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Old 06-12-2015, 07:06 AM   #1
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Default Soft Thrill - by Ashblonde - Parts I & II (BHM, FFA)

Soft Thrill
by Ashblonde


Charlotte was anxious about Soft Thrill’s audition at the Bluebird Theater. She haunted the club regularly during her college years, watching her favorite bands in awe. Now she was looking square in the face at a big opportunity. She had heard about the opening gig from the manager of the nightclub she bartended at on weekends. He was friends with one of the owners of the Bluebird and helped her band get an audition slot.

She had graduated two weeks earlier from UC-Boulder's College of Music and didn't want to mix martinis for the rest of her life. She had aspirations to use her education and not become another music major statistic. Her voice was a natural gift, but her studies forced her to understand the discipline and business of music and hone her song writing skills.

She was always the kind of girl who always hung out with musicians, so it was natural that she'd fall into a friendship with a group of classmates thinking about starting a band. In study group chatter, Jeremy, Chris, Jason and Charlotte found they all had the same love for indie alternative music when they bonded over rock shows and mp3 collections.

After a string of dates with guys she wasn't interested in, Charlotte wrote a song called, "Another" about a girl who tried to force herself, but could never fall in love. She played it at an open mic venue and the guys were blown away by her delivery.

I only wade in the shallow water
You want to go off the deep end
I don’t know my own heart
So I can't very well take yours...

That night they asked her to join their band, and started bringing their respective music together as a group. Charlotte suggested the idea of calling the band Soft Thrill, after she found the color name among shades of blue while helping her sister select paint colors for her apartment. She felt immediately sexy about it and everyone in the band agreed that "sexy" would be a good label for a female fronted band.

They played college venues for a few months, generating some buzz among the local “under 21” crowd. A few months more, through word of mouth and some loose connections, they moved into some minor Denver clubs. Slowly they picked up a small but loyal following, with a fair amount of attention being paid to Charlotte's nymph-like stage persona.

This audition at the Bluebird was for a rotating spot opening for popular local band called Essex. Charlotte first saw Essex play during her sophomore year and was completely absorbed into their retro indie sound. The lead guitarist, a chubby guy with impressive talent, especially captivated her.

He had a beautiful, boyish face, with an adorable ski slope nose and sweetly upturned lips. His hair was brown and wavy, with a bit of a youthful disheveled musician look. He was expressive in his playing and seemed to live within the music rather than for the fans. He wasn't extremely big back then, but his guitar failed to cover his bulging middle.

After seeing that show, she did a little research and found out his name was Ethan James and he was the songwriting talent in the band. She downloaded a few songs from their website, fell in love with the music and developed a serious crush on Ethan. He was the trifecta she had always been looking for: musically talented, boyishly handsome and nicely rounded.

She would go to their gigs every few months, gleefully noticing his increasing size. His weight had gone up quite a bit over the two years since she first saw the band play, and her crush grew deeper at each show. Sure, he was cute and fat, but he was a wonderful musician and songwriter too. She felt a kinship to his artistic nature, yet had never been able to exchange a word with him.

Charlotte entered the side door of the club with her band mates where they were shown to the stage and set up their equipment. Hoping they'd get past the first song with the club's manager, they specially rehearsed three songs: Jeremy's hard-driving song, "One More," Charlotte's jangling ballad, "Another," and a breathy voiced cover of the Foo Fighters' "Everlong."

There was one other song Charlotte offered for consideration. She wrote "No One" late one night after an Essex show last winter. It was about her desire for Ethan, expressing the feeling of being just another fan in the crowd. But the song had an erotic twist. It gave her the vixen role in that she would turn the tables and make him desire her with the same lust she felt for him.

I'm your no one
You go on without me
But someday, you will want me
I will linger in a fantasy
Burn for you, make you crave me

She had mixed feelings about the song. It was personal to her so she refused to admit to her band mates that the song was about someone specific. And with the lovesick obsessive tone of the lyrics, she didn't want to get pegged by anyone as a lunatic. She held her feelings close to her heart only expressed them through her music.

The first time she played it for the band, she felt awkward about it and didn't deliver with her full voice. But they liked the provocative lyrics and toyed with it anyway, adding a sexy beat and a throbbing guitar line to support the suggestive lines. When she turned her back to them imagined singing the song to Ethan, it started to simmer. But Charlotte needed more time to get used to performing it publicly, so they agreed to put it on the back burner.

Jeremy introduced the band to the manager of the Bluebird, known only as Mac, and they took their places on stage. "Hey, Jack, bring up the stage lights," Mac shouted to a club employee. Charlotte's heart pounded.

They rocked with "One More," and Charlotte could see that Mac also seemed to enjoy "Another." But when they launched into their pop-punk version of "Everlong," Mac checked his watch, got up from his chair and walked away with his cell phone to his ear.

Charlotte thought she was losing him and sung her heart out to get his attention back. When the song ended, Mac paused his phone conversation and yelled over to them, "Can you guys hang on a minute?"

We blew it, Charlotte thought, as she glanced uneasily at Jeremy, Chris and Jason. A few moments later, the dark corner door of the club burst open revealing sunlight and four figures walked through. The door shut and Charlotte could then see that it was Essex, with Ethan's broad figure walking in behind the others.

Her heart pounded. She hadn't expected them to come. She felt momentary relief that they hadn't been there during the three songs or she would have really blown the audition. But Mac raised her blood pressure with his words, "I'd like you to play one more song. Is that a problem?"

"Uh no, no…" Jeremy stuttered over the mic. "Just give us a sec," he waved the band together in a conference. "What do you think," he whispered, "Charlotte's stalker song?"

"Holy crap, 'No One?'" Chris interjected, "Are we ready with that? Charlotte, can you do it?"

Charlotte suddenly felt numb inside. Between the high stakes of this audition and having Ethan watch her perform, her defenses oddly shut down and her fear dissolved. Before she knew it, she was blindly agreeing, "Yes, I'm totally ready to do that song."

