not - thanks for the text by the way: you clearly had a bit of a late night! Sarah reminded me what it was all about. Look, if you need any more time off, it's not an issue. Anyway, I need to talk to you before the 10am meeting"

"Yeah, I saw about that, what's happening?" asked Jane. Jane knew that these meetings usually meant that someone important was leaving. Or joining. Or being moved around in the organisation

"You know, I realised yesterday that I've never really taken a good look at your HR record since I joined the company 2 years ago, so I took the opportunity to do so. You joined us 10 years ago, on the traineeship program, didn't you? Then moved into IT. And you've have been progressing amazingly well ever since. And you're still with us. Have you ever thought about leaving, moving on to something different, something more interesting?"

"No, I haven't. I enjoy working here: the people are good, and the job keeps me interested."

"From what I read, I get the feeling you're ok with change, with challenges. You've been responsible for coming up with several of the ideas for new things that have helped improve things here"

"I.T.'s moving fast, and we need to keep up with what's happening out there, change is going to happen, if we like it or not. If we don't keep up, none of us will have a job"

"Yes, very true. 'Very business aware' I seem to remember it said in your HR record! So, the question is whether you're going to be ok with some more changes around here?"

"You're not leaving are you, Brian?"


"John?" (John is Jane's 'Team Leader')


"Ok, what then?"

"Over the last couple of years, you've probably noticed that the size of the Cloud team has been slowly growing, and I've been talking to John about it. We've decided we need to split the team into two. One, headed by John, will mainly manage and maintain the existing setup, and the other team will be responsible for managing the major updates, developing new applications, and looking at new technologies"

"Ok, so I guess that means you have someone new joining us to head up that team?"

"Actually, no..."

"So who?"

"Jane, you really do underestimate yourself...."


"How would YOU feel about heading up that team?"


"Why not? Technically you are *more* than capable. I've seen you working with others out there, helping them to understand new stuff, helping them work out what they need to do to make something happen. Plus I've had some great feedback from some of our end-users about those 'how-to' guides you've been doing. You are also very good at searching for new technologies that might help us, so that's something we want to actually include as part of your job role."

Wow... Jane was shocked, but in a very positive way! "You really think I'm ready to be a Team Leader?"

"Absolutely. Ok, I suspect you will need some training on the 'leading teams' side of things, but that's no different from what John needed when he got promoted... he can probably suggest some suitable courses. Look, there's no actual 'man management' in the job, that's what I'm here for, it's more about taking on a technical task, and getting the team to deliver it for us. You, and your team, would be working closely with John and his team, and I have no doubt occasionally you'll need to borrow people from each other. So, what do you think?"


"Oh, I forgot one thing - you're going to have to take a slight pay rise! Look, if you need a day or two to think about it, that's fine...."

Jane took a very big breath, then exhaled. "No, that's ok.... I'll do it!" she replied with a big grin on her face. In fact the big grin revealed her crooked teeth, but for once, Jane didn't really mind.

"Great news, thank you Jane! I have no doubt you'll cope very well with the changes! Look, I'll be telling everyone about what's happening in the meeting at 10, so can you keep it under your hat till then?"

"Yeah sure"

"And Jane.... thank you, you're a great asset to the company!"

Jane was on cloud 9 as she came out of Brian's office. It was 9:30, so she had plenty of time to send out the email to her colleagues that she had been thinking about yesterday, and in fact, what had just happened made it even more relevant.

"Good morning all" the email started. "Sorry about making many of you you feel a bit awkward on Monday afternoon. But don't worry, I understand that it's often hard to know what to do in such circumstances.

Many of you will know what happened last year: my brother was killed - we found out at 4pm, a year ago to the day on Monday. Peter and I were very close, and it hit me hard... this last year has been hard for me at times, but having such a great team to come to work with every day made it all a LOT easier, so thank you all very much for being so understanding! The good news is that things seem to be getting better for me.

One of the things I do to help with my stresses is to cook, so you'll be happy to hear that I spent a bit of my day off yesterday cooking you all some Bakewell Tart - so please go get a coffee and grab a piece, it's in the kitchen!

You may have also noticed I just put a picture on my desk: it's a picture of Peter, my brother. Please, come across and take a look. Come and talk to me. It doesn't need to be about him, you can talk about anything. Even about old episodes of Red Dwarf, if you must! Just please don't just ignore me - I'm still a part of the team!

Love to you all!


Jane double-checked the email, and hit 'send'. Then she took the tins of Bakewell Tart into the kitchen. When she got back to her desk, Sarah was there.

"Nice picture" said Sarah. "... and good to see you back in the office!" she added, giving Jane a quick hug.

"Thanks" said Jane. "And thanks for last night too"

"So, what were you talking to Brian about in his office? Something to do with the 10 o'clock meeting?"

"You'll have to wait till the meeting..."

"Oh, come on..."

"Don't worry, it's nothing bad...."


"Oh wow, Jane, I'm SOOO pleased for you - you deserve it!" said Sarah after the meeting was over.

"Thank you" replied Jane.

"So who's gonna be in your team then?"

"Oh, come on Sarah, I only got the news myself less than an hour ago! I don't know! But here's a question for you: which team do you want to be on? And if you were in my team, would you be ok with me being your boss?"

"First question first.... I'm kinda torn between the two. I like stability, but new things can also be interesting. As for the second question: I have no problem with that at all!"

"Hey, Jane... well done" said Sunil, one of her other colleagues that she had spent a lot of time working with: she had no doubt that he would want to be part of her team, he loved trying out new stuff.

The short meeting caused a lot of chat and speculation, and many of her colleagues came over and chatted to Jane, both about her email, as well as to congratulated her, and fish a bit about who would be in her team.

Later in the day, Jane, John and Brian had a short meeting: they decided that they needed to have a very short chat with each person in the department to find out if they had a preference for which team they wanted to be in. Without much thinking, there were 3 people that Jane knew would want to be in her team, they all loved new things, but they would still need to be formally asked. Similarly, there were people who preferred working with the existing systems, and they would therefore be better working in John's team.

Jane also spent some time with John, talking a bit about the responsibilities of being a team leader, plus finding out about suitable training for her.

It was very clear to Jane that her life was about to start changing, and that she needed to change with it. Yes, Jane was ok with technical change, she'd proven that at work. She was still a little less certain about her personal life though - if only she could talk to Peter about it all, he would know what she should be doing, but that wasn't an option any more was it, so it was really going to be up to her.

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 28. November 2021, 18:35:00 PM
Chapter 12

Jane had left work a little early: she was in a pleasantly good mood. Today had been a really good day... she and mum and dad were talking, plus she'd got that promotion. Maybe her life was actually changing for the better? Well, she decided that she was going to have a bit of fun tonight, for band practice, which required her popping into the shops on the way home.

"Someone looks very happy today" said Jane's mum as she arrived home and walked into the lounge.

"Yeah, yesterday and today have been *very* good days!" teased Jane

"Did something good happen at work?"

"Something VERY good happened at work today: I've been promoted to be a Team Leader!"

"Oh, Jane, I'm so proud of you!".......

"Thanks mum. Look, I need to go up and do something, I'll be back down in about... hmm... an hour" said Jane, taking the bag she'd bought upstairs with her. 55 minutes later she came down again.

Her mum was in the kitchen, getting dinner ready. She turned and looked at Jane.

"Oh my, not seen you like that for a while!". Jane had coloured her hair black (rather than her normal browny - reddy colour) and it was parted to the sides. Plus she was wearing a dark T-shirt, a black skirt with black tights underneath, and some dark makeup, along with some dark red lipgloss - just like she used to in her late teens. Oh, yeah, she had put on her old pair of DMs: Jane was dressed as a goth!

"Yeah, I think I need to mature my style a bit, but I thought I'd like to dress up like this one last time! So, do you need any help with dinner?"

"You could lay the table if you like" suggested her mum


It was just on 8 o'clock when she arrived at band practice.

"Wow, Jane, that is amazing! It certainly brings back a few memories!" said Jimmy, one of the guys in her band, when he saw Jane dressed as a Goth. "Mainly good ones, I hasten to add!"

"The 'new Jane' is it?" asked Ruth.

"No, very much the OLD Jane" replied Jane. "I think it's maybe time to move on with my life, and I thought it would be fun to dress up like a goth just one last time...."

A few minutes later Josh arrived: he was their drummer. "Good evening all... oh, nice one Jane!" he said in greeting.

"Hi Josh..." Jane replied.

"Hey, what are we all up to on Saturday night?" he asked them. "I just had a call from Brian, at The Anchor: one of their two bands can't make it on Saturday, he wondered if we were up to stepping in. It's about time we went and performed again, so I vote yes!".

They chatted for a few minutes, and decided that yes, it would be fun, and yes, they were ready (more specifically, Jane felt that she was ready) for performing again... or would be after a good evening's rehearsal: for the first time in ages, they had a real reason to actually rehearse.

"Hey, guys, if Jane fancies dressing up like this again on Saturday, why don't we all dress up retro as well?" suggested Josh.


Jane was in a very positive mood when she got back home: she'd not only had a good day at work, but things with her parents were a lot better, plus they had had a really great evening rehearsing what they would be playing on Saturday.

She went to the kitchen and made herself a drink, then sat in the lounge for a while to wind-down after the comparative excitement of band practice. Dad had already gone up to bed, but mum was still there, watching the end of a TV programme: after it finished, Jane had a nice, but short, chat with her mum.

Her drink finished, she went up to her room. She took off her glasses and hearing aids, putting them on her dressing table, then removed her goth clothes, smiling: it had been fun to dress up like that again. In fact, she was very tempted to dress like that for work tomorrow.

Rehearsal had made her a bit hot and sticky, so she went and had a shower (where she was also able to remove her makeup), then came back, and got herself ready for bed. It was odd, she felt pleasantly ready to go to sleep tonight - she didn't even feel that she needed the pain of biting her arm tonight.

It was somewhere between 8 minutes and 8 hours later (dreaming is like that, a minute can be an hour, or an hour a minute): Jane was riding her bike along the road. Yes, that bike, that road. Behind her, she could hear the sound of a big truck, getting closer. She looked around to check: yes, it was THAT huge truck again, chasing her.

'What? AGAIN? You gotta be kidding me!!' thought Jane. 'I'm getting REALLY fed up of this!'. I think Jane had finally had enough of these nightmares, and was about to do something about them. Rather than trying to cycle faster like she normally did, she moved out from the kerb, and into the middle of the lane, and even a bit further over in the lane: there was no way the truck driver could NOT see her today. Then she started to slow down, then she finally stopped. She heard the hiss of the air brakes of the truck as it stopped behind her.

Jane got off her bike, and looked up at the truck driver. 'I've really had ENOUGH of this!' shouted Jane out loudly. 'Stop following me, will you.... Just go away, go on, GO AWAY!!' screamed Jane. As she looked at the truck, it started to fade away, being replaced by the rather nice views from the top of a hill, out in the countryside. The sun was shining, and Jane turned to look around her.

'Peter?.... Peter!' shouted Jane as she saw her brother standing there.

'Hello Jane....' said Peter. They embraced.

'Peter, I thought you were... dead?'

'I am, but I'm still alive in your heart and in your dreams. I'm here whenever you want me...'

'I've missed you so much!'

'I know you have, but you don't need to worry about me, I'm ok. And I think you are too, aren't you? By the way, I do like the goth look, it's been a while since I've seen you like that! But maybe it's time you finally moved on. You're an adult now. An intelligent lady who people look up to' continued Peter. 'Oh, and well done on your promotion - you deserve it, and you're ready for it, I think!'

'Yeah, you're right, I do need to move on. I just fancied being a goth again just one last time...'

'You ought to dress like that to work tomorrow: show them that you are in charge of your own life now, that you don't really need their approval! You know, if only you'd stop putting yourself down, you'd feel a lot better - you're not bad looking you know. Look, Jane, no-one is perfect, it's just that people get good at hiding things, or ignoring things. There's nothing wrong with you.... well, maybe you could do with getting your teeth fixed, but apart from that, you're fine.... You just need to be more confident in yourself.'

Jane held Peter close, and closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of his arms around her once again.

Jane opened her eyes again, and found she was in her bed, in her bedroom, hugging her pillow tightly. For the first time in a long time Jane felt really calm. Relaxed. Happy. Dry. Had she really just met Peter's spirit, or was it just her sub-conscience remembering him? I guess it didn't really matter, as Peter had just pointed out, he was still very much alive in her heart, and clearly also in her dreams.

Jane looked at her phone, to see what time it was: she still had 15 minutes before her alarm went off, and she spent those 15 minutes remembering the many good times she had spent with her brother.

Life was starting to look a lot better for Jane.

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 30. November 2021, 16:54:01 PM
Chapter 13


Jane was not at all apprehensive as she boldly walked into her office, dressed in her goth outfit. Like last night, she was all in black, with dark eye-shadow, and heavy dark lipstick, not forgetting her old DMs. There were probably only 2 people in the office who would remember that Jane sometimes used to dress like that, and that was about 7 or 8 years ago: a lot of things had changed in that time!

Eyes turned to look at her, and the place went almost silent. Jane smiled back at them all.

"Respect, Jane, you look pretty amazing!" said one of the guys.

"Ah, going for the alternative look now you're a team leader, eh?" said another, very clearly joking.

"Jane, not seen you dressed like THAT for a few years" said Sarah. "It actually looks pretty good!"

"Probably the last time you'll see me like this too... it's time for a change, but I wanted to have a bit of fun first!" replied Jane. "Oh, by the way, what you and Simon doing on Saturday night?"

"Um, not sure, why?"

"My band is playing at the Anchor.."

"You kept that quiet!"

"It only got arranged last night, it was very much a last minute thing"

"You're in a band? I never knew that! And you're PLAYING at the Anchor? Cool! What's the band called?" asked Jim, one of her colleagues.

"It's odd, but we don't actually have a name.... and yeah, I play bass. Come along if you like rock stuff"

Jane was in the kitchen a few minutes later, making herself a coffee, when her boss Brian, walked in. Needless to say, he stared at Jane: he'd never seen her dressed quite like this before.

"Don't worry, Brian, it's just for the one day, something I need to get out of my system...." explained Jane.

"And there was I, thinking it was your new 'Team Leader look'!" joked Brian

"Hmm, don't tempt me" replied Jane. "Hey, Brian, you gonna be ok if I work short afternoons today and tomorrow?". Jane's company worked flexible hours, so it wasn't as if she was actually taking time off, she knew she had plenty of time banked. It was more out of politeness that she asked.

"Yeah, sure, that's fine...."

By leaving this afternoon at about 4, she would have an hour or so to go visit a hairdressers, and discuss what she could do with her hair. She also wanted to go and have a word with that girl about makeup tutorials.

You may be wondering why she's not spending that time looking for an orthodontist... well, whilst Jane is feeling quite a lot better about herself, she's not yet feel THAT much better. The idea of going to see an orthodontist still worries her. I don't know WHY, I guess it's like some people don't like going to the dentist. Or to school. Or to work for that matter!

Jane had done a bit of checking about the three main hairdressers in town. It was very clear that one was aimed much more at 'the older lady', and of the other two, one was getting good reviews. She rang them, and asked if it would be possible to come in and have a short chat about what she'd like doing with her hair: that was not a problem, and could she make about 4:15?

"Good afternoon, I'm Jane Smith, here to see Amber" said Jane to the receptionist, as she arrived at the hairdressers a few minutes early. We have to remember that Jane was dressed as a bit of a goth, but the receptionist didn't seem to care, clearly she had seen all sorts of looks in her time!

"Hi Jane, Amber is just finishing with a client, so please take a seat, and I'll let her know you are here"

"Hi Jane, I'm Amber, would you like to come with me?". She was lead to one of the cutting chairs, and Amber brought a chair over and sat next to her. "So, you are looking for a restyling then? Staying with the same look though?"

Jane explained that the goth thing was not her normal look, it was just for a day or two, that she needed to 'move on with her life', and felt that it was time that her waist-lenth hair was gone.

"So how short would you like to go?... hey, let me get a couple of books of pictures, to give you an idea". She opened the book that showed a model with very short hair, and passed it to Jane

"Oh, no, definitely not THAT short...".

"Ok, how about this then?" suggested Amber, showing her a couple of different bob cuts. "Ok, how about this one?": Amber showed her a cut that was just above the shoulders.

"Oh, yes, that's nice, yeah, that sort of length..."

"Ok" said Amber, picking up the other book, and turning to a page partway in. "Have a look at those, see if anything inspires you. Oh, you thinking about a fringe? There's several there with a fringe, if you're interested"

Jane took a look through the pictures. The idea of a fringe did appeal, but she was worried that it was a pretty drastic step: if she didn't like it, it would take a while to grow out again. While she looked through the pictures, Amber brushed Jane's hair, trying to feel what it was like.

"You have nice hair, what's your natural colour then?"

"Ah, yes, I'm a browny-reddy colour. I just fancied going black for a bit, to go with my goth look - it's one of those 'lasts a week' ones"

"So, you wanting to reverting to your natural colour when I cut it? Or want to stay black?"

"I need to stay black for a couple more days - I'm playing a gig on Saturday, and I was planning on it being my last outing dressed like this!"

"Ok... so you decided about the fringe?"

"I really don't know, I mean, would it actually suit me?"

"Want a quick preview?"

"What do you mean?"

"I can pin your front hair back, and give you a sort-of fringe, so you can see what it looks like.... if you don't mind me trimming the hair a tiny bit"

"Ok....". Amber brushed her hair straight at the front, then took the front hair, and folded it and clipped it over the back of her head, using the ends to create a fringe, which she trimmed. Jane looked at herself in the mirror. "So, what do you think?" asked Amber.

Jane smiled: she actually liked the look. "Yeah, lets go for the fringe!". She spent a few more minutes looking at pictures and chatting with Amber before they worked out what Jane wanted doing. Then they walked over to reception together.

"Can you make 3pm tomorrow?" Amber asked jane, "I seem to have a nice slot just then"

"Yeah, why not, let's get this done!"

So, Jane left work on the Friday at just before 3, and went to have her hair cut: first a shampoo, then a wet cut, then a gentle blow-dry. She was dressed rather more normally, with very little makeup, as she wanted to be able see what it would look like normally, and she wasn't disappointed: her normally reddy-brown hair - currently still quite black - was now just above her shoulders, plus she had a fringe. With the weight removed from her hair, it now had a bit of a wave to it. Jane thought back: she'd not had hair this short since she was at primary school! And she'd never had a fringe before.

"You look happy with what I've done" said Amber

"Absolutely, and thanks! It's even better than I thought it would be!"

"I've tried to do it in a way that you should be able to do yourself" explained Amber. "Just give it a good brush out when you've washed it, and either let it dry naturally, or use a hairdryer whilst brushing it. You should find it a lot easier to look after now it's a lot shorter"

Jane was really pleased with her new look, and it had the added bonus that her hair felt so much lighter!

"Hey mum.." called Jane, when she got back home a little later.

"In the lounge" her mum replied. Jane walked in to the lounge, but said nothing. Her mum looked up at her... and stared, then a big smile appeared on her face. "Oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting that.... but it actually looks rather nice on you. I bet it feels strange, you've had long hair for so long"

That night, Jane went to bed feeling good with herself. She had chatted with her mum and dad a bit more this evening, and she was taking small steps to allow herself to move on with her life. Once again, she was sufficiently relaxed that she didn't feel the need to bite her arm. If only the bad dreams would just go away, Jane could really start to move on with her life.

"I love you Peter!" she said as she closed her eyes. Moments later she was fast asleep....

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: annasun251 on 01. December 2021, 19:32:44 PM
such an interesting story!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 01. December 2021, 22:16:30 PM
such an interesting story!

Thank you for your feedback, it's always nice to hear people are enjoying the story! You've probably spotted that I'm currently posting every other day, which seems to be about the pace I can write, although that might drop next week, as I'll be a bit busier. So another chapter for you all tomorrow!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: acornjohn2001 on 02. December 2021, 08:43:47 AM
Great work as usually, Sparky!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 03. December 2021, 01:21:43 AM
It's good to see things looking up for Jane. I always look forward to your postings.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 03. December 2021, 18:07:32 PM
Chapter 14

There were two bands playing at The Anchor on Saturday, and they would be on first, at 8pm, playing for an hour, so needed to be at the pub a bit before 7pm so they could get themselves setup and do a quick soundcheck (the other band had been there in the afternoon to set themselves up). The Anchor was actually a good place for small bands to play, because not only did they have a house PA system (with a guy who ran the PA), they also had a set of guitar amps, and even a drum kit, if you needed that. However, Josh preferred to take along his own electric drum kit, which he would plug into one of the amps. Otherwise, all they needed to take along were their own guitars and guitar leads!

"Oh, wow, amazing, I do like your hair!" commented Ruth, who was already there when Jane arrived. "It actually goes better with your goth look!".

"Thank you" replied Jane, "although I'm not planning on keeping the goth look beyond tonight. I feel that it's just time I did something with myself: I still dress quite a lot like I did as a teenager, but I'm in my twenties!"

"Well, I don't know what you think, but I think black hair actually suits you, you should keep it"

"Yeah, it's growing on me too, so maybe I will"

Ruth herself looked pretty good, dressed in a flowery short 60s style dress. Soon after, Jimmy arrived, dressed up in a very 1970s polo-neck shirt and bold checked trousers. Finally Josh got there: he was in an old flowery shirt and yellow bell-bottomed trousers. A strange set of stage outfits, but it wasn't about trying to be over-professional, it was really about having fun playing their music.


It was 7:45. The setup had been easy, only taking about 10 minutes, and the PA sounded good. Jane had spent the last few minutes putting on the rest of her goth makeup, but was now feeling a bit nervous. She was currently sat in the loo, partly to do what you might normally do in a loo, but partly because it was quiet. She sat there with her eyes closed and was now trying to relax. The main reason that she was feeling nervous was because they hadn't played live for over a year, and more specifically, Peter had always been there when they played before, but obviously he wasn't there tonight.

'Oh, Peter, I so wish you were here tonight!' thought Jane, in the quiet of her cubicle.

'But Jane, I AM here, you know I'll always be with you..' said a soothing voice in her head. 'Don't be worried, Jane - you can do this!'. Hearing his voice seemed to help a lot. 'But I'll tell you what, isn't it time you actually had a name for your band?'.

That last thought made Jane smile. Yes, they really DID need a name, and suddenly one came to mind. A bit of a strange one, but it just seemed to somehow fit.

Jane took a couple of deep breaths, then left the loo, and went into the small room where the band was.

"Guys... we've been together now for what... seven years? Or is it eight? I think it's time we had a name for the band!" she said.

"Ok....." said Jimmy, ".. and I'm guessing you have an idea for a name?"

"Yes, I do. I hope it doesn't sound too narcissistic though. I was thinking about 'Peter's Sister'...". There was a short silence as everyone thought about the name.

"You know" said Ruth, "I rather like it....."

"Yeah" added Josh, "I'm ok with that. After all, you're the one that originally got us together, and Peter helped us a lot too. What do you think, Jimmy?"

"Yeah" replied Jimmy, nodding, "let do it! 'Good evening everyone, we are Peter's Sister!'... Yeah, that works. A bit strange, but so are most bands names these days!"

"Thanks guys! And guys, thanks for all dressing up tonight, you all look quite amazing! Hey, I was thinking, can we change the way we start the set tonight? No introductions to start with, just straight into the first song, then I'll do the intro's after that?". Everyone seemed happy with the suggestion.

A few minutes later the guy who ran the PA came through. "You guys ready?" he asked.

"Yup. PA all set? We're going to go straight into our first song, and do the introductions after..."

"Ok, that works for me".

While he returned to the mixing console, Jane, Jimmy and Ruth grabbed their guitars, and Josh grabbed his drumsticks, and they all walked out onto the small stage. The three of them plugged in their guitars once again, quickly strumming them to check the volumes were right. Josh tested the level of his drums, then pressed the bass drum pedal thee times, then hit the snares a couple of times: the rest of the band joined straight in. As she played, all of Jane's stresses disappeared: she was really enjoying herself.

At the end of the song, they got a lot of applause. Jane could see several of the guys from work had come along, as had both Sarah and Simon.

"Hi everyone! I'm Jane, that's Josh on the drums, and Ruth and Jimmy on guitars. So, it's only taken us seven or eight years, but we finally have a name for our band: we are 'Peter's Sister'! <crowd applause> It's actually really good to be performing live again, it's been far too long - maybe if tonight goes ok, they'll ask us back sometime! I recognise a lot of faces out there from work: thanks for coming along guys, hope you all enjoy the evening! So, here's a song you might recognise, it's one we stole from Darkest Knights....". Jane started playing on her bass, then everyone else joined in.

By the end of the hour, Jane was soaked in sweat, partly from the playing, partly because the stage lights were quite hot (the pub still used those old incandescent lights, they hadn't upgraded to LED ones yet!), ans partly because there were so many people watching them, all warming the room up. They finished their last song, then unplugged their guitars and walked off the stage. However, it appears that the band had gone down very well, and the crowd had other ideas, and were calling for 'More.... more....', something that had never actually happened to them before.

They each quickly grabbed a towel, and wiped themselves down. "So, I guess we need to play one more.... any suggestions?" asked Jane.

"How about 'I predict a Riot'?" suggested Josh, half joking, half serious

"Yeah, good choice!" said Jane, smiling. "Everyone ok with that?" asked Jane. They walked back onto the stage to applause. "Ok, because you all asked so nicely, we'll slip in one more. This is one made famous by 'The Kaiser Chiefs'..."

With their set finally completed, Ruth helped Josh get his electric drum kit out of the way, so the other band could play their set. "Guys, that was such fun! I'd forgotten how good it was to play to an audience! Thank you all so much!" said Jane with a huge grin. After wiping herself down again, and then cooling off for a few minutes, she went with the others out to to the front of the stage, and joined the audience.

"Hey, Jane...." shouted Simon, to get her attention. "Well done! That was really good!" he added, giving Jane a nice hug. "There's a pint over here for you!". Simon was with Sarah, and several guys from work, including Jim.

"You know, I can't help but notice, but your hair looks quite different today...." said Simon. "You wearing a wig?"

"No, I got it cut yesterday: what do you think?"

"Well, it's certainly a bold change, but yeah, it suits you... I like it..."

"So THAT'S why you left work early yesterday!" said Sarah.

Jane sat down with the group from work, also persuading Ruth to join them.

"So how did you actually end up in a band then?" asked Jim from work. Jane explained briefly how she started to play bass, how she joined a band, but how they then all left, so she set up her own band. "The other day, when you said 'your band', I didn't realise you actually meant YOUR band! You are actually pretty amazing, Jane!"
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 05. December 2021, 18:07:16 PM
Chapter 15

We're almost 2 weeks later. Jane now has 3 members of IT working with her in her team, the other 7 are still with John. Of those, 4 wanted to stay in John's team, maintaining the existing stuff, the other 3 would work in which ever team needed them at the time, so might work with Jane in the future... the idea was to ease Jane in gently. Luckily the workload was currently on the low side, giving Jane and her team some time to work out what new things they felt should be done... that's on top of the preparations for a fairly major upgrade of the software the company used, due in a month or two's time.

During the team's chatting, Jane found out that one of them had a YouTube channel, and was pretty good at editing videos, so they decided that they would replace the weekly IT emails that she had started putting out several months ago, with a video. She ran the idea past Brian, and he said they should try it for a couple of weeks, and see what the response was.

Jane actually found being a team leader was better that she had thought, and her current team of three were very happy to work with her, which has made it a lot easier for her.

In terms of her dreams, since she had told the truck to 'Go away!', it HAD... she'd had no bad dreams since, which pleased Jane greatly: it was nice being able to sleep through the night, with the added bonus of being dry when she woke up.


So, Jane is sitting in the orthodontist's waiting room. There's a couple of other teenagers there, a girl and a boy. They both have braces, but the boy has glasses and a facebow, and to be honest, looks a bit geeky. Jane feels a bit sorry for him, it must be horrible wearing that metal wire thing on the front of your face!

"Jane Smith" says a voice. Jane looks to the door, where a lady in her 40's is standing. Jane gets up and follows her into the treatment room. "Sit up in the chair please" she commands rather brusquely. Jane does as told, and sits in the treatment chair. An older man, definitely in his 50's, maybe even in his 60's comes over, and sits on a stool next to her.