The music started and she began to sing. As the words came out, she transformed into the femme fatale in the song, glancing into Ethan's eyes for surges of energy and inspiration.

I want inside you, I see you inside me
I imagine you hungry
Your face over my body, your body over mine
Wrap my legs around you
Full-size pictures of you
Caged up in my dirty little mind

Charlotte maintained a controlled, confident, slithering style with her delivery. Mac, the guys from Essex and a few club employees watched without word. She stopped thinking about how they were responding, just imagined the many depraved thoughts she had entertained about Ethan over the last couple of years.

Her performance was a blur to her. She only remembered that the band sounded amazing. Jeremy hit the last note on his guitar and for a long moment, there was nothing but silence. Charlotte opened her eyes and saw the small audience clapping, including Ethan, who was smiling back at her. It was the first time she had ever seen him smile, as he always looked brooding or disaffected on stage. She had never in her life felt such an emotional high as she did in that moment.

Mac walked over to them and smiled, "I've seen a lot of crappy bands audition lately, so you had the job after the first song. But I'm glad you played all of them. You've got yourself a ringer there," he pointed at Charlotte, "If sex sells, she's the real deal."

The band walked down from the stage and Mac introduced the guys from Essex to Soft Thrill. Charlotte's anxiety was right back on the surface with her heart pounding as she glanced at Ethan. She flashed him her biggest smile without even trying. She noted a little belly shake when he shook her hand, sending shivers down her legs. There was no doubt he had continued to put on weight. He looked noticeably bigger from the Essex show she saw on New Years Eve, just a few months ago.

"You wanna get set up?" One of the guys from Essex said to the other members of their band. They moved toward the stage, and started to move equipment around. Charlotte watched them for a few moments, studying Ethan's form in movement, looking round and powerful.

Jason interrupted Charlotte's daze and asked Mac, "Why are they setting up now? It's the middle of the afternoon."

"They have a recording session tonight. They're trying to get some stuff hammered out here so they don't waste studio time. I'm financing this deal, so I suggested they get over here and practice," he explained.

Wow, Charlotte thought, they have a record deal. "Ethan is a huge talent, I'm sure they're going to do well behind his amazing songwriting," she found herself blurting.

"Yeah, he is huge alright," Mac joked. Charlotte became irritated. She didn't mean to imply anything about his weight.

Mac walked them to the door, "so you'll be here Saturday night? "

They all nodded and walked out. When the door was shut, they all screamed and hugged each other. This was a big break for them in the local music scene.

Charlotte's stage nerves started up again on Saturday afternoon. She had performed for a few dozen people at most, but never several hundred at one time. She had visions of tripping on stage or losing her voice. She decided she needed to get to the club early, so she could stake out the space and feel more familiar with it.

She rang the buzzer on the side door and for a minute, no one answered. She started to walk away when the door creaked open, and peering from behind the door she saw Ethan. Her heart jumped in her throat. "Oh! Uh… hi, I was just seeing if I could… um... uh," Charlotte was tongue-tied.

Ethan opened the door for her, with a wry smile, motioned her to walk in. "You're here early," he observed. "I was just playing around on the piano backstage," he explained himself, "its got pretty good sound."

"There's a piano back there? Where do they fit it?" she asked, hoping to get a tour from him.

"It's in the corner dressing room, there's a ton of space back there. You wanna look around?" he asked her.

"Yeah, I'd love it. Thank you, I totally need the distraction," she smiled back wearily, masking her excitement over Ethan's friendliness.

She followed him through a short hallway, watching him from the back. His brown button down shirt looked a little snug from behind, not allowing for any concealment of his generous love handles. But it was long enough that it covered the contours of his wide behind. Her fingers tingled just thinking about pressing them into his soft body.

He showed her into the room with the piano. The windowless room was dimly lit and looked a bit small to contain a medium grand. Ethan stopped at the piano and explained, "I like to spend time on it before shows; it helps with the nerves."

"You still get nervous?" she asked, dumbfounded. "I would think you'd be so used to it."

"Yeah, I still feel weird on stage," he frowned, pulling his shirt down to adjust it over his billowing belly.

"I know what you mean," she smiled, "I have a wicked case of nerves I'm working on right now."

Pointing toward the piano, he asked her, "Do you play?"

"A little," she admitted, hoping he wouldn't challenge her to play anything for him. She was comfortable with her singing, but she always felt insecure about her piano skills.

"Do you want to give it a try?" he waved her to the piano bench.

She was a bit embarrassed to play for him, but she wanted to be next to him more. She sat down on one side of the bench while her heart pounded, "Maybe you should play first," and motioned him to sit down next to her.

He paused, but then shrugged his shoulders and sat down. He pulled at his shirt again to adjust it over his belly. It was even tighter looking now, showing off his plush shape. His width filled a lot of the bench, forcing their bodies to touch. Charlotte had shivers running down her spine. She couldn't believe she was sitting there, right next to her hero, sharing that musical space.

He started to play a song she hadn't heard before, and it sounded fantastic to her. They looked at each other and smiled. She blushed and looked down, noticing that she had an amazing view of his body. Despite his effort to stay on his side of the bench, his legs were pushed wide by his soft, full belly and his thick thighs. Charlotte turned pink and stopped breathing for a second.

"Still nervous?" he asked, continuing the song.

She was nervous, but at least he was distracting her from stage fright. Her stomach was full of butterflies because she was touching Ethan, the object of her fantasies. "A little," she smiled up at him, noticing his flawless skin and cherubic cheeks.

"This is beautiful," she gushed watching his large hands and thick fingers work effortlessly on the keys, creating a wonderful sound.

He reddened a bit and smiled, "Thanks, just something I'm trying to work out."

He finished and she instinctively clapped her hands, realizing she probably looked like a silly schoolgirl. Ethan looked at her and offered up the keys, "Your turn."