"Ah, yes, Jane Smith, we've got a bit of work to do on you today!" he said. Jane wasn't too keen on his manner, but there was little she could do about it. On her last visit, he had taken impressions of her teeth, both top and bottom, and she could still feel the spacers between several of her teeth: they had been sore for a couple of days.

The older woman, his assistant, brought a tray over and put it on the small table next to the orthodontist: Jane could see plaster moulds of her top and bottom teeth, and each had a metal appliance on it. The assistant gave Jane some dark glasses to put on, then the orthodontist reclined the chair. "Open your mouth please..." he said. Jane remembered this from her last visit: he put in a lip spreader, to hold her lips apart, to make it easier for him to work. He turned on the light and pointed it at her mouth, then picked up a long thin tool, and went into her mouth with it: a few moments later, she could feel that the pressure between her molars had gone... he must have removed those horrible spacers.

Next, he spent quite a bit of time making sure that the two metal appliances fit in her mouth, over her teeth. This involved attempting to push them in to place, then removing them, adjusting them, and trying again. The bottom one had a metal band on each side, that would fit over her front full-molars, with thick wires going to the front, where there was a lumpy adjuster screw thing. The top one was worse: it had 4 bands, that went over her front main molars and her front pre-molars, with thick wires between them, and a screw adjuster thing in the middle. But that wasn't all: in front of that, there was a thick zig-zag wire, which was going to stop her pushing her tongue too far forward.

Finally, he was happy that they both fit ok, so he then had to glue them into place. It's odd, but Jane was having a slight feeling of deja-vu, though she had no idea why..  after all, she'd never had braces before. After that, she had brackets glued in place on her other teeth, and after that he fitted the archwires, and put on some tiny rubber round things to hold everything in place.

"Thank goodness" thought Jane, "It's all done!". How wrong she was!

The orthodontist picked up another wire appliance, just the same as the one the boy in reception had been wearing. It seems that both her top and bottom appliance both had little tubes that this would fit into. The orthodontist spend a few minutes adjusting the ends of the inner bow, so they fitted into her top teeth. Then he picked up a second facebow, and fitted it to her lower teeth, then did a bit of fiddling around inside her mouth. Then he got a thing that went over her head, loads of straps, with plastic bits to the front, where he attached 4 elastics, which attached to the ends of the facebows. (Those of us who know about such things would recognise this as an Interlandi headgear with dual facebows!)

"You need to wear this as much as you can." he explained. "The metal facebows are fixed in, so they won't come out, but you'll need to remove the headgear when you shower, to stop it getting wet. Otherwise, you'll be wearing it all 24/7".

The assistant lady handed Jane a hand mirror, so she could see her braces. As Jane saw the two facebows, she started to panic a bit. Then she opened her lips, and saw the large metal brackets on her teeth, with the bright red ligatures on each bracket.

"No! No! I can'k wear all thith thuff. And I can'k thpeak....". Jane started to cry, and put up her hands to pull the facebows out of her mouth: of course neither would come out. "No! No!" she repeated. She closed her eyes and continued to cry.

Jane opened her eyes again: she was no longer at the orthodontist's, she was home, in her bed. She had tears in her eyes, and she was sweating... but at least, as she discovered a few moments later, she was dry.

Well, at least she wasn't being chased by a truck any more! But the dream felt familiar.... so while she could still remember a bit of the dream, she thought about it, and realised that she'd had pretty much the same dream a few times when she was a teen: the two teenagers were a boy and girl who she vaguely knew from school. Thinking about it, the dream was probably part of the reason she'd refused to get braces.

'It was just a dream' thought Jane, 'I'm sure getting braces won't be any where as near as bad as that dream! Maybe it's time to actually do something to get my mouth sorted out...."

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 06. December 2021, 05:37:15 AM
You actually managed to pull off a dream reveal, kudos! The dream gives us insight as to having braces will affect her. It will be interesting to see how her actual treatment compares to the dream.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: annasun251 on 06. December 2021, 08:23:21 AM
aaaaaaand there is the lisp (which she should definitely keep - dream or not ;-) )
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: acornjohn2001 on 06. December 2021, 11:31:01 AM
Great, great, great, Sparky!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 06. December 2021, 17:53:08 PM
I love it when i can have a bit of fun like that! Sounds like you all enjoyed the fun.... the idea was give her a bad braces experience, that would have (as a teen) helped her decide NOT to have braces! But yeah, jane seems to have a few insecurities.... losing her brother didn't help.

 I guess I need to get her to the orthodontist soon, don't I, so you lot don't get bored...... but first, she needs to......
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: bracessd on 06. December 2021, 17:56:01 PM
Nice work! I hope her treatment is similar to the dream she had!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: xxxforce on 07. December 2021, 12:30:38 PM
Nice work! I hope her treatment is similar to the dream she had!

That would really be VERY unrealistic and destroy the whole story
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 07. December 2021, 13:42:55 PM
OMG, my readers are disagreeing about my story  :-)


Chapter 16

Jane walked over to Sarah's desk. "Hey, Sarah, you doing anything this lunchtime?" she asked. Jane had finally mustered up the courage to deal with an 'issue' that she had, and she needed Sarah's advice.

"No, why"

"Can I take you out to somewhere for a sandwich, there's.... err.. something I need to talk to you about...."

"Yeah, I'm up for that. What time?"

"I was thinking that if we went at, say, 12:15 we might beat the rush..."

"Fine with me..."


Jane had bought both of them sandwiches and bottles of juice, and they had found a quiet corner to sit.

"You know, I really don't know how I would have managed this last year without you and Simon." said Jane, "and over the last couple of weeks, I've felt that we're got so much closer together, it's like I've lost my own brother, but I gained a new brother and sister".

When Peter had died, Sarah didn't actually know Jane all that well, but sensed that Jane needed someone to talk to, or to just be with, so had decided to get to know Jane, and see if she could help. The problem Sarah had was that Jane seemed to want to keep a lot of stuff to herself, but even so, she quickly realised that just being there for Jane was being appreciated. And even though Jane wasn't the most outgoing of people, once she got to know her, she found she was actually a nice person.

Along the way, Jane had met Sarah's brother, Simon, and they seemed to get on pretty well too. And then, over the last week or two, the anniversary of Peter's death, Jane started to finally open up, and both Sarah and Simon started to really get to know Jane, and help her along her journey of healing.

And yes, she understood what Jane meant, she had started to think of Jane as someone she knew and trused as much as she knew and trusted her brother. And it was even nicer to hear that Jane felt the same way.

"I'm glad you think of us like that... "

Jane took a deep breath. What she was about to say to Sarah was a massive thing for her. Should she even actually tell her? Heck, that was the whole 'why' that she had asked Sarah along for lunch.

"The thing is, I have a problem, and I'm really not sure what to do about it..."

"What's the problem?" asked Sarah gently.

Jane took another deep breath: she was rather nervous about what she was about to say, but tried to explain things as best she could, while Sarah listened. What Jane said wasn't actually THAT much of a surprise to Sarah, what was more of a surprise was that Jane was actually confiding in her.

"I'm guessing from the look on your face that you might need a bit of my help..."

"Please...". They sat quitely for a few moments, eating their lunches.

"Come over for tea tonight" suggested Sarah, "and we can talk about it after tea.... don't worry, I'll help you".

Thus it was arranged that Jane would join Simon and Sarah for tea: after work, Jane went home with Sarah, and helped her make it.

"Oh, hello" said Simon when he got home.

"I thought it would be nice to invite Jane over" said Sarah

"Always nice to see you, Jane" said Simon.

Soon after, tea was ready, and soon after that, it was all eaten. Simon looked as if he was about to get up and leave the table.

"Simon, don't get up just yet....". Simon didn't have any idea what was going on, but nevertheless did as his sister asked. Sarah leaned over, taking Simon's hand in her left hand, and Jane's in her right.

"Jane and I had lunch together today" explained Sarah. "She was saying how much she has appreciated having us around, how she has appreciated our friendship.... so much so that she feels we're almost like family. Then she told me something else, and I think she needs to explain that bit herself. Simon, I need you to just listen to what she says, and don't interrupt her, because I know this isn't going to be easy for her.... I guess it's over to you, Jane..."

Jane closed her eyes for a couple of seconds, taking a big breath, then exhaling it, trying very hard to relax herself. What she was about to say would not be easy, and she was so glad that Sarah was holding her hand right now.

"As Sarah said, I've... I've really appreciated both of you just being there for me... this last year has been hard for me, and having you there has helped so much.... especially the last few weeks. Since telling you about things in the park, and your encouraging me to talk with mum and dad, I've felt like a weight has been taken off me.... I also feel that... that I've grown a lot closer to both of you, you guys almost feel like you are my brother and sister....". Jane paused a second or two. "Except.... Except I think that... my... my feelings for you, Simon... go a bit beyond just... brotherly love. You probably don't realise quite how hard that is for me to say... but Sarah persuaded me that.... NOT saying anything might be worse for me. So now I'm... I'm just scared that either you're going to... to think me silly, because you have no similar feelings for me.... or that maybe... maybe you DO have some feelings for me... but we do something about it, then something goes wrong and we both regret it... and I might then lose you... and Sarah... as my friends." Jane paused again, and took a couple more deep breaths: clearly that had not been easy for Jane to say. "So there: I've been honest in my feelings.... and I think maybe I need to just shut up now!"

"Simon," said Sarah, "my darling brother, please think about what you're going to say before you say it... I can feel that Jane is very nervous and apprehensive.

"Don't worry sis, I'm not going to do anything to upset Jane." He turned to Jane..."Well Jane, what you just said isn't actually that much od a surprise to be honest..." said Simon. "I've been having feelings about you too, and I was too scared to do anything about them too. I guess now we are talking about it, that option goes away. So does the 'I don't have feelings about you', because I do have feelings for you. So yes, I'm not sure what we should do, I don't want to risk losing you as a friend either, I like being with you, I even like it when you 'just around'." Simon looked at his sister.. so did Jane. "So sis, any magical solution?"

"Well, I think you guys need to do something, I don't think you can ignore those feelings, you'd both regret it if you did. However, I think you need to take things slowly. VERY slowly. And I think you both need to be totally honest with each other, no secrets, no little fibs, be totally honest. Is that something you can both do, do you think?" said Sarah. "Remember, I'll be here, if either of you need my help or advice, at any time"

Jane looked at Simon, and Simon looked at Jane. Nothing was said for several seconds.

"What do you think, Jane, want to give it a go? I promise not to rush things, and I'll do my best to be honest with you...." asked Simon, putting his hand gently onto Jane's.

"Yes, I'd like that, and I'll try to be as honest as I can too". Jane looked at Sarah. "Thank you Sarah".

"Hey, you two are my brother and my ... well, my sister, what else could I do? Look, Simon, why don't you take Jane to the pub, and start really getting to know her? And Jane... be nice to my big brother, will you?" Sarah stood up. "Come here, you two....".  Simon and Jane came over to Sarah, who hugged them both. "I love you guys..."

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Braceface2015 on 07. December 2021, 13:51:49 PM
Everyone has their own ideas as to what they want to see in a story. Sparky will write what he feels the story should have in it. Feedback is always appreciated by any writer and can help to shape a story.

I always encourage other people to write their own stories and share them with us. It is interesting to see what other people come up with. I don't just collect stories, I also write them for myself and share them with others. I always enjoy what Sparky writes and have most of his stories in my collection.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: silver-moon-2000 on 07. December 2021, 14:25:16 PM
OMG, my readers are disagreeing about my story  :-)

Isn't that the fun about the whole thing?  >:D
After all, it shows that you readers (like me ;D ) are invested in your story and want to see it continued
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: acornjohn2001 on 07. December 2021, 15:17:09 PM
Oh no, Jane stopped lisping!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 07. December 2021, 17:35:36 PM
Oh no, Jane stopped lisping!

Well, no, it's more that she never actually STARTED lisping :-) It was just a dream. Honest!

I wonder how bad her speech will be be after she gets braces.

Actually, here's an idea... back near the beginning of the story, I described her problems:

So, her top molar teeth are a bit close together, from one side to the other, and tip inwards a bit. So are her bottom ones, but not so bad. None of her teeth actually line up... her molars aren't in any sort of straight line, although only a couple of her small molars are crooked / rotated.

All four of her canine teeth are up (or down) in her gums. None of her bottom front teeth line up, they are all twisted and staggered, and at the top, her front two teeth stick inwards (inside her lower teeth), and the next ones are (rotated) at about 45 degrees.

It also seems that she has 4 lovely and pristine wisdom teeth fully erupted at the back of her mouth, apparently causing part of her problems.

What treatment would you prescribe her?
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: acornjohn2001 on 07. December 2021, 17:52:54 PM
It sounds very complicated, she will need expanders on both jaws, slipping plate on her bottom front teeth to help her upper incisors to get forward, elastics on your canines and of course headgear but it is on you, you are her "father", so do what you think she needs
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: m1090y on 09. December 2021, 11:03:39 AM
I certainly makes any treatment that much more intriguing on her when the character is so well developed.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Embracer on 09. December 2021, 12:04:31 PM
I hope she gets invisalign :)
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 09. December 2021, 15:51:33 PM
I hope she gets invisalign :)

Wash that mouth out with soap!!!!!! Although I'm sure it's something Jane might ask for....
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 09. December 2021, 15:58:29 PM
Chapter 17

Simon and Jane are sat at a small table opposite each other at the pub, looking at each other.

It's really the first time that Simon has properly looked at Jane close up. He can see that Jane doesn't wear much makeup, which doesn't really matter, because, even close up, her skin looks nice. Simon's eyes continued to scan Jane's face. He noticed that her nose was not perfect: it was possibly a little to big for the rest of her face, but that didn't really matter... nor did the tiny bump in it. Jane had slightly bushy eyebrows, which I guess some guys woudn't like, but they were really just part of who Jane was. Little did Simon realise how Jane felt about these tiny imperfections.

Simon's eyes were drawn to Jane's eyes. Simon thought Jane's eyes were quite stunning, with or without her glasses: Jane wore a tiny bit of eye-shadow, and a little mascara, which actually highlighted their lovely dark blue colour nicely. Jane's glasses weren't all that strong, so didn't distort the look of her lovely eyes at all.

Of course, while Simon's eyes were looking at Jane, they have been talking... nothing special, just general chat. But they both felt amazingly relaxed in each other's company: Sarah had told them they needed to be honest and open with each other. So that's what they were doing, and it was quite an inspirational feeling for them both.

"You know, I DO like your new hair style! And the colour too!" said Simon. The fringe really changed the shape of her face, and Simon thought it actually worked a lot better for Jane

"Thank you, Simon! I had long hair for SOOO long, it's actually nice to have it shorter... although I still find it odd at times" said Jane. "The colour was a bit of a 'spur of the moment thing', but yeah, I like it too!"

Whilst Jane has had her 'new' haircut for a couple of weeks, she was still getting used to it, and kept playing with it. As she pulled her hair back, Simon could see Jane's ear, and saw something he'd never noticed before: a tiny thin tube that came over the top of her ear, and went into her ear.

"Jane..." said Simon quietly - he didn't want to embarass Jane by asking this too loudly - "erm, I'm not wanting to be nosey, but.... is that a hearing aid I just saw?". Whether Sarah knew that Jane wore hearing aids, Simon didn't know, but she'd certainly never mentioned them to Simon.

Normally, Jane might have found that question to be a bit awkward, embarassing even. But Simon and Jane were specifically trying to learn about each other, and her hearing problems, and thus her hearing aids, were a part of her, just as her glasses were. Since getting the hearing aids, she had thought several times how it was odd that having glasses was absolutely 'normal' and 'ok', but there was still quite a stigma attached to having hearing aids. Kinda like how kids used to hate braces ten or twenty years ago, but now they were almost 'cool'.

"Yes, I have two of them.... you're the first person who has actually noticed them"

"Well, they are pretty well invisible: your hair normally covers your ears, so it was only when you pulled your hair back a second ago that I noticed that tiny tube. How long have you had them?"

"Just over a month ago now, I guess... just before we started getting closer...".

So, a bit of history: Jane has known Sarah for a few years now, through work, but as we know, Jane isn't the most sociable of people. Yes, she's ok with people she has got to know, like the 3 others in her band.... and when she's on stage, well, that's not Jane, it's more of a facade, so that doesn't really count. Much of Jane's life had centered around the love of her life: her brother Peter. So it was only when Peter died that Jane and Sarah started to get to know each other properly. And over the last year, Jane had met Simon on several occasions too, so had started to consider him as a friend too. Jane was very appreciative that both Simon and Sarah had been there for her, unconditionally. The day they had gone on the bike ride, and she had started crying up the top of the hill was typical of their selfless friendship. Also the evening that Simon met with Jane at the park. In fact, I would say that was the day that Simon and Jane 'started getting closer'.

"I never realised you had a hearing problem...."

"It's not too bad when it's quiet, and there's no background noise, it's more when the people themselves are talking softly, and there's a bit of background noise... or they are over the other side of the office"

"And do the hearing aids really help?"

"A lot of the time they are really amazing: in the office I can hear people so much better, so I can join in the conversations more easily. It odd, noone at work has actually commented that I'm joining in more. And out in the countryside, like when we were out on that bike ride, as long as they're not catching the wind, I can hear so much more - for example, I can hear birds again!"

"I'm guessing they must be pretty comfortable, because I've never seen you play with them"

"They are amazingly comfortable! Let me show you...". Jane pulled one of her hearing aids out, and showed it to Simon: not only was the tube that went from the hearing aid into her ear tiny (only 1 or 2 mm in diameter), the hearing aid itself was too - something like only 2 or 3 cm long. On the end of the slim tube that went into her ear there was a tiny and delicate 'umbrella'.

"Wow, it really is tiny... my grandpa wears hearing aids, and they are at least twice the size, with thick plastic tubes.... , I mean, this one is almost invisible by comparison. So what's that bit for" asked Simon, pointing at the umbrella.

"The idea with these hearing aids is that they just add in just the high frequencies, so can use a thin tube... I hear the lower frequencies naturally.  So, as I understand it, as well as holding the tube in place in my ear, that bit helps to stop any high-pitched whistling, by blocking the sound."

"So doesn't that stop you hearing?"

"No, it just stops the high frequencies, lower frequencies don't seem to be affected. But they are so light and so comfortable... I often forget I'm actually wearing them now I've got used to them". Jane put the hearing aid back into her ear.

It was strange: Simon was the first person that she'd had any meaningful conversation about her hearing aids, but she actually felt completely at ease talking to him about it.

"So any idea what caused your hearing problems?"

"We think it was loud music: I used to love standing next to the guitar amps when we were practising! I never realised I was messing up my hearing...."

As Jane was talking, Simon's eyes were attracted to her mouth, and more specifically her teeth. Jane actually has nice teeth, it's just that they were crooked, and her top two teeth went inside her bottom teeth. oh, and her 4 canines were all in the wrong place. But that didn't really matter to Simon, but he knew it mattered to Jane.

"So, you have glasses and now you have hearing aids... you ever going to get the braces to complete the set?" he asked her with a huge smile.

"You know, the other night I had a bit of a scary dream about braces..."

"In what way?"

"Well, I was at the orthodontist, and I was getting braces - far too many braces! I think it's the same dream I had as a teenager, when I didn't want braces... I'd actually forgotten about it, but when I woke up from it, it seemed very familiar, and I think that was part the reason I didn't want braces. But you're right, I think it's about time I actually DID something. So, a question for you: you said you'd come along with me, and I'd still very much like that, so... when's a good time for you?"

"In principle it doesn't matter - like you I do flexible hours, so as long as I have some notice it's usually ok."

"In that case, I'll call a couple of places and book appointments"

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: annasun251 on 10. December 2021, 16:11:25 PM
Thanks for updating so regularly!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: blueblur1997 on 10. December 2021, 17:38:38 PM
I'm wondering what treatment she'll get. I'm hoping for expanders and headgear.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 11. December 2021, 08:28:06 AM
You have a really good idea here, using the braces to help develop the Jane/Simon relationship. The entire story has excellent character work.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: franci on 11. December 2021, 10:26:34 AM
Hello I just finished reading the last chapter of your story.
As a woman I find her really interested, I assure you that it is not easy to show your flaws in front of the man you like ..
Because it is evident that Jane will fall in love soon right?
Still great job.
Good boy.
Hello Francesca
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 12. December 2021, 14:09:40 PM
Chapter 18

Over the next few days, Jane spent time with Simon, slowly getting to know him. Simon clearly realised that his relationship with Jane was quite different from any other girl he had met, and was also very willing to take things gently. Jane was finally starting to feel that her life could actually be a lot better than it had been. The last year had been a bad one, but over the last weeks, Jane felt that a huge weight had been taken off her, her negativity had gone, she was feeling so much more positive, and in control of her own life.

Jane is getting ready for bed. She's had a shower, and has dried herself off. In her bedroom, she picked up an incontinence pad and her plastic panties, and was about to put them on, but stopped. Since she told that truck to go away, apart from the 'braces dream', she's had no nightmares. And whilst the 'braces dream' made her wake up in a sweat, she had actually been dry since the truck dream. So Jane decided that maybe she could sleep without wearing the pad and plastic panties, so put them back down.

It felt very strange, yet very nice, getting into bed without wearing them: she'd been wearing them for over a year now. But she felt very relaxed.

"Goodnight Peter, I love you!" thought Jane. "Goodnight Simon" said Jane, closing her eyes. "I love you too!" she added without really thinking about it. Clearly things with Simon were going well....

Some time later... it might be minutes, it might be hours..... Jane is sitting in the orthodontist's waiting room: she has a feeling of deja-vu. There's a couple of other teenagers there, a girl and a boy. They both have braces, but the boy has glasses and a facebow, and to be honest, looks a bit geeky. Today she looks over towards them, and realises that she actually recognises them. The boy is Chris Ubergeek, and yes, he was a bit of a geek, and while Jane never really mixed with him (to be honest, she didn't really mix with many people at all!), she remembered that he was a pretty bright person. The girl was Jeanette Silvermouth: she was one of those girls that, despite having braces, was a popular girl. Jane wondered what they were doing now.

Yes, Jane has realised that she is dreaming, and has already decided that she is going to take charge of her dream, but for the moment will just let the dream happen.

"Jane Smith" says a voice. Jane looks to the door, where a lady in her 40's is standing. Jane gets up and follows her into the treatment room. "Sit up in the chair please" she commands rather brusquely. Jane does as told, and sits in the treatment chair. An older man, definitely in his 50's, maybe even in his 60's comes over, and sits on a stool next to her.

"Ah, yes, Jane Smith, we've got a bit of work to do on you today!" he said.

"Oh yes?" says Jane all innocently, "So what are you going to be doing to me then?". The orthodontist seemed to be a bit taken aback: I don't think he was used to his teenage patients questioning him (in fact, Jane wondered if he had ever treated any adults)

"Well" he replied, "We need to fit you with your appliances..."

"And what do they look like?". As in the last time Jane had this dream, Jane wasn't too keen on his manner, but whilst last time she had felt that there was little she could do about it, today she was better prepared, mentally, and definitely intended to do something!

The older woman, his assistant, brought a tray over and put it on the small table next to the orthodontist: Jane could see the plaster moulds of her top and bottom teeth, and each had a metal appliance on it. The assistant gave Jane some dark glasses to put on, then the orthodontist reclined the chair. "Open your mouth please..." he said, seeing to completely ignore Jane's question.

Jane didn't take the glasses, but instead sat up, despite the fact that he had reclined the chair. "I asked you a question, and I'm wanting a reply. Or do you despise your patients that much, that you don't bother to answer their questions?"

Once again, the ortho was shocked. "Well, these are your appliances..." he said, showing Jane the appliances on the plaster moulds.

"And I assume I'll be getting brackets as well?"

"Well, yes, of course....."

"Of course? So why didn't you say so? Anything else I need to know about?"

"No, not really..."

"Not really? So you're not, by any chance, planning to give me some headgear to go with my braces?"

"Ah, yes...."

"And is there anything special about the headgear you're going to give me, that you feel you need to tell me?"

"Umm... no, not really..."

"So, the fact that you are going to fix it in, so that I can't actually remove it, isn't important?"

"Ah, yes, I suppose I am going to do that!"

"Have you ever considered the effect on a teenager that being forced to wear headgear to school might have?"

"I don't imagine it's that big a problem"

"You know, I'm not actually surprised that some kids fear the idea of getting braces, with people like you imposing their will"

"I'm not imposing my will on you, your parents signed an agreement"

"And no-one thought to discuss anything with me though? Despite the fact that I'm the one that's going to have to wear all of these torture devices!". Jane swung her feet around, and started to get off the chair.

"What are you doing?" asked the ortho

"I'm leaving..."

"You can't do that!"

"Want to watch me?" Jane stood up, and started to walk to the door.

"Come back, you can't leave...."

Jane opened the door, and walked out. Like with her other dream, when she had told the lorry to 'go away', Jane felt so empowered.

"Well done, Jane!" said Peter, who was waiting for her in reception. Seeing Peter again made Jane feel so good, so positive. "And I'm so glad you're getting to know Simon better..." he added.

The room, and Peter, gently faded away, and Jane continued to sleep peacefully for the rest of the night.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: blueblur1997 on 12. December 2021, 18:59:50 PM
Another good part. Part of me now wonders if Jane will get braces for real.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 12. December 2021, 19:44:44 PM
This does a really good job showing how much Jane has developed over the course of the story. And I like the use of lucid dreaming in this manner. I always look forward to new chapters.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: annasun251 on 13. December 2021, 20:22:06 PM
Yes, I'm also curious to see what treatment she'll end up with
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 13. December 2021, 22:49:39 PM
Another good part. Part of me now wonders if Jane will get braces for real.

As opposed to fake braces? ???????? (Now That could be a fun story twist!)
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 15. December 2021, 19:15:01 PM
Chapter 19

Jane was at work a day or two later, when her phone rang: it was Sophie, the girl she had chatted with in the makeup department at one of the stores in town. Jane had asked if she knew anyone who could give her 'beginners makeup lessons', and Sophie said she might be able to help - she had a YouTube channel doing makeup.

"Hi Jane!"

"Oh, hello there, Sophie"

"Are you free tonight? If so, I was wondering if you'd like to come over, and we can have a proper chat about what you were wanting to learn - I have an idea". Jane thought for a second, but couldn't think of anything she was supposed to be doing this evening.

"Yeah, I'm free, what time should I come over? And you'll need to send me your address"

"How about 7pm. I'll WhatsApp you my address"

"That sounds good to me - so what's this idea?"

"Well, I was thinking that maybe I could setup a second YouTube channel, specifically doing 'beginners makeup techniques', with you being my 'model'. That way you learn, and I get a bit of income from YouTube too. Are you up for it?".

The old Jane would have made an excuse to get out of it, but the new Jane, the more self-assured Jane, thought it might actually be fun. I mean, she'd already been in front of a camera for the new 'weekly IT email / vlog' they had started doing at work.

"Yeah, why not, could be interesting!"

"Ok, so come over as you are, and maybe we can have a go at doing some videoing tonight!"

So, that evening, after having her dinner, Jane borrowed her mum's car, and went to see Sophie. Sophie still lived at home, and had a good sized bedroom, and at one end she has a 'mini studio' set up... nice background, soft furnishings that made the audio sound a lot better, a tripod for her camera with a light around it, and a fancy microphone. To the side, she had a laptop with a second screen, which she used to record and edit her videos.

"So, normally it's just me, so I have just the one chair, but I've got a second chair from downstairs, and moved the tripod back a bit, so we'll both fit it... so come on over, and sit down...". Jane went and sat down with Sophie. "So, I tend to record everything, that way I don't miss anything. Then I'll edit it down... I'm thinking that, at least for the first couple of weeks, I should let you see it before I post it, to make sure you're happy with what I've done"

"That sounds like a good idea" said Jane. Jane was actually quite excited. First of all, this was actually the first time she'd ever done anything for YouTube. Next, it meant that she would at last be learning how to do makeup properly. Plus Sophie seemed to be quite a nice girl.

"Ok, well, I'm going to start the recording...." said Sophie. "Ok, just talk to me a bit, so I can make sure the levels are ok"

"Hi, I'm Jane, and I'm here with Sophie so she can tell me how to do my make-up - properly!" said Jane

"That's fine" replied Sophie. "So I thought I coule introduce you, then ask you a few questions about yourself. If you make a mistake, just go back a bit, then I can edit the bits together. After that, maybe the first thing to talk about is how to properly REMOVE your makeup... we'll need to do that anyway...."