Charlotte took a deep breath and started to play a song she wrote called "Duel," a chronicle of the combative nature of a worn out relationship. She wrote the lyrics after many late night phone calls with her sobbing sister after her fiancé broke off their engagement.

Knives of anger pierce her skin
Exposed she bleeds
Stabbed with a betrayal, cut by lies
Blow by blow, he leaves, she dies

She sang the lyrics, lightly then strongly, yet feeling self-conscious about the way he watched her. When the song was over, she looked at him and he had a concerned look on his face. "I know, kind of a bummer song," she confessed with a smile, "but it's one of the few I feel comfortable playing on the piano," she shrugged.

"Did you write that about an ex?" Ethan wanted to know.

"No," Charlotte laughed, "my sister had a really bad breakup last year. I channeled her pain, I guess."

"Oh," he looked relieved. "It's a great song. Your voice has a lot of range too."

She beamed and blushed, "Thanks." She had heard compliments about her voice for many years from teachers, friends and family, but coming from Ethan, a musician whom she respected and admired, it meant so much to her.

"Yeah, I mean you can go really strong and hard with your voice, or light and airy; it's nice," he shared.

Charlotte was blushing more. She glanced down at his body and felt hotter. He caught her eyes looking at his body then abruptly stood up, adjusting his shirt over his broad belly again. Charlotte saw him jiggle a bit from this hasty maneuver and she imagined caressing his middle, kissing him softly on the lips.

A moment later, Mac walked by and saw them in the room. "Hey," he shouted to Ethan, "Little Miss here thinks you're a huge talent," he repeated her words from the audition. Ethan looked at Charlotte. She smiled and looked down. Mac continued, looking at Charlotte, "You did say "huge" right?" and chuckled. Ethan turned pale and stepped away from her. She was suddenly uneasy. Was Mac insulting Ethan with the same cheap fat joke? Ethan's seemingly upset reaction devastated her with the possibility.

"Well, I better go," Charlotte grabbed her bag, feeling awful. Mac was still smiling at his joke as she passed by him. She hurried out and ran back to her apartment. She took out a song she'd been working on about a boy who couldn't see his own worth, and sang the lyrics:

You're stunning, you are
You're the only one, you are
You're brilliant, you are
You don't know why, but you are

She wanted to cry thinking about the look on Ethan's face when Mac repeated the word, "Huge," with his snickering laugh. Then she got angry, yelling out loud to herself, "Where does that jerk get off insulting the brains behind his best talent?" But she was mostly hurt that Mac's dim-witted sense of humor twisted her admiring words about Ethan.

A couple of hours later she returned to the club with her band mates and they went back to a dressing room. Charlotte paced, now more upset over the "huge" incident and her nerves took a back seat. She decided to use her anger on stage.

The band performed an amazing set, and the audience, while somewhat small, responded well. She wasn't sure if Ethan was even around to see her performance, but she hoped she would have a chance to say a word or two to him before Essex took the stage.

As they walked backstage after their set, Ethan was standing in the hallway. Her heart was already pounding and her face was flush from her performance, but she felt a different kind of excitement come over her body when she locked eyes with him. She smiled, "Hey, Ethan."
He didn't smile back, at her and just offered a simple, "Hey," in response.

She felt disappointment. He was cold to her now. She tried to pretend like she didn't notice, "Did you see our set?" she asked brightly. He was so gorgeous, she thought. She just wanted to throw her arms around his plush, wide body and give him a deep, penetrating hug.

"Some," was all he offered.

"Oh," she looked down, more crushed. "Well, good luck with your set," she tried to find a way back in his good graces, but he just nodded back at her and walked toward the stage.

She went back to one of the empty dressing rooms alone, and while she showered, she felt tears forming in her eyes over the emotional let down. She had felt so good about her performance and then Ethan's cold shoulder completely deflated her mood. She hated more than anything that he would think she could mock his magnificent body.

Charlotte rejoined her band mates in the cordoned off VIP area. She wasn't thrilled to see Mac, but he gave her a hug anyway, congratulating her on an excellent performance. She walked away from the group and watched Ethan play, lost in how much she loved his music and how beautiful and expressive his adorable face was.

Essex finished their encore and the lights came up. The VIP group made their way up to the top bar to relax and enjoy the evening's successes. Charlotte's anxiety was reignited when she saw Ethan walking toward the bar. She felt warm when she saw his soft belly in a tight t-shirt, expanded well past his button down layer.

He sat down alone near the bartender and ordered a beer. She decided she needed to heal any possible hard feelings or she would be heartsick over the whole misunderstanding. She walked over to him and touched his arm, "Hi," she said softly with a smile.

He looked up at her, "Oh hi," he managed a half-smile.

"You guys were great again tonight," she offered. "I love the new song you played at the end," she hadn't heard it before. "Did you write it?"

"Yep," he stared into his beer glass without even glancing at her.

Charlotte didn't know what more to say to break the ice, so she went the direct route, "Did I say something to upset you?"

Ethan looked at her, "Uh… no, I'm just… tired," and looked away.

"Oh," she still felt something was wrong, so she came right out with what was on her mind. "Well, then I just wanted to say that I really admire your talent, and I really just… well, I think you are so amazing." He continued to look into his glass. Her face felt hot with embarrassment and she started to walk away.

He grabbed her hand, "I'm just not in a good mood, sorry," he apologized. "It's just that Mac and I had a fight after you left, I'm still a little irritated over it."

"Oh," she was curious now, "Why is Mac causing you grief?"

"It's… stupid," was all he shared.

"That's okay, don't worry about it," she sat down next to him, appreciating his thick arms. "Just enjoy basking in the glory of yet another amazing show."

"So you're a fan?" he asked her with a sly smile.

"Yeah," she admitted, "I've been coming to your shows for a couple of years now." She didn't want to admit yet that she had the full library of their mp3s and knew all the lyrics to their songs.

He looked at her, "So when you told Mac you thought I was a 'huge' talent, you weren't making a joke?"