Jane spent over 2 hours with Sophie that first evening: Sophie asked Jane why she actually needed to learn about makeup, and Jane explained that, as school, she didn't really have many friends, so never got involved with other girls who tried out using makeup, and never really wore much makup then either. When Sophie asked about the 'goth look' she had when they first met, Jane explained how that had been a phase she went through as a teen, and decided to try it 'one last time' before 'moving on to be a bit more of an adult'.

"Well, I don't know about you" said Sophie, "but I really enjoyed this evening! I'm looking forward to our next session!".

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Embracer on 17. December 2021, 14:59:30 PM
Even if she can get an early consultation, I don't imagine Jane will be getting her braces until January. You wouldn't want new braces just before Christmas... Well I didn't anyway- got them 3 January a few years ago.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 17. December 2021, 16:10:35 PM
Well, I can tell you that Jane WILL be going to see a couple of ortho's for consults real soon now, but I thought I'd share some early notes from when I was planning the story:

- Was a bit of a goth
- always liked music (just as well, few friends)
- music was only 'ok' at school, until I played a guitar!
- got into a local metal band at 19 (only girl in band?)
- can drink with the boys!
- makeup course - watch loads of youtube vids?
- get a haircut

but keep avoiding the braces!

So, much of that has happened, and yes, I've done well with avoiding the braces :-)

(I have family visiting at the moment, which is why there may be a bit of a delay before you see the next couple of chapters)

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 19. December 2021, 22:45:12 PM
Chapter 20

It's a week later, and Jane managed to get two appointments, with two different orthos, on the same afternoon. She had been told to allow an hour in total for each of the consultations, so the first one was at 1:30pm, the second was at 3:00pm.

Jane felt a bit nervous as Simon parked outside the first orthodontist's building. (While I'm here, maybe I should mention that things are going well with Simon and Jane. They've been out together a couple of times, but are taking things VERY slowly... and strangely, they are both actually enjoying doing so! They've also been around each other houses a few times.)

"You look a bit nervous" commented Simon

"Yeah, that's because I am! It's all very well being brave about the concept, that first step is still a big step" replied Jane.

"Simon briefly touched Jane's hand "You'll be ok! Besides, today is just the 'look but don't touch' day!". that comment made Jane smile - she'd not actually thought about it like that!

It was still only 1:25 as they walked in to the reception. "Hi, I'm Jane Smith, I have a 1:30 appointment"

"Ah yes" said the receptionist. Assuming her badge was the right one, her name was Jenny Stevens. "You are going to be seeing Mr Fixem. He should be with you shortly, I'll let him know you are here. Please go and take a seat through in the waiting room."

"Thank you" replied Jane. Simon and Jane went into the waiting room. The d├ęcor looked rather drab and dated, as did the furniture. Yes, the chairs were comfortable, but had clearly been there for many years. There were magazines from the past few years on the table to read while waiting, as well as some well-thumbed comics. There was a mum there with her two children, a boy and a girl in their teens. The girls appeared to be older, and from what Jane could see, her teeth actually looked pretty good, so she was probably near the end of her treatment. Her brother seemed to be 2 or 3 years younger, and his top front teeth pushed his upper lip out, letting her see the ends of his teeth, with obvious gaps between them.... which made Jane suspect he was at the beginning of his treatment.

Both Jane's and Simon's eyes were looking around the room, but neither said anything though. I don't think either were especially impressed.

An older lady walked in to the waiting room. "Miss Smith?" she asked. "Mr Fixem is ready for you now, please follow me...". Jane and Simon followed her into a relatively large treatment room. Like the waiting room, it was clearly not new.

"Good afternoon, Miss Smith, I'm Mr Fixem" said the ortho, a man in his 50s or even 60s. "Please, take a seat" he said, indicating the treatment chair. He then turned to Simon. "And I'm guessing you must be a friend of Miss Smith's?"

"Yes, I'm Simon Jones" he replied

"Welcome, Mr Jones, why don't you pull that stool forwards, and sit to the side, here....". He turned back to Jane: "So, I'll start off by taking a look at your teeth, then we can discuss what treatment you'll need...". His assistant passed Jane some dark glasses, which she put on - she recognised these from wearing something very similar at the dentist. Mr Fixem picked up what we know (and Simon also recognised, form having had braces a few years ago) as lip retractors, but Jane wasn't sure what they were. "Let me put these in so I can see better - can you open your lips please?"

With the lip retractors holding Jane's lips back out of the way, Mr Fixem reclined the chair, and adjusted the inspection lamp to shine into Jane's mouth: he could now see the first part of Jane's problems... her crooked front teeth. He spent a couple of minutes looking into Jane's mouth, occasionally saying "ah" or "hmm" or something similar, also "ah, you still have your wisdom teeth...". Then he got his camera out, and took some pictures of her teeth, then put in a mirror, so he could see the occlusal surfaces, and took more pictures. Finally, with the lip retractors removed, he took some profile and front pictures.

"So, let me try and explain the problems that you have with your teeth. First of all, your upper and lower jaws are actually in a good alignment. However, as I'm sure you're aware, your teeth are severely crowded: all four of your canines are undescended, as there's simply insufficient space for them. Your lower incisors are rotated due to the lack of space for them, and your upper central incisors are in a cross bite - again due to a lack of space - with your upper lateral incisors also being rotated. I also notice that you have 3 molars that are slightly tipped inwards, and a couple of other molars that are slightly out of alignment. And, to be honest, I also think your upper jaw is a little too narrow too.

"The good news is that your problems can be treated. To start with, I need to make more space in your mouth, so that I can move your teeth into a much better position. I see that you still have your 4 wisdom teeth, so I would remove those, mainly to prevent them causing future problems with your teeth - many people don't ever get them, and you don't really need them. Another reason is that they tend to be difficult to keep clean, and often suffer decay. In addition, I will need to extract your 4 front premolars, in order to make space for your other teeth to move in to."

"In terms of braces: I would fit a removable expander to tip your molars outwards, and at the same time slightly expand your upper arch. I will need to fit brackets to all of your teeth, and you'll need to wear various elastics through much of your treatment, to help move your teeth into their correct positions, as well as a spring to help create space for your upper central incisors.". He paused.

Jane was VERY glad that Simon was there with her, as all of this information was coming at her so fast that she wasn't really able to take it all in. To be honest, I think Simon was struggling too, but he wasn't too worried, as it should all be written into the written treatment plan.

"After your treatment has finished, you'll need to wear retainers: full time for at least 6 months, then at night"

"So how long will the treatment take?" Jane asked.

"I would estimate at 18 to 24 months"

"I'm guessing that Invisalign isn't an option for me then?"

"No, I'm afraid not. In fact, I'd not even recommend the use of ceramic brackets, simply due to the forces needed to move some of your teeth"

Jane asked a couple of other simple questions, which Mr Fixem answered.

"So, I'll put together a full treatment plan, along with a price, and get it in the post to you..."

A few minutes later, they were sitting in the car: the whole thing had taken no more than about 30 minutes.

"You don't look too happy" said Simon. "Something tells me you didn't really like him...."

"No, I didn't. I mean, I'm a potential customer, so where were his 'people skills'? I was treated like a kid - you know, at no point did he actually ask me what I wanted, he just went ahead, and told me what needed to be done. I mean, what was your ortho like?"

"Well, Jane, bear in mind it was maybe 10 years ago, when I was a teen. Plus it was freebie NHS treatment, so basically take-it-or-leave-it. I never got any sort of treatment plan, and no-one really explained what my problem was or what they were doing to me, but the place at the hospital was a lot nicer than that, and at least the orthos smiled! Ah, yes, I got looked at by several orthos over the time of my treatment, but that's the NHS for you."

"I hope the next one is better: this guy almost reminded me of the bad ortho in my dream!"

"I'm sure it will be better... I mean, I can't imagine it being much worse!"
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 21. December 2021, 19:56:43 PM
Chapter 21

Jane and Simon were waiting in the rather pleasant waiting room of the second orthodontist. Jane hadn't been over happy with the first ortho that they had been to see an hour or so ago, and she was hoping this one would be a bit nicer. So far she was impressed: the receptionist had been very pleasant, and the decor of the waiting room felt quite relaxing. There had been another patient there when they arrived, but she had been called through a couple of minutes ago.

"Miss Jane Smith?" asked a smiling young lady with perfect teeth.

"Yes, that's me.." Jane replied

"Hi there, I'm Jan, Mr Sampson's assistant: would you like to come with me please?" she asked. Jane and Simon got up from their chairs, and followed Jan through to the treatment room.

"Good afternoon, I'm John Sampson, you must be Jane Smith: would you prefer that I call you Jane or Ms Smith?"

"Jane would be fine.."

"Ok, well would you both like to come over with me and have a sit down. And who is this that you've brought with you today?". John was leading them to a set of 3 chairs... (I'm not talking lounge type chairs, more high-quality office chairs, but nicer than office chairs!).

"Oh, this is Simon, my...." Jane paused, then looked at Simon. "Are we boyfriend and girlfriend yet?"

"I'm not sure" replied Simon. "I guess we probably are by now...."

"This is my boyfriend, Simon, he's here to be my second pair of ears, as well as to help me stay calm!"

"Hello there, Simon, take a seat. I always like it when a new patient brings someone along, as you say, it's another pair of ears: I'm sure you won't remember everything we talk about today. So, Jane, before I take a look at your teeth, I'd like to find out a bit about you. Yes, you already filled in our form, so I know you live reasonably locally, and that you are 26, and work in IT, but what I'm interested in is why you are here today. What do you feel is your problem. And what are you looking to achieve out of any treatment?".

Jane was quickly warming to John: it was very clear that he was looking beyond just her possible treatment, apparently wanting to understand her desires, rather than just her needs.

"Well, to be honest, I'm rather embarrassed by my teeth, I call them 'my war zone'. I know my actual teeth are all in pretty good condition, but it's clear that they aren't positioned where they should be!"

"So, what's your 'endgame'? What sort of result are you looking for?"

"Well, I'd like them to be straight, I guess"

"What do you mean by 'straight'? The perfect Hollywood smile? Or maybe something a bit more natural, but 'mechanically' sound"

"What do you mean by 'mechanically sound'?" asked Jane.

"Well, sometimes, when teeth are moved, they end up in the 'perfect looking' position, but that position is often not stable: without constant retention, the teeth will tend to move. However, it may be that you can end up with a 'very adequate' look, but with the teeth in a more stable position."

"Ah, ok... yes, 'very adequate' would probably do for me"

"What's the main thing that troubles you about how your teeth look at the moment?"

"Two things really... first of all, these top two at the front, I'd like them to be, like, out front with the others. Then I'd like my canines to line up with my other teeth too"

"Ok, that sounds good. Now, reading your medical history, I'm not seeing anything about previous orthodontic treatment - you never had any treatment as a teen?"

"No, I didn't.... a bit of a story there...."

"Yes? I'd like to hear it, if you're willing to share..."

"Well, as a kid, I was a bit of a loner, not too many friends at school. Definitely picked on. When I was about 12, I needed glasses, and mum, being mum, chose a pair for me. Not at all flattering, and I got called all the normal things, 'four-eyes' and that sort of thing. So when it came up that I would probably need braces, I refused. I was just about coping as a four-eyes with crooked teeth, but as a four-eyes with braces? No way! I had big arguments with my mum, and my brother backed me up, and I ended up telling her I'd not comply with anything that got done to me... and I won, so no braces. Oh yeah, I was reminded last week about the bad dreams too, with some very extreme treatment, and a not very nice orthodontist."

John smiled when Jane mentioned the extreme treatment. "How extreme was the treatment that you dreamed of, do you remember?"

"Oh, I do, I had the dream again last week: big expander screw things top and bottom, huge metal brackets, and then two of those headgear things - ah yes, non-removable headgear things at that!"

"Well", said John, still smiling "some of that is still used, but the things we use are quite small these days, and the 'fixed-in headgear' - I think was probably more of a scare-tactic than a reality. Oh, and I hope I'm not too scary! But yes, I can understand what you're saying, I know I wasn't the most popular kid at school either. Ok, well I've got a good feeling about what you're looking for, so why don't you come over into the treatment chair, and I can take a look at your teeth, then we can discuss what options there are for making your teeth look the way you want. Simon, there's a spare stool over there if you'd like to join us".

Jane was feeling very positive as she went over to the chair: John was clearly trying to find out what she wanted, rather than just 'what needed to be done'. She sat in the chair, and Jan, John's assistant, passed her some dark glasses.

"You'll probably want to wear these, the light is rather bright!" explained Jan. With the glasses on, John reclined the chair slightly, and pointed the light at her mouth.

"So, let me have a look like this, then I'll put in some 'lip spreaders' to hold your lips out the way, so I can have a better look. Then I'll scan your teeth. And along the way, I'll take some pictures"


"Oh, yes, I have a lovely bit of tech that lets me do a 3D scan of inside your mouth, then we can have a look on the computer screen, and better see what to do.... So, can you start by just relaxing your mouth, so I can see how your lips sit...". Jane relaxed her mouth, and John took a couple of pictures. "Ah, that's good, you don't seem to have any problems fully closing your lips: that can be a problem for some people. Ok, how about giving me your most natural smile....". Jane smiled, letting John see how her lips lined up with her teeth.

Again, John took pictures. "Ok, now trying to keep yout teeth together, give me a big wide smile.... Lovely!". Of course, he could now clearly see how Jane's top central incisors sat inside of her lower incisors.

Jan passed John the lip spreaders. "I recognise those" said Jane.

"Sounds like you've already had a consultation somewhere else: a good idea, I'd always recommend getting 2 or 3 opinions. To be honest, getting a good result from treatment is as much about having a good relationship between the orthodontist and the patient, as it is the actual treatment itself." Jane opened her mouth, allowing John to fit the lip spreaders. John took a good look inside Jane's mouth, and took several pictures, some using a mirror, so the pictures could show the full upper or lower arch.

"Ok, so next I'll be using the tech to scan your teeth... if you look at the screen up there, you can see what I'm doing too...". John picked up what could best be described as a long thick pen on the end of a piece of cable, and put it into Jane's mouth. As he moved the 'pen' around, Jane and Simon could see a 3D image of her teeth, her jaws and her palate appearing on the screen. John paused for a moment, as he looked at the image, and rotated it in 3D. "Ok, almost done, there's a couple of bits that need a little more scanning..." Once again, he put the 'pen' into her mouth, and scanned: as he did so, Jane could see some extra detail being added to the image.

"Ok, that's all done, thank you, you've been very patient with me. Would you go with Jan back to where we were before. I need to do a couple of things here, then I'll be over with you."

Jane and Simon went back to the more comfortable chairs, and were joined by John a few minutes later. In his hand he had a large tablet.

"Something tells me that you're not going to be telling me that you can fix my teeth with those invisible braces?" said Jane, smiling.

"Yes, Jane, I think you would be quite correct there! Invisilign can do quite a lot now, but I think your teeth are a couple of steps beyond that!" explained John, smiling back. "Ok, so let me try and explain to you what the actual issues with your teeth are, and suggest a couple of ways we can go about making things better. By the way, do ask questions at any time... So, the fundamental issue is that you have too many teeth for the space in your mouth" he explained, showing them both the scan of her mouth. "That's why your canine teeth can't come down - or go up - to fit with the others. It's also why your lower teeth are crooked, and why your upper front teeth have been either rotated or pushed out of the way."

"I'm guessing my wisdom teeth are to blame? My dentist says I should have them taken out"

"Actually, no. It's a popular myth that wisdom teeth cause your front teeth to get crowded, but research has shown that's not the case. And in your case, I believe your issues started well before your wisdom teeth came into the picture. But I can say that, to achieve any sort of result, you will need some teeth removing, just to create some space in your mouth. So, one common thing we do to make space in a person's mouth is to remove the front pre-molars... they are the small molars that are normally just behind the canines... so here's what your mouth would look like with all 4 of your front premolars removed".

John pressed a couple of buttons on the tablet, and the image changed to show Jane's mouth without the pre-molars. "So, with those four premolars out of the way, we could use fixed braces to...." he continued, and using his tablet pen to move things on the screen, he roughtly dragged the canines into position. "... bring your canines down in their right position. You can see that there's still some space left, so now we can move the lateral incisors back a bit - we'd probably use a small spring on the archwire to help with that - and make enough space to allow your top cental incisors to be moved out, and into a more normal position."

"How do you move them out? Will I need some sort of appliance to push them forwards?"

"Not necessarily. The incisors only have one root, and compared to molars, are relatively easy to move, so the archwire, maybe with some help of some tiny wires, will pull them out just fine. Of course, when we do that bit, we'll need to hold your jaws open a little, to allow the top incisors to 'hop over' your lowers: there's several ways to do that, one of which would use a removable appliance, and we could then add a spring to help push the two teeth forwards. But there are other ways to do that too. Personally, I'd like to leave the decision on that till we get to that part of the treatment, as it will depend on the relative positions of your other teeth at the time."

"Ah, ok..."

"Now, down the bottom, like at the top, there's plenty of space to move your lower canines into position, and straighten your lower incisors." The image on the screen wasn't perfect, but it nicely explained how Jane's teeth would fit together, and what needed to be done to get to that state.

"And my wisdom teeth?"

"They stay where they are: in your case, they have all errupted, they are straight and have just enough space, and they are all in great condition". He paused a moment. "There is another treatment option, which would require removing your widom teeth, but I'll come onto that in a moment. I need to explain about your molars: what I just described would give you a good simple cosmetic fix for your front teeth, but I don't think that what you are looking for, is it, I think you're looking to get your molars sorted out as well?"

"Yes, I guess I do..."

"So, your upper arch really needs to be a tiny bit wider, and three of your upper molars are tipped inwards, causing what we call a 'cross-bite' with your lower molars: left untreated that cold give you jaw pain in the future, and perhaps uneven tooth wear. Specifically the issue is with these two main molars here" he said, pointing at the screen, "as well as this rear premolar. So I would need to use some form of expander to push those three teeth out, as well as widen your arch"

"Ah, so an expander like in my dream then?" asked Jane

"It depends. Do you remember anything about it?"

"Well, it was very large, and very much glued in!"

"So what I'm proposing  is a bit similar, but nowhere near as big. It would be a 'Quad Helix' device: Jan, can you....". Before he'd actually finished his sentence, Jan had brought over a tooth model, with a lightweight appliance on the teeth. "So, this is a Quad Helix appliance...". The appliance had 2 bands, on the front full molars, with heavy wires pushing against the other molars to the front. Between the bands was another wire, in a sort of 'box' shape, with curly springs at the 4 corners. In terms of bulk, it is a lot less bulky than the common screw-expander. "In your case we would fit the two bands to the second molars - that's one further back compared to this model - as this second molar is needing to be straightened too."

"OK. And you said there was a second option?"

"Actually, there's two and a half options. Staying with what we've just looked at, a tiny change to what I just described would be to remove this REAR premolar, the one that's tipped inwards, rather than the front one. Whilst that would mean we would need to pull the front premolar back, it would mean that there's then just two molars that need their crossbite fixing."

"Wouldn't that take longer though? I mean having to move that front premolar?" asked Simon.

"Not really, not overall... we're just trading moving a front premolar backwards versus tipping the rear premolar up straight, so the time is pretty much the same" explained John. "So the OTHER other option.... rather than removing your premolars, we would take out your wisdom teeth - that in itself is slightly more complex. We would then need to move all of your molars and pre-molars back into the space vacated by your wisdom teeth, and tipping the 3 molars back straight again as we do it. It's a lot easier to do with children, but it can be done in adults, especially someone of your sort of age. But that would require that you wore headgear at night, and a lip bumper, along with several elastics. So it could be done, but it would mean your treatment would be more complicated, and a LOT longer"

"What do you mean by 'a LOT longer'?" asked Jane

"Well, my guess is that if we extract your pre-molars, and go that route, then the treatment would take something like 18 months, maybe a bit longer. If you go with the second option, I think you could probably add a year or more onto the treatment time. The only reason I suggested it was to show that there WAS another option if you were dead set against having your pre-molars removed. Look, why don't I show you some of the hardware that I've been talking about....". John got up, walked over to some shelves, and picked up several orthodontic models.

"I'll start with a couple of appliances that you WON'T be getting, so you can see that the Quad Helix appliance actually isn't too bad. This one shows a typical removable expander - the problem with this is that, with your teeth tipped inwards, you wouldn't be able to get it easily into the top of your mouth."

"Ah, yes, my sister had a big removable appliance, gave her quite a lisp..." said Simon.

"Yes, unfortunately they do, although the speech does improve with practice. Now this is an RPE... a Rapid Palatal Expander. It expands the palate, but can't tip the teeth into position quite so easily: we use a lot of these with teenagers, to make their upper jaw wider. By comparison, the Quad Helix is a lot less obtrusive than either of these, but a bit slower.... and we have to go slow with adults anyway. Now, as far as brackets go, there's several available, these ones are quite small, and are probably what I'd use for you" explained John, passing the model to Jane. Jane was pleased to see that the brackets really were quite small, so not as obvious as what some of the others kids had when she was at school.

"Aren't there options for less-visible, white, braces?"

"Yes, there are, but in your case I'd not really suggest them, simply because of what we need to mechanically do to your teeth, which would slightly extend your treatment time, and maybe give us a few problems. Besides, while people think they are 'invisible', they aren't really as invisible as they think - I've had several people comment along the lines of 'I don't really know whay I bothered'!"

"Ah, ok...."

"Now for the horror from your dreams: this is a facebow - removable I hasten to add! - and this..." said John, picking up a second model, ".. this is a lip-bumper. So the facebow uses external straps to pull your upper teeth back, and the lip bumper uses the pressure from your lower lip to push your lower teeth back... obviously only needed if you went for the wisdom teeth extraction option."

As Jane looked at the models, and the facebow and the lip bumper, her tongue was going around her mouth.

"Earlier on, you were talking about 'a good mechanical result'.... that my teeth would probably fit together better..."

"Yes, and I can't really make any comment on that until I've had a more detailed look with the computer simulation, to see how your teeth will 'mesh' together."

"So, I'm guessing you'd recommend the first treatment, just removing Jane's pre-molars?" asked Simon

"Yes, it is the more normal treatment, and it would be a lot simpler for Jane. At the end of the day, we have to remove some teeth from Jane's mouth, to make space for the other teeth. And removing the premolars is usually much simpler than removing wisdom teeth"

"And no need to remove BOTH the pre-molars AND the wisdom teeth?"

"From what I've seen so far, no. Now, one thing I've not mentioned yet is that, whatever treatment you opt for, you will need to wear retainers. Typically I would fit a bonded retainer to your bottom teeth - that's a wire glued to the back of your teeth - and for the top you would have a removable retianer. For the first six month that will need to be full-time wear, then after that, just at night. There's two types of retainers, the clear plastic ones... they look like the invisible braces, and then there's the Hawley Retainer, which looks like this". John picked up a model that had a hawley retainer on it.

"The plastic is very thin, and you might have a lisp for a few days, but most people get used to them  within the week. But the Hawley is more 'forgiving' - by which I mean if you don't wear it for a few days, and your teeth move a little, the springs will tend to move the teeth back into place more gently. Also, Hawleys tend to last longer than the clear retainers"

"When would you decide which type of retainer I'd get?" asked Jane.

"There's no need to decide until just before you need it, and if you have a particular preference for any reason, you can tell me. And, in principle, you could have both - wear the clear one during the day, and the Hawley at night."

"Ah, yes that sounds like a good idea" said Jane

Now, before I would start any treatment, I would need to take a full set of x-rays, so I can see the state of the roots of Jane's teeth, and if there's a problem there, then we would need to re-consider the treatment options, but I hasten to add that that doesn't happen very often. The liklihood is that we would proceed the way we've been talking about."

"And will I get a 'Hollywood smile', or just the 'pretty good smile', not that I'm really worried which I get?"

"That's actually a very good question. From what I can see of the shape of your teeth, and from what I've seen on the computer, I think you will be very pleased with the result: as well as sending you printouts of the pictures I've taken, for your reference, I'll include a computer prediction of what yout teeth might look like"

"Oh, that will be interesting to see. So what happens next then?" asked Jane

"Well, I will look at the photos and play with the computer scans again, and double check that everything I've said to you is correct, plus check how well all your teeth will fit together. If it's all ok, and I think it will be, then I'll put together all three treatment plans, and costs for each, and get it sent off to you."

"And if Jane decides to come to you for her treatment, what then?"

"So, two initial visits. At the first, we would need to extract Jane's premolars - assuming that's the way she wants to go - and take X-rays, neither of which should take long. Then we would insert the spacers, to make space for the molar bands..."

"Ah yes," commented Simon, "I remember those..."

"Yes, I'm afraid they can be a bit sore. So the spacers would stay in for about a week, by which time we would have your appliance, and we could fit everything at the second visit."

Ten minutes later, they were back in Simon's car. "So, what did you think then?" he asked Jane.

"I thought he was ten times better and nicer, than the guy we saw earlier. He treated me as a person, asking what *I* wanted. And then he explained everything very well, I understood everything - more than I can say for the first guy - and he had no problems when we asked questions"

"Yes, I got a good feeling too. So, do you want to get a third opinion, and maybe a fourth?"

"Well, the actual treatment he suggested wasn't THAT much different from the first guy, so would a third opinion be any different? To be honest, I'm feeling pretty good about this guy."

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: blueblur1997 on 22. December 2021, 07:09:34 AM
I smell a major change in treatment coming.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 23. December 2021, 16:42:47 PM
Chapter 22

"So what do we want to do now?" asked Simon. The second appointment had taken a lot longer than the first one, but it was still not yet 4 pm.

"Can we go for a bike ride? There's somewhere I'd like to take you"

"Ok, why not! So back to my place to get my bike and the bike rack, then over to... hey, we could save time if you were ok using our spare bike, like you did before..."

"Sounds fine with me."

"So where are we going?"

"It's about a 15 minute drive, then a 10 or 15 minute ride, don't worry, whilst I'm not exactly sure where on a map it is, I know the route well, Peter and I used to go there."

Over at Simon's place they loaded the bikes, plus grabbed something to drink to take with them. Once they got going, Jane remembered the route well... they went out of town, into the countryside, albeit not all that far away.

"Ok, coming up soon there should be a small car park..." said Jane. Simon slowed down a bit, and sure enough there was a place for about 4 or 5 cars to park: noone else was there. The got the bikes off the car, then rode off into the woods together, Jane leading the way. After riding gently for about 15 minutes, Jane stopped, and got off her bike.

"Ok, we can leave the bikes just over here... don't worry, they'll be safe! We have a short walk...". Simon had never been here before, so it was all new to him, and he was wondering where Jane was taking him. Jane took Simon's hand, and led him along a tiny path.

"Listen" said Jane, stopping a moment.

"Hmm, what am I listening for?"

"Well, partly the silence, but I can hear it in the background...."

"Ah, a stream or something?" Jane started walking again, and a couple of minutes later they came to a stream, with a lovely grassy area by the stream. Apart from the sound of the water, and a couple of birds in the distance, it was lovely and silent. Simon took off the small bag he was wearing, that contained their drinks, and they sat down together on the grass.

"Peter and I started coming here when we were teens, we actually cycled the whole way back then. Then we got a bit lazier, and drove like we did today. It's so peaceful here. We hardly ever met anyone else here, and I doubt anyone else will be here today".

"You know, Jane, when I first met you, you were quite withdrawn, but you've changed in the last few months: you seem to be so much more cheerful and relaxed." said Simon as he took a drink.

"Well, I think getting these hearing aids was a big step: I'm able to join in a lot more, now that I can hear things better. Plus, I think part of that is this really nice guy I've met..."

"Yeah, but it goes deeper than that. I think you've finally managed to deal with a few issues in your life... I mean, how long since you've had that truck nightmare?"

"Oh, wow, that's weeks ago. Actually, there's something I never told you.... I had to wear an incontinence pad with plastic pants when I went to bed, because I'd wet myself when I had that dream, which was far too many times. You're right, I feel so much better since I stopped having that dream... in fact, I stopped wearing the pad and pants, and it's so much better. And I've not had the nasty braces dream again either."

"And how you feeling about.... Peter?"

"A lot better... a lot LOT better! You have a lot to do with that... just letting me tell you about him. Making me go and talk to mum and dad. I think they are feeling a lot better too. I feel I can actually move on with my life, knowing that Peter is still with me, in my heart and in my memories. I think he'd like you..... You know, I've wanted to come back here so many times since he died... this place was so special to Peter and me, but I've not been able to do it, until today. I don't know why, but today it just seemed the right thing to do, to come here with you...."