She felt warm again, "Oh, no. I'd never joke about that, you're an incredible musician, that's just the truth."

"Mac thought otherwise," he smirked.

"What is with Mac? Is he the biggest jerk ever?" she was sick of Mac getting in the way of her getting closer to Ethan.

"He sure can be when he wants to," Ethan acknowledged.

"Well, if he can't see how great you are, then he's a total idiot," she reasoned.

"No, it's actually the opposite. He knows I'm good, and he can't can me. That's what upsets him," Ethan shared more.

"Why would he want to can you?" Charlotte was totally confused.

He looked at Charlotte like she was the last person in on the joke. "He thinks I'm ruining the band's chances because I've gotten so fat," he looked back into his empty glass.

Charlotte was speechless. The bartender came back just then, "Another?" he asked Ethan. Ethan nodded, then turned back to Charlotte, "So you see, the 'huge' comment lit another little fire into our conflict. He knows that Essex would be a tired cover band without my songs, so for now he's stuck with the fat guy," he further explained.

"That jerk," Charlotte fumed.

Ethan smiled, "Your indignation is cute, but that's the reality of this business. Just be sure to stay thin and gorgeous or you'll find yourself out of work," he warned her.

Charlotte shook her head. She didn't know what to say. She thought Ethan was one of the best looking guys she had ever seen, how could he ruin an image? And did he just call her gorgeous? "Hey, did you just call me gorgeous?"

He smirked then smiled at her.

She smiled back and blushed. She blushed a lot around him. She glanced down along side of him, checking out his belly resting perfectly on his lap. "Well, I think you're gorgeous too," she blurted. She also blurted a lot around him. He had a very disarming effect on her.

He looked at her with a confused face. Just then, Jason interrupted, "We're taking off. You need us to walk you home?"

Ethan stood up and set his glass on the bar, "I'm heading out too."

"Well, then I'll walk out with all of you," Charlotte smiled. The band gathered their equipment and instruments and loaded it up in their van. Ethan grabbed his guitar and followed them outside.

"Which direction are you?" Jeremy asked Ethan.

"Uptown, not too far, I usually walk it," he answered

"Charlotte's down 17th, just past the park," Jason offered.

"I'd love to walk," Charlotte volunteered.

Ethan smiled at her, "Sure."

Her band mates left in their van and Charlotte and Ethan headed toward 17th, having a light conversation about the latest things going on in their Uptown neighborhood. There were so many good restaurants in the area, so she managed to get Ethan talking about good food, which made her heart race. Big boys talking about and enjoying food always made her heart race. She became quiet, lost in some sinful thoughts.

"So," Ethan asked Charlotte, breaking the silence, "How is it you've been living within a few blocks of me and I've never seen you around?"

"I only moved here a few weeks ago," she explained, "I just graduated from Boulder."

"Oh, no... CU? I don't know if we can be friends," he laughed.

"CSU? Really? Music major?" she asked.

"Naw," he smiled, "Engineering."

"Huh, wow, you're such an artist, I didn't expect you to be a left brainer," she laughed.

"Environmental engineering, so a little bit touchy-feely," he chuckled too. She thought he was so cute when he laughed. His eyes brightened and chin doubled into a lovely combination.

"Well, here's my place," she stopped under the awning of the apartment complex she now lived in.

"Okay," he paused, but stepped away from her.

"Thanks for walking me home," she offered, stepping toward him anyway and kissed him on the cheek. Before she could see his reaction, she turned and hurried inside.
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:14 AM   #2
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Default Soft Thrill - Prequel 2

Charlotte stewed over the cheek kiss for days until their next gig at the Bluebird, opening for another band the following Thursday night. After their set, Charlotte cleaned up and joined her band mates upstairs in the bar. She had a number of young guys surrounding her, heaping praise on her performance, when she saw Ethan, smiling at the other end of the room. She excused herself and walked over to him.

"Boy am I glad to see you," she said, relieved that she could escape her tiny fan club. He looked a little less disheveled than usual. He was clean-shaven and wearing a generously proportioned chocolate brown button down shirt, meant to be worn un-tucked, with khaki jeans. She found him so charming with this hipster chic look.

"You should get used to the attention," he smiled, "you're a college boy's dream."

Charlotte was in heaven. She was also hungry. "I'd like to get out of here. Do you want to get dinner with me? I haven't eaten all day and I'm totally starving."

"Sure," he agreed. Charlotte was relieved that she didn't have to twist his arm to get him out to eat.

"I really want to try that Peruvian place you were talking about the other night," she suggested.

"Sounds good," he agreed.

At the restaurant, they drank wine and talked easily about music, local bands and skiing.

"So you ski?" Charlotte asked, curiously.

"Don't be so surprised, fat guys ski too," he teased her.

Charlotte found herself very turned on when he said the 'fat' word. "Oh, yeah, of course, it's just that it scares me to death," she explained.

He smiled, "I grew up near Breckenridge, so it's kind of a residency requirement. I used to ski more, when I was younger," he admitted.

"I bet you're really good," she flattered him.

"I hold my own," he smiled confidently. "Big guys can use their extra gravity."

She realized he had no idea how hot he was making her, but she felt like he was pushing her buttons anyway.

As he walked her home, they passed a small park with a children's playground. Relaxed from the wine, she skipped over to the swing set, sat down and began to swing. She watched Ethan walk over to her, smiling. "You know, the cops look for silly adults in the park after hours," he reasoned with her.

"Forget about the fuzz," she joked, pumping her legs to get higher.

He leaned against a picnic table with his arms crossed, smiling at her insolence. She jumped off the swing and walked up to him. "So are you going to tell on me?" she teased him, moving inches away from his big body. She felt so sexy next to him, especially with a little wine buzz.

He didn't say anything, and suddenly seemed to become a bit shy. She sensed he was uncomfortable with how close she was getting, but she couldn't stop herself. Just as she was almost close enough to touch him, her chest nearing his belly, a cool breeze came though the air and she shivered. After the show she had felt very warm and only put on a t-shirt and an above-the-knee kilt style skirt. But now she was covered in goose bumps.

Ethan instinctively put his hands on her arms to warm them. His hands were very warm. She got on her tiptoes and gave him a soft kiss. "What was that for?" he asked her, with an incredulous smile.

"For being adorable tonight," she responded.

He looked at her like she was strange, so she kissed him again, this time pressing herself into him. She had dreamed forever about being this close to him and now here she was, feeling his warm and wonderful plush body and delicious lips next to hers. She stopped and opened her eyes, smiling into his eyes.

"Wow," he managed to speak.

"Wow, what?" she asked, nudging him.

"I didn't expect that," he responded.

"Was it wrong of me?" she prodded.

"Uh... no, no, it was just... unexpected," he smiled nervously.

She kissed him again, this time longer, her hands running along his soft arms. "So that was, perhaps, more expected?" she teased.

He smiled and warmed her arms again, "You're getting cold. We should walk you home."

They walked quietly, only exchanging a few words. She didn't know what to say anymore. He was either freaked out by her or just not attracted to her. She couldn't bear the thought of the latter possibility. He was under her awning again, and this time she asked him, "Do you want to come up?"

He paused and didn't say anything.

"I know," Charlotte began blurting her feelings again. She had a tendency to do this when nervous. "I'm being too forward. I'm not usually a psycho fan person, or anything. I just really, really like you," she looked at the ground.

"I'll admit I'm not used to having a fan, especially one so beautiful and talented," he offered up some of his own honesty.

She looked up at him and smiled, feeling reassured that he could be as attracted to her as she was to him. "So, the offer stands, you wanna come up and have coffee?"

"Only if you have big posters of me up everywhere," he joked.

Up at her place she made coffee and brought him a cup, and sat down next to him on her plush sofa. He filled it nicely, she thought, noticing the rise of his belly and the way it shook as she plopped down next to him. He shifted, and she noticed more of that jiggle. She could barely contain herself. Her old tingly fingers were back, anticipating getting her hands on his body.

They talked for a few minutes when she finally leaned in to kiss him. Within moments they were deep into making out and her hands were now roaming his body, feeling the bigness of his belly that had grown so nicely over the time she had been admiring him. Now, finally she was really touching him and it felt euphoric. She was elated that he seemed to be accepting that she wanted to explore his flab.

Until he whispered, "It's hard not to notice."

"Notice what?" she purred, lost in the exploration of his body.

"That I'm fat," he responded.

"You're sexy," she murmured, her hands running up his roll-laden side. To her his fat was an obvious asset. It didn't occur to her that she shouldn't enjoy his body.

He paused and looked at her, "You're a weirdo," and smirked.

They kissed a little while longer, when her hand moved underneath his shirt and grazed the hanging part of his belly. Ethan stopped her and stood up, "I really have to go, I have work early tomorrow," he explained, and rushed out. Charlotte was disappointed with his hasty departure, but she was still left in heaven from his sweet kisses and the memory on her hands of how his body felt.

Two nights later, Soft Thrill was once again opening for Essex. After the shows, they gathered at the bar. Charlotte cozied up to Ethan, wildly flirting with him.

Will, one of the guys from Essex started talking to Ethan. Tim, Ethan's best friend came up to Charlotte. "So, are you screwing with him?"

"Excuse me?" She asked, shocked.

"It looks like you're totally coming on to him. I hope you're not screwing with his head," Tim sounded bitter.

"That's just dumb," she reacted with irritation, but then softened, "I think he's a wonderful person."

"But are you into him? Because the last chick he dated treated him like shit and dumped him. He's about a hundred pounds heavier now and has been miserable ever since."

She felt badly that he had a heartbreaking relationship experience, but the 'hundred pounds' comment couldn't stop her from feeling utterly hot between the legs. But she kept her composure, "I get the feeling you've prejudged me, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, because it seems like you're trying to be a good friend. So here's the deal. I like Ethan. A lot. I think he's pretty amazing. I hope he likes me too. Is that what you need to hear?"

"Okay, okay," Tim smiled, "settle down. He's just taking so much shit from everyone about his weight - I just don't want to see him more depressed. Just don't get on him about his weight, alright?"

"That's not my style," Charlotte explained, "I hate the way Mac is being such a jerk to him too. It's just so wrong."

After a little while at the club, Charlotte asked Ethan to walk her back to her place. He agreed, but seemed quiet. As they got close to her apartment, he stopped, jammed his hands into his pockets and stuttered, "I don't know, Charlotte," he looked down.

"What don't you know?" she turned and asked, wide-eyed.

"What's going on here," he responded, looking back up at her.

"What do you mean?" She asked, getting anxious, "you mean between us?"

"Yeah, I mean, what's your motivation? Why are you acting like you're after me? I don't have important connections or anything. I can't help you meet influential people or whatever," he rationalized.

"Seriously? You think that's what I want from you?" Once again, Charlotte was taken aback by his lack of confidence. He had always seemed so cool and unaffected.

"I don't know. What DO you want from me?" He asked.

She was stunned. "I... I guess I want you to feel attracted to me the way I am to you. I know that's a lot to ask, you barely know me, but if you aren't interested in me, you should just let me know now. Because I'm pretty crazy about you," she revealed, her heart pounding with nervousness through her chest.

He paused at first, but then he stepped closer. She took his hands and kissed him. He smiled in a serene way that she hadn’t seen from him before. Without words, they walked up to her place. In her apartment, they continued to kiss as his hands roamed up and down her waist, her hands down his side, feeling his flabby folds. Two years of sexual fantasy buildup took complete hold of her and she led him to her bedroom, only thinking of how badly she wanted him to have her.

Still, not saying a word, she took off her blouse and skirt, stood before him in just her midnight blue bra and matching bikini panties. Ethan put his hands on her hips and pulled her to his body, whispering, "I'm dreaming."