"So, are you ok with how things are going between us?"

"I'm very ok with how things are going between us. I don't know about you, but I've actually been really enjoying that we've been taking things slowly..."

"Funnily enough, so have I. I guess we've both had boyfriends and girlfriends before, and we know what the sex thing is about, so I'm not desperate in the same way to 'prove myself'"

"Yes, I know exactly what you mean. But I'm thinking maybe it's time to take the next step...."

"What do you mean?" asked Simon. Jane gently pushed Simon backwards, so he was lying on the grass, and then she got on top of him, her legs straddling his waist.

"I mean THIS" said Jane. She leaned over towards him, and gently put her lips to his, and gave Simon a very gentle kiss on his lips, which she then repeated. Then she put her tongue out a little, licking his lips. Simon put his tongue out too, and their tongues touched, and played together. Simon pulled his tongue back, and Jane slipped her tongue into his mouth, running its tip over Simon's lovely straight teeth. Then she invited Simon's tongue into her mouth. Normally, Jane was a bit apprehensive about anything to do with her mouth, and her teeth, but this was Simon, and Jane trusted Simon: she knew he would never make fun of her teeth.

Simon's tongue slipped between Jane's lips, and touched her crooked lower teeth. He move it up, and came to the slight gap, where her top central incisors should be, but were bent backwards, behind her lower teeth. He pushed his tongue in further, so that it could touch those top middle teeth, then moved slightly to the side, where he could feel her crooked lateral incisors. Jane seemed to be ok with what he was doing, so he went a bit further with his tongue, feeling Jane's undecended canines: of the lot, they felt the strangest to Simon.

The kiss finally ended, and as Simon looked at Jane, he could see she was smiling. "You look happy!"

"That's because I AM happy - I'm VERY happy. I'm in a beautiful place, here in the woods, next to this lovely stream, with someone I trust and care for.... And I just kissed him for the first time! It's been a long time since I've felt as good this...."

It was a pleasant afternoon, and Jane sat there and lay there with Simon for quite some time. Sometimes chatting, sometimes in silence. Sometimes just holding hands, sometimes with their arms around each other. Oh, and sometimes kissing.

For the first time in a long time Jane felt that she had a life again!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 25. December 2021, 14:21:46 PM
FIRST KISS! Jane and Simon's relationship is handled well, they feel realistic. I look forward to future developments.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 27. December 2021, 01:18:35 AM
Chapter 23

Peter stopped the car outside Jane's house.  "Come on in for a cuppa, and say hello to mum..."

"Yeah, ok... "

Mum was in the kitchen. "Hi jane... and hello there, Simon, nice to see you!"

"Thank you" replied Simon.

"Mum.... there's something we should tell you.... we're officially going out with each other, as of today!"

"Oh, that IS good news.... take care of her, Simon!"

"Oh, I will, although she seems to be a lot better at looking after herself these days."

Jane went and put the kettle on. "You want one, mum?"

"Yes, that would be nice." she replied. "Hey, Simon, why don't you join us for tea this evening? There's plenty enough for you as well"

"That sounds great, but I'm not sure what Sarah has planned for dinner"

"Well, why don't you call her, and if she's not started anything, tell her to come over too, it will be nice to have a few more people around the table!" said Jane's mum.

So, Simon called Sarah, and she hadn't started anything, so said she'd come over soon.

"I'll leave you two out here for the moment..." said mum, walking out of the kitchen, and heading to the lounge.

Jane stood there looking at Simon. It was clear she was in love with him. Madly in love with him. As she looked at him, Jane realised there was something she needed to tell him. Something she should have said earlier on. She went to him, and took his hands. "Simon, there's something I need to say to you... I should have said it earlier.... umm.... I.... err... I... ummm". This was something that Jane had never really said before to a boyfriend. She took a breath. "I love you, Simon!". Finally Jane was able to relax: she'd said those very important three words. Once she had said them, she wondered why she had been so worried about saying them.

"Yes, I think I'd worked that out, but it's nice to hear it. You know I love you too, don't you?"

"Yes, I think I'd worked that out too, but it's still very nice to hear it!". Jane and Simon put their arms around each other, and hugged. For the first time since... well, since Peter died, Jane felt very good. Loved. Happy. Safe. Relaxed. And lots of other similar feelings too.

A little later, Sarah arrived, as did Jane's dad, and they all had a great meal.

It's a few days later.... Jane rang Simon just after tea. "Hello my lovely!" said Simon. Jane loved the way Simon answered the phone to her, he always said something nice.

"Hello, the love of my life!" she replied. "My two treatment plans arrived today, so I was hoping you might come over, and we can take a look at them together..."

"Yeah, ok, give me a few minutes, and I'll be on my way...". Simon arrived not long after. They went up to Jane's room, and together looked at the treatment plans. They dismissed the treatment suggested by Mr Fixem pretty quickly. Ok, yes, it was cheap, but Jane had already decided that there was no way she was having Mr Fixem as her ortho!

The question was whether the second ortho they had visited, Mr John Sampson, was a good choice, or whether Jane should go see another ortho or two.

Jane and Simon read his treatment plan, which confirmed what he had told them, and included several printouts showing her teeth as there were now, and computer images that showed how her teeth should look after treatment... and they looked really nice. He gave 2 options (he explained that he had decided not to include the option of extracting one of the second premolars - rather than a first premolar - as it didn't actually make the treatment any faster or better)

He strongly recommended the option of having 4 premolars removed, and using a quad helix to tip straight and expand her upper teeth. Towards the end of her treatment, when her crossbite of her two upper incisors was fixed, she would need a 'suitable appliance' to hold her teeth apart, the specifics if that appliance would be discussed nearer the time, but could include a removable appliance.

The plan explained how elastics would be used to help move her incisors into place, and a spring used to push the lateral incisors to the sides, to make space for her central incisors. The treatment time for this option would be 18 to 24 months, a lot depending on how well / quickly Jane's teeth moved.

The plan also commented that, from what the computer showed, Jane's teeth should be fairly stable mechanically, with the possibility of maybe slightly 'adjusting' a few teeth to make things even better: but that conversation would need to be had after the end of her treatment.

He also included the second option, of having her wisdom teeth removed, rather than the premolars. This would, of course, require the wearing of extra-oral traction (= headgear) and a lip-bumper at night, and an increased treatment time of 30 to 36 months.

In both cases, treatment was conditional on her x-rays showing that she had suitably good roots to her teeth.

If Jane wanted to accept either treatment plan, she would need to sign the agreement. The next step would be to (on the same day) have Xrays taken, spacers fitted, and her teeth extracted. one to two weeks later (to give her gums time to start healing) she would have her brackets and appliances fitted.

The price he quoted wasn't cheap (it was actually about 10% more than Mr Fixem's quote), but it was pretty much what Jane and Simon had expected. (The second option, due to the extended treatment time, was very slightly more expensive). And, of course, there was a monthly payment option, which Jane knew she could afford (especially since she'd had her promotion)

"So, what do you think, Jane? Do you want to go for another consultation?"

"No, I don't think I do. This treatment plan from Mr Sampson seems pretty ok to me, as does his price. More importantly, I actually trust him: he explained everything well, and didn't try and duck any of our questions."

"I assume you're going to go with his suggested option... or do you have a strange desire to have to wear headgear?"

Jane smiled: "No, I have no strange desires!"

"How do you actually feel about getting braces then?"

"Amazingly ok. I mean, I know my treatment will be hard for me at times, but seeing what my teeth are going to look like afterwards, I'm feeling so much more positive about things. So, I guess I ned to sign the paperwork, and make some appointments...."

"I'm assuming you'd like me to come along again?"

"Well, I was going to say no, but they suggest that I don't drive after my extractions, so can you take me to my first appointment. I think I'll be ok after that though... unless you want to come and watch me?"

"No, that's fine... as long as you're ok, then I'm happy. But if you DO change your mind, I'm here for you! But I'll happily take you to the first appointment"

The next morning, whilst at work, Jane called the ortho's office to confirm that she'd like Mr Sampson to treat her, and to make her initial appointments: the first to have the spacers installed, and her premolars removed, and the second to actually get her braces. Jane felt surprisingly relaxed as she confirmed the times and dates.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 27. December 2021, 16:08:40 PM
Chapter 24

Jane opened the front door to Simon. He was there to take her to her first orthodontic appointment.

"Hi Jane, my lovely...." he said in greeting.

"Hi Simon..." said Jane, rather more sedately.

"Is something up? You really don't sound like your new-normal perky positive self"

"It's about my braces..."

"What about them?"

"I've been thinking about them all night, and I'm not sure I really want them". To say Simon was shocked was a big understatement

"Jane... I thought you really wanted them?"

"I did, but thinking about having extractions and all that... I'm just not so sure". Simon went to Jane, and put his arms around her.

"Jane... Jane... Jane... my darling Jane...." he said, still holding her in his arms. "Hey, let's have a cuppa, and sit down and chat about... well about what's bugging you". Simon could tell there was something going on that he didn't know about. Out in the kitchen, Jane made three cups of tea. She gave one to Simon, then took the other two through to the lounge, and put them on the small table.

"Peter, there's a cuppa here for you...." she called. A few moments later a guy in his mid-20's appeared. 5ft 10ins tall, casually dressed, but rather good looking. He sat down next to Jane, and picked up the third cup of tea.

"Peter, what are you doing here?" asked Simon

"Probably the same as you: trying to work out why Jane doesn't want to get her braces. She was feeling so positive about them yesterday". He put his arm around Jane, and pulled her close, and she put her arms around him: it was clear that they deeply loved each other.

Jane closed her eyes: she was confused too. She thought that she'd managed to get over all of her anxieties about getting braces. But here she was, feeling very unsure about getting them.

"Peter, my darling, what SHOULD I do?" she asked. "I think I'm still rather scared about getting braces"

"Don't be scared, sis. Yes, you're going to be a bit sore when you have your teeth removed, and you'll be a bit sore when you first get your braces, but think about the end result: you're going to have a beautiful smile". Yes, that WAS what it was all about, wasn't it? Jane hated the way her teeth looked, but Peter was, as ever, quite right.

"Don't worry sis, Simon and I will both be there for you, all the way...."

Jane relaxed a little, and opened her eyes again.


Jane was holding her pillow tightly: she was in bed, and it was clear she'd just had another dream. A rather strange and worrying dream. And a rather nice one too, because the two loves of her life were there, being there for her. But more worrying was what her dream was about: Jane thought that she had overcome all her anxieties about getting braces, but clearly not.

Jane took a deep breath. Today was the day that she was due to get her premolars removed, and her separators installed. Oh, and Xrays taken too. All getting things ready for her to have braces, to finally fix her teeth. And she actually felt ok about that - whilst Peter wouldn't be there for her, Simon would be, and he was a very worthy replacement.

It was about this point when Jane realised quite how much she loved Simon.

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 30. December 2021, 11:20:20 AM
It's good to see that her dreams about Peter have shifted in a more positive direction. Having him become a dream advisor is an interesting move. I look forward to her first appointment.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: kelly-Marie on 03. January 2022, 20:30:28 PM
Jane is bound to have doubts right up to the e d I'm so pleased she can get advice from her brother and from Simon too  hakes her life so much easier
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 06. January 2022, 01:12:47 AM
Chapter 25

Last week Jane had dropped off the signed agreement, so today, Thursday, was the day that Jane would be going to her first orthodontic appointment. As well as getting the tiny rubber separators fitted (which she'd read online were likely to be uncomfortable for a few days), she was having her four front premolars removed - which she guessed would probably hurt far more than those separators.

Her appointment was early afternoon, so she went to work in the morning, but not only took the afternoon off, but also tomorrow, giving her a total of just over 3 days before she would be back at work. By then, she hoped she would be in a more fit state to actually be at work!

She had a light sandwich for lunch: she would have to eat soft foods for a few days after the extractions, so she made sure to enjoy the sandwich! Whilst she knew that she'd need to take painkillers before her actual orthodontic appointments, she also knew that her mouth would be quite numb for an hour or two from the anaesthetic she'd be given for the extractions, so wouldn't need any painkillers till later in the afternoon.

Jane's phone rang: "Hi Jane, I'm in the car park..." said Simon. Jane turned off her laptop, and went out to the car park: as she got in the car, she looked over at Simon, smiled, then leaned across and gave him a very nice kiss on his lips.

"Oh, so what did I do to deserve that then?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing special... just being here for me when I need you!".

"Oh, right... I'm ok with that!". As Simon drove them to the orthodontists, Jane told him about her strange dream. "It's odd how, just when you think you have everything sorted out, your subconscious throws up a dream like that"

"Well, I guess the question is whether you really DO feel ok about getting braces?"

"I'd say I'm 95% ok with it... there's always that tiny worry about 'the unknown', isn't there?"

"I know what you mean. I had a weird dream the other week, all about exams: would I make it in time, and how would I do, because I'd not done any revision. Of course, the exams were several years ago, and I did plenty of revision, so why the dream?"

It didn't take too long for Simon to drive them to the orthodontist, and park outside. Once stopped, he took Jane's hand, and held it between his two hands. "You ready for this?" he asked, looking into her eyes.

"Yes, as ready as I will ever be...". They walked together into the Orthodontist's office, hand in hand. Partly because they were so much in love, but also because Simon wanted Jane to know he was there for her.

"Good afternoon, I'm Jane Smith, I have an appointment"

"Yes, with Mr Sampson. I'll let his assistant know you're here. Please, take a seat in the waiting room, do help yourself to a drink...."

Jane smiled as they both sat on the rather sumptuous settee: this was actually the first time Jane had done anything as 'extravagant' as this: usually, she went to simple shops, such as clothing shops, where the changing rooms would be basic and small. Same sort of things when going out for a meal: nothing too extravagant. But the orthodontist she had chosen it was a bit more expensive than the other option, but she did like the ortho, John Sampson - he seemed to understand that his paitients  (or maybe that should be 'customers') were important. The waiting room was very pleasantly decorated, and had a pleasant 'calming' feel to it.

A lady came into the waiting roon a few minutes later: Jane recognised her as Jan, the ortho's assistant.

"Hello again Jane, would you like to come through with me please...". Jane and Simon followed into the treatment room.