She started to unbutton his shirt, with intense anticipation. She knew the general size and shape of what jiggled underneath his clothing, but the wonder of what it would be like to touch his bare chest and round belly entered her thoughts so often. Now here she was on the threshold of quenching her thirst.

Button by button, she slowly revealed the tight white undershirt he layered underneath. As she reached the bottom button and opened his shirt, she could see that his undershirt was too small and crept up his hanging belly. There was his sweet luscious flab, hanging like ripe fruit for her to grasp. Her hand grazed along his bare skin and he stepped back. She stepped toward him, lifting up his shirt, and pulling it over his head.

His body was absolutely glorious to her. She sunk her fingers into his creamy sides and pulled him close for more kissing. She whispered, "Now I'm dreaming."

He reached around her back and unhooked her bra and it fell to the floor. She climbed onto her bed and with her finger, motioned him to join her. He moved next to her on the bed, with the force of his weight rolling her body into his. She reached down to his pants, feeling under his belly to unzip them. He rolled on his back to help take them off. His body quivered with the struggle of getting them off and her mouth watered more. She pulled off his boxers, he pulled off her panties, and there they were, completely naked.

Charlotte moved her hand along Ethan's soft, unclothed body. She grazed underneath his belly to find him very hard and was pleased that he was as excited as she was. She climbed on top of him, setting herself on his manhood, and arranging his fat around her so that she could drink in his whole body while he made love to her.

Drenched in sweat, he managed to work her into several intense orgasms. Her deepest fantasies never caused as much excitement as the real thing finally did that night. After he came, he had the most peaceful look on his face. She sighed out loud, "You are amazing." She curled up next to him, reaching her arm around his broad body, wedging her fingers into his waist roll. "That was the most powerful thing I have felt in my entire life," she admitted.

He turned to kiss her, "Is this one of those dreams where I wake up and you're gone?"

She playfully tapped his chubby cheek, "No, you are awake, and I'm right here," she smiled and circled her fingers around his deep, soft belly button. Charlotte felt that being with Ethan was the most natural thing in the world, but she actually wasn't very experienced. She only had two lovers before him.

She dated Matthew her first couple of years in college. She loved him, as a person, but it never felt right with him. He was very nice looking, but he had that skinny musician body that she could never feel physically attracted to in bed. She hadn't realized quite why at the time. For a while she thought that she just wasn't that into sex. But once Charlotte started to fantasize about Ethan, and as Ethan's body grew fatter while she admired him from afar, the self-awareness of her desire for a chubby partner had fully developed.

In her junior year, she dated James, who had an amazing sense of humor and a soft, round belly on him. He wasn't big like Ethan, but his chunk of girth gave her some newfound pleasure. She enjoyed sex with James, but he was moody and they didn't get along well outside of the bedroom. By her senior year Charlotte was single again, and stayed that way until Ethan came into her life with the force of a hurricane. He changed everything she thought she knew about love.

They were together for nearly two years, and a lot of that time was very happily spent. Charlotte imagined that Ethan was the kind of man she could spend her life with. He was sweet and tender with her. He even began to write a few songs about lust and love, not just his usual anthems of anger and alienation. Their physical intimacy developed into a deeper bond. She felt a connection with him on so many levels, that the disintegration of their relationship took her by surprise.

Looking back on it, Charlotte began to realize that for a long time she was in denial over his body image issues. She hadn’t seen the need to share her fat loving feelings or tell him about her fetish for his fat body. She thought she might scare him away if she told him that she preferred him to be fat, that his weight gain, rolls and soft roundness greatly contributed to her sexual gratification. He never seemed comfortable enough with his body that she could freely grab his belly, or compliment his sexy waddle, or encourage his voracious appetite and say, "This is what turns me on."

Charlotte would tell Ethan that she was very attracted to him, how proud she was to be with him. She told him almost everyday that she thought him to be the most compassionate, gifted, sexy man she had ever known. That seemed like enough truth without drawing attention to his weight and risking hurting him, or having him think she was a perverted freak for liking what she liked. So despite how beautiful their first night had been, how many sexy nights would follow, it was this communication disconnection that led to their demise.

As the final months of their relationship waned, Soft Thrill's popularity grew fast. They began headlining clubs, taking the prime spots that often belonged to Essex and started looking at record deals. Tensions between Ethan and Mac hit a boiling point and the guys from Essex even began to scapegoat the weight issue for their lack of progress as a band. In the face of Soft Thrill’s ascent and internal band conflicts Ethan finally succumbed to the pressure and started to crash diet.

He didn't share any of this with Charlotte. Her band went on a month-long tour of California clubs; when she returned, Ethan was down at least twenty pounds. He told her he hadn't been feeling well. But a week later, when out of concern she encouraged him to eat something, he blew up at her. "I'm losing the goddamn weight! I've had enough of the bullshit. It's my body, just leave it alone!"

Charlotte was caught totally off guard. She had never really heard Ethan actively talk about losing weight. He was a bit insecure at times and didn't love being fat, but he never talked about doing anything to change it. She tried to be supportive, but it was hard for her to encourage his weight loss "achievement" when she loved his fatter body so much.

As he lost more weight, he became colder toward her. He was spending more time at the gym, more time at clubs, less time with her. When she tried to talk to him about it, he would accuse her of trying to keep him from finding success. Her increasing celebrity further fueled the anger and resentment Ethan directed at Charlotte, causing a deeper rift between them.

After a few months of aggressive dieting and exercise, he had lost more than sixty pounds. He was getting a lot of compliments, and people were making obnoxious remarks to Charlotte. Some were harmless, like, "Did you stop cooking for him?" Some were inappropriate, "I'll bet the sex is better now," some were downright hurtful, "You better watch him now, you're going to have a lot of new competition." That people actually thought these things made her sick.

Sure, it was hard to see him lose the weight she had such a fondness for. But it was the assumptions people made about their relationship that made her seethe. That somehow he was suddenly better looking or more desirable now? Or that his weight made him her cuckold? She couldn't bear the thought that Ethan would buy into those false notions too.

Charlotte found the old Pretenders song, "Back on the Chain Gang," contained poignant lyrics for the way in which Ethan was pressured to change and their demise as a couple. She regularly sang it during show encores in the final months of their relationship.

The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they’ve done to you
But I’ll die as I stand here today
Knowing that deep in my heart
They’ll fall to ruin one day
For making us part

Still, her pain remained unspoken to Ethan until the day they broke up. He himself accused her of wanting him fat to keep him from finding the same success. She asked him why he didn't call again, and he lashed out at her. "I know you felt safe with me, because you probably thought no one else would want me. As long as I was fat, I was under your control."

Charlotte reeled from this. Speechless, she left his place and didn't talk to him again for a long time. Their relationship was over but a lot of anger and open wounds never healed. She wrote a flurry of songs to deal with her heartbreak, including Soft Thrill’s breakout hit, "To Damage You."

I put you on a pedestal
But I never took you down
You just walked away
You were already broken
There was no way for me
To damage you

After their breakup, Ethan made spiteful remarks to a music columnist at a local Denver newspaper about Charlotte’s propensity for fat men. She felt deeply injured for his airing their dirty laundry to the press, but refused to acknowledge his comments. The whole experience left her bitter and unsure about how to deal with her compelling attraction to fat men. She feared another relationship demise and resolved to keep her private life private. She remained resolutely single as she moved to L.A. and made the transition to rock goddess.
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:20 AM   #3
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Default Soft Thrill

Soft Thrill

A deafening crowd made it difficult for Charlotte to hear the stage manager; something about an interview. "What, Jeff?"

"You've got that interview with Rolling Stone," Jeff, the middle-aged production guru yelled in her ear.

"Now?" Charlotte yelled back.

"Yeah," Jeff yelled. "In the media room, next to the band's dressing room."

"Do I have time to take a quick shower?"

"Go to it, but hurry up, you don't want to give the impression that you're an impossible diva, do you? Or maybe you do," he winked at Charlotte.

"Wow, my first feature interview with Rolling Stone," Charlotte thought to herself as she slinked into her small personal room for a quick shower. As she stripped off her clothes she mused about what kind of questions she would be asked, and what she would say to them. She had already heard the same old questions before...

"What's it like to be the only female in the band?"

"What was your childhood in Wyoming like?"

"Is it true you're into fat guys?"

That old question; Charlotte's preference for chubby men was a well kept personal secret until her band, Soft Thrill, had their huge hit last fall and thrust her persona into a media spotlight of both worship and gossip. It was amazing to her how one comment could create such a stir.

She had been dating a musician named Ethan for some time. He was in another local band that would often open for Soft Thrill in their Denver home base. Their relationship was already rocky, but when her career took off nationally, tensions between them mounted further and their relationship suffered an ending as a result.

Ethan, tired of being badgered about what caused the breakup, and still feeling bitter, told a member of the local press, "I wasn't fat enough for her." When further pressed, he expounded, "Charlie [his nickname for Charlotte] likes fat guys and I lost weight while we were together."

The comment caused Charlotte a lot of pain because she felt like she had risked some tension "coming out" to Ethan about her preference for bigger men. She never told him he had to stay fat for her, but they often argued about his weight anyway. She tried to reassure him that his body was sexy, but he resented her words, feeling like she was trying to keep him fat. In one of the last horrible arguments he called her a freak for her preference and she angrily responded that she could never be with someone who hated himself so much.

Despite the fact that Ethan called Charlotte to apologize for saying something personal like that to the press, it was still picked up by a few online gossip sites. And after she was seen out on several occasions with Scott Moore, the 335 pound Bronco's left guard, nicknamed "The Tank," the item became bigger tabloid fodder.

While not a serious relationship and more of a physical attraction, the camera caught her hand hanging on to one of his prominent love handles, which fueled the chubby chasing speculation. The headlines in the rags read, "Beauty and the Tank," "Chubby Chasing Charlie," "Scott Gives Char That Gut Feeling," "Charlotte's Soft Thrill, " going on and on. She had no idea that her flirtation with Scott would blow the doors open wider to her private desires.

Charlotte threw on a silky red, midriff-enhancing, split-sleeve top with a comfortable yet sexy pair of cropped jeans. She whipped on a little light makeup and rolled her hair up into a French twist. Still glowing from her onstage workout, the Rolling Stone interviewer was stunned by her natural beauty.

"Nice to meet you Ms. Collier, I'm Seth Nolan from Rolling Stone."

"It's nice to meet you too, Mr. Nolan, but please call me Charlotte," she shook his hand.

"And call me Seth," he laughed.

She took visual inventory of Seth. He was tall, handsome but rather lanky. She immediately mused why Rolling Stone didn't send one of their chubbier writers. She figured they might try to test her, perhaps. She wouldn't put it past anyone at this point.

He began the interview with all of the obligatory music bits, and gradually he began to focus on her life before stardom, and then her link with Scott.

"Scott and I are good friends, but with our schedules there hasn't been any time to really BE a couple like the media has been speculating about."

"Well, speaking of the media, you haven't really commented on the assumptions that your relationship with Scott has something to do with your alleged attraction to fat men..."

Charlotte laughed, "You make it sound like some kind of crime is being committed, 'alleged attraction,' that's comical!" She giggled more. "Am I under oath?"

Seth turned a little red, realizing the way he phrased the question was a little over the top. "Okay, fair enough, but I can't just pretend there hasn't been a lot of press speculation about the topic. So how about instead of talking to the issue directly, you tell me how you feel about the gossip."

"First of all, I think you're using the term 'press' rather loosely." They both laughed. "But I just have to say it's all rather funny. Imagine, people being this concerned about what a total stranger wants regarding a common physical feature on her partner," Charlotte continued.