"Good afternoon, Jane, lovely to see you again... and Simon, isn't it? Lets go and sit down a moment, and I'll run through what we'll be doing today." They went and sat down with John Sampson, the ortho.

"Now, before I start talking about what I'll be doing today... you've hopefully had time to read your treatment plan. Did it make sense to you?"

"Yes, Simon and I read it together, and it pretty much matched what you told us when we were here. And no, I can't think of any questions"

"That's good: if you do have any questions, no matter how small or silly they may seem to you, do ask at an appointment, or get in touch... email can be useful for not-so-critical things, but don't hesitate to call us whenever the office is open if you prefer"

"Thanks, I'm sure I'll have a question at some point!"

"So today: the first thing I'll be doing will be to inject you with several lots of local anaesthetic: that will take a while to kick in, so while that's happening, I'll get Jan to take you for your panoramic x-ray - it's maybe a bit strange, but it's nothing to be scared of. Once I've looked at the x-rays, and confirmed that your teeth, and more specifically the roots of your teeth, are all ok, I'll fit your spacers. By the time we've done all that, the anaesthetic should have fully numbed you, and we can extract your four premolars: if you feel any pain then do let me know... and yes, I'll check that you're numb before extracting the teeth!"

"After that, you'll need to sit in here for a little while, with a few wads of gauze in your mouth, while the bleeding stops, which hopefully won't take long.. I'll give you with some clean gauze pads to take with you just in case the tooth sockets start bleeding again! The anaesthetic will take an hour or so to wear off, so take some pain-killers once you get home. Hopefully all that made sense to you - do you have any questions?"

Jane thought for a moment. "I guess you'll tell me some aftercare do's and don'ts before I go?"

"Yes, I'll get Jan to go through that with you.... So, if there's no other questions, would you like to come over to the treatment chair, so i can give you your injections. Simon, you are welcome to watch - it's a bit boring to be honest - or you can wait here." Simon decided to wait where he was. Jane got into the chair, then Jan fitted her with a disposable bib, and gave her some dark glasses. Once she was settled, she opened her mouth, and John started to give her several injections of novocaine.

Jane didn't really feel much instantly, but she soon started to feel the effects.

"Ok, all done there, do have a rinse out of you like.." Jane picked up the small disposable plastic cup, took a mouthful from it, then spat it out.

"Right, would you like to go with Jan, and have your x-ray done? Simon, I'm afraid you'll need to wait here" While Jane went off to have her panoramic x-ray taken, John briefly explained to Simon what would be happening to Jane.

So, Jane followed Jan into a small room. "First, you need to remove anything metallic... so your glasses, and do you have any earrings?"

"No, but I do have some hearing aids"

"Ah, yes, you had better remove them, you can put them all over here for the moment. Now, let me put this onto you..." said Jan, fitting Jane with a lead apron over her shoulders, to protect her from the x-rays. Jan then got her to stand next to the big machine, which she adjusted to be the right height. Jane put her chin and forehead onto some rests, then Jan fitted a bit of plastic that went between her teeth, and that Jane gently bit on.

"Right, I need to just stand over here... so the big bits to the side of your head will rotate around you, just stay nice and still for me - it only takes about 20 seconds." Jane could hear a humming as the big lumpy bits of the machine rotated about her head.

"Ok, all done!" said Jan. She took the lead apron off Jane, then let her put her hearing aids back in, and her glasses back on. A minute or two later, they were back with John and Simon.

"Right, I just took a look at your x-rays" said John several minutes later, and your teeth and roots are in great condition, so there's absolutely no reason to not go ahead with your treatment. Also, the roots of the four teeth I'll be removing are lovely and straight, so they should come out quite easily. So, if you'd like to get into the treatment chair, we can get those spacers in, then see about getting your premolars removed! Simon, you're welcome to watch, but you might find it a little 'gory'".

"Nah, it's ok, I'll watch Jane scream from over here, if Jane doesn't mind" said Simon with a large smile

Jane sat in the chair, and Jan put a disposable bib on her, and passed her the dark glasses, which she put on. Next, John leaned the chair back, and shone the light into her mouth. Jane would only be getting 2 bands (on the appliance on her upper molars), so there were only 4 spacers to fit: of couse, Jane was all numbed up, so didn't feel a thing as John inserted the spacers into place.

Next, John got a 'poking thing' and jabbed around Jane's pre-molars. "Did you feel that at all" he asked.

"No, not a thing"

"In that case, I'm ready to extract your teeth - you shouldn't feel a thing.". Using a special tool, John poked around her teeth, then using what look like a big pair of pliers, deftly removed her lower left premolar - Jane didn't feel a thing. Jan passed John a wad of gauze, which John put into the gap where he'd just removed Janes tooth.

"All ok?" asked John. 

"I gign't feel a fing" said Jane as best she could.

"That's good! Ready for the next one?" he asked. Jane nodded.

Within 15 minutes, all four of her premolars had been removed, and Jane was sat in the chair, with several bits of gauze stuffed into her mouth, where minutes ago she had teeth.

"Just bite gently onto the gauze, it will help the blood to stop flowing..." said John. Jane sat patiently in the chair for another ten minutes, with the gauze pressing into the sockets where minutes ago she had teeth. "Ok, that's all looking good. So what I'll do is give it a couple of minutes, then put some nice fresh gauze in it".

"Ok" said John just before Jane left the surgery, "so go gentle for the rest of today. Eat and drink cold, or at best, lukewarm things for the next 24 hours or so. And eat soft food for the next few days, things like soup and yogurts or even ice cream are good - my young patients LOVE the ice cream!. Use some sort of ice pack if you get swelling, and take painkillers as you feel fit. Otherwise, it's common sense!"

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 06. January 2022, 16:35:44 PM
Jane has been on quite a journey, hasn't she? At the start of this story, she wasn't in a very good place, but over the last 25 chapters she has blossomed. She's so much more self assured, helped a lot by her parents, her memories of her brother, and of course Simon.

So today is the day she gets her braces....


Chapter 26

"You sure you're going to be ok going by yourself?" asked Simon

"Definitely. You know, this last couple of weeks, I've been feeling so much more relaxed about getting these braces - and a lot of that is down to you!"

We are 2 weeks on from the last chapter, and today Jane will be getting her braces. The last two weeks have been amazingly good for her, meaning that she's not had a single bad dream, although there have been a couple of very positive dreams which she only remembers a bit of, but they were definitely encouraging ones.

"Well, I guess I'll see you tonight. You're gonna have the full set, aren't you? Glasses, hearing aids, and now braces... I mean, what else is left?"

"Well, I guess there's always leg braces!" joked Jane. This was so typical of the banter that went on between Jane and Simon. "I'll call you later on, and try and talk to you! My god, I wonder if I'll have a lithp?"

"If you do, I'm sure you'll sound nice and sexy with it!".

After her last visit to the ortho, Jane had felt very positive, so had decided that she would get her braces without Simon. As far as she knew, Simon didn't have any particular love of braces (and yes, it WAS one of the many things they had chatted about!), and Simon seemed to be fine with not coming along.

Jane finished eating her sandwiches, and went into the Ladies to brush her teeth, as well as take some pain-killers. She had use the taxi app to order a taxi: this wasn't something she did often, but she decided that it would be a LOT easier today. Her phone pinged, to let her know that her taxi was a few minutes away, so she went down to reception, and waited for it.

"Hello Jane, good to see you again" said John, her orthodontist. "You're alone today.."

"Yes, I'm actually feeling pretty positive about what's happening today, so I thought it was maybe time to do this by myself"

"Oh, that's good, I like patients who feel positive about their treatment! So how's your jaws where you had your teeth extracted?"

"Doing pretty well actually..."

"Excellent. And the spacers?"

"A couple have fallen out"

"Not unexpected, there's plenty of room for the teeth to move a little! Come and sit down, and I'll run through what I'll be doing to you today". Jane sat with John on one of the comfier chairs. "Remember, if you have ANY questions, do ask them at any time. Well, ok, maybe not when I've got your mouth full of dental instruments, but you know what I mean!"

Jane felt quite relaxed by John's manner. "I will. Hey, is that my quad-thingumy I see over there?". She had spotted some teeth models over on the side, with a metal appliance on it.

"Yes, that is indeed your quad-helix: want to have a look at it?". Jane nodded, so John got up and brought it back with him. He gave it to Jane to have a look at: metal bands around her rear second molars (so the teeth in front of her wisdom teeth, and where she'd had the spacers fitted), with thick wires that went along the inside of her other molars, and a sort of 'spring' that went across the top of her mouth (go search "quad helix" and look at a picture, it's not so easy to describe!). Jane had herself had a look at online pictures, and this device was pretty much identical to what she had seen.

"So, after I remove the remaining spacers, I'll clean your teeth, and the first thing I'll be doing is fitting that quad helix. With luck it will fit as-is, but usually there's a little bit of stretching needed to make those bands fit on your teeth. Then I'll be using a UV light activated glue to fit it in place. Next I'll be fitting brackets to your teeth: they are mid-sised brackets, so that they are able to take the pressures the wires will be applying to them. Again, they get glued on with UV cured adhesive. Having the brackets put on is the boring bit for you, so you are very welcome to just listen to music if you like..."

"Won't I have bands on my lower molars, I saw online that many people get those"

"No, there's no need, so I'll just be placing normal brackets on your lower molars. I'll not be putting any brackets on your top two central incisors for the moment, partly due to the lack of space, but I'll be fitting a tiny spring on your top archwire, to help push the lateral incisors apart, and they might get in the way."

"And on my canines?"

"Yes, you'll definitely have brackets on those, although I won't be attaching the archwire to them for a while. Instead, you'll be wearing tiny elastic bands between the upper and lower canines, to help pull them up and down."

"You mentioned about maybe a removable appliance?" asked Jane

"Yes, that's in the future, so once your molars are lined up better, and your lateral incisors have enough space between them for the central incisors to be moved forwards - that's going to be several months away though, so I can go into a lot more detail about that, or whatever option we go for, later on."

Jane sat quietly for a quick moment, and took a couple of gentle breaths.

"You know, I think your teeth are going to look pretty good when they're all in their right places. So, you ready to do this?"

Jane took a very big breath. She actually felt amazingly calm about what was about to happen to her. "Yes... let's do it" she replied, with a big smile - a smile full of crooked teeth!


And that is the end of the story of Jane's journey to getting braces! Thank you all for your encouraging words along the way, it has been an interestingly different story to write.

(Next up I'm going to finish off the "Dave, Andrea and Them" story....)

Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: braces37 on 06. January 2022, 17:10:07 PM
It's been a long road, getting from there to here, but Jane has made it. Congratulations on creating the most unique and characterization-heavy story on the site. I look forward to your future works.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: franci on 07. January 2022, 10:57:13 AM
Good morning I have now read your last chapter what a beautiful story I am happy for Jane that she is now comfortable with herself and that she has decided to solve her problems.
For us women it is not simple and above all easy to do things for us, so I am happy that Jane has done it.
Thanks on behalf of all women!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: bracessd on 07. January 2022, 17:29:22 PM
Great job!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: silver-moon-2000 on 07. January 2022, 18:15:02 PM
Somehow I'm sad that this story came to it's conclusion, but on the other hand it has been a great story. Thanks for writing / sharing
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Sparky on 07. January 2022, 19:13:58 PM
Somehow I'm sad that this story came to it's conclusion, but on the other hand it has been a great story. Thanks for writing / sharing

Yes, I know what you mean. As a writer, I have a lot invested in my characters, and it's a bit of a shame to just drop the characters... and I guess that's why it's fun to sometimes have a cross-over into another story.

So, I am NOT a writer, I'm a technical trainer, but about 10 years ago, I had a go at writing (about braces), and found I enjoyed it. It's a way of living out some of my own fantasies, whilst sharing them at the same time.  I'd class myself as  an"ok-ish" writer: most of my stories have been fairly simple, with the occasional bit of humour, but Plain Jane was my first attempt at going a bit deeper into the character. As such, I never intended to really do much with her braces, that was almost incidental to the story. When I started the story, I had decided about her back-story (her brother's death a year before), that she had bad teeth that needed braces, that she had low self-esteem... but also that she should be a capable character, just in a rather bad place. Most of the rest came as I wrote the story.

Another of my "story universes" is the fairies, that's just a lightweight fun thing, allowing me to do things that normal humans wouldn't normally do (well, apart from my WTF story, which was vaguely inspired by the fairies!), and I've wanted to do another fairies story for ages, If you look back to my earliest fairy story, I had the idea of "fairies do USA", but I could never come up with a good storyline for that. However, "Core" came up with an interesting idea for a fairy story, and that has got my creative juices going again (I *was* going to take a break from writing for a bit till that happened!!). Again, the thing I like about the fairies is that not only do they like shiny things, and enjoy having fun, they are actually very positive female roles: Lilly (the bosses daughter / 'work experience' girl) is about to become quite a positive character.

Ok, enough waffling, I'm glad lots of you are enjoying my stories, it makes it worthwhile. If you want to read some of my other stories from the last 10 years, they are over in the "Club Area", also on the "Braces Archive".

And for anyone vaguely THINKING about writing a story.... have a go. Your first story is likely to be simple and short: that is fine, don't worry about it. Just have a go at actually writing! I did, not expecting to particularly enjoy it or be any good at it, and I'm glad I gave it a try!
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: Braceface2015 on 07. January 2022, 20:47:15 PM
I have to echo Sparky's comments. Writing a story can be enjoyable and the story doesn't have to be long. The stories don't have to be just about braces, stories can include many other things.

Don't worry about 'getting everything perfect'. If you need help with proofreading your story or just need someone to help smooth it out a little, just ask for someone to help you. There are people here who can assist you if you need help.

Sparky has been very generous with contributing stories to TheArchive, as have other people here, for which I am grateful. I have the largest collection of braces-related stories on the internet, and am always looking for more to add. I don't just collect them, I also write them.

Some of the best stories are quite short and deal with a simple situation. It can be as simple as, "A girl walks into a grocery store and sees one of the guys stocking the shelves. When she asks him where the canned fruit is, he turns to her and smiles, revealing his braces." You take it from there and see what you can come up with.
Title: Re: Story: Plain Jane
Post by: caster72401 on 09. January 2022, 15:02:40 PM
Great story, thank you for taking the time to write it.