Seth scratched his head and continued pressing her on the media fascination with Charlotte and fat guys. "You mean 'fat' being the common physical feature?" he asked.

Charlotte responded, "Let me turn the tables a bit and ask you, off the record as you like, is there a certain physical feature on women you like? Or men, I don't want to assume your sexuality..."

"I'm hetero, go on," Seth responded.

"Okay, so maybe you like big breasts? Or red hair? Or long legs?" Charlotte queried.

"I'd have to say those all sound good, but yeah, I'm a sucker for red hair," he smiled.

"Alright, then can I assume you want to jump in the sack with every redhead that you meet? Regardless of any other physical feature or personality trait?"

"Um, well, not quite every redhead," Seth reasoned.

"Well then, we understand each other a little better now," Charlotte triumphantly laughed. "Let's talk about the music again, shall we?"

"Agreed," Seth smiled.

Two weeks and a photo shoot later, the Rolling Stone article and sexy cover shot came out a week later, creating more buzz about her personal life.

Scott called her from training camp, "Charlotte, I need to know something, did you only like me because I'm fat?"

"What?" Charlotte just couldn't seem to avoid the topic.

"And now that I've lost a little weight at camp, do I have no chance with you?" Scott joked about his recent twenty pound reduction.

She was relieved he was only teasing her. "Oh Scott, you know the press, anything to sell papers..."

"Oh, so you never admitted you like fat guys?" Scott prodded further.

"Well, I didn't deny it," Charlotte giggled. "But I'm sorry they brought you up in the article, I tried to avoid the topic..."

"Oh well, you know what they say, there's no such thing as bad press," Scott sighed. He was pretty good-natured about his large size, after all, it was his job to be a fat football player. Charlotte loved his huge appetite and enormous, strong yet soft body, but they just didn't have enough in common to keep a relationship going.

After a few weeks the media buzz on Charlotte and fat guys seemed to die down. She was in tour mode and had little time to think about men and relationships, except to admire the occasional sexy fat guy who might briefly pass through her day.

She was continually amazed at how the clamor over her fat attraction had impacted her daily interactions. More fat men flirted with her in those few weeks than had ever before. Shirtless chubby guys were showing up in her audiences, a couple of roadies were jokingly having a weight gain contest asking her to judge it, and even the softly rotund photographer from Vanity Fair jiggled his belly with a wink for her at a photo shoot.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Charlotte realized a dream the night of the Grammys, when Soft Thrill won Song of the Year for their mega hit, "To Damage You." She wrote the lyrics after her split with Ethan, and felt vindicated that the pain she went through with him had a silver lining.

After the ceremonies, she went to an after-party thrown by Spin Magazine. While talking to an editor, neo-punk king Rob Rimbaud walked right up to her and just stood there, staring into her eyes. Rob was the scandalously beautiful singer and bass guitar player for the ultra popular punk band, The Mutes. Charlotte let out an embarrassed laugh and tilted her head, "Um, Hi?"

He just kept looking at her for a few moments, then a smile warmed over him. He seemed both out of it and yet very lucid, looking intensely into her eyes. The editor interrupted, "I'll catch up with you later, Charlotte."

She half heard him, "Okay," and her eyes returned to Rob's. Warm feelings washed over her. His face was so open and kind. She had never seen him with this serene look in any videos or pictures. He was usually so sullen, quiet and brooding.

Rob was the heartthrob of punk. He had large, dark, soulful eyes, high, striking cheekbones and pretty-boy good looks. He was also razor thin, like many rock and roll superstars strive to be, cut from that same emaciated rebel mold. Charlotte couldn't figure out this odd ethereal moment they were having, surely she wasn't attracted to a super-skinny bad boy.

Finally he spoke, saying the oddest thing, "You do have a prism inside of you." His gaze continued.

"I do?" she felt his eyes penetrating hers further. "Was that a pick up line or something?" she thought to herself.

All of a sudden he seemed to regain his composure, "I'm glad you won the award," he offered, referring to her Grammy win earlier that evening, "the song is beautiful. I really feel the hurt in your voice."

"Thank you," she only offered, still not knowing what to say. Was he high? Drunk? Strung out? She felt his continued focus on her strongly, but it was like he was searching her eyes for her approval rather than trying to seduce her.

Just then, his manager interrupted them, "Sorry, Ms. Collier, Mr. Rimbaud has another engagement," and he started to guide Rob away from her.

Rob paused; looking at her, "I hope..." he stopped again, looked down, for the first time taking his gaze from her eyes, and then his gaze darted right back up to hers. His manager patted his shoulder and he just stuttered, "I gotta..." and gestured toward the door.

In an instant he was gone, and Charlotte was dumbfounded. It was the most inexplicable, intense, non-meeting she had ever experienced. Jason, Soft Thrill's drummer came up behind Charlotte and asked, "Was that Rob Rimbaud chatting you up? Did he get your digits?" he teased.

"No, he didn't ask for them," she played it down, but the look on her face was still preoccupied with his eerie charm.

A couple of weeks later, she had almost stopped thinking about her strange encounter with Rob when she got a call from her assistant, Lori. "Did you hear?" Rob Rimbaud collapsed in a hotel lobby in Vegas. The Palms, I think. Some reports say that he had been looking pretty anemic at Ghostbar earlier in the day. I guess his manager has him in rehab now...."

Lori trailed off and chattered away about other gossip, but Charlotte was thrown by this news. She thought he acted a little bizarre the night of the Grammys, but she didn't think he was on the verge of collapse. Maybe his peculiar behavior was a cry for help, she wondered.

She had Lori track down his address at the rehabilitation facility and wrote him a short letter:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Rob,

I hope this note finds you feeling healthy. I'm sending this to let you know that I wished we could have talked more. I feel like we have an unfinished conversation hanging out there. I'm here if you ever want to continue it.

Warm regards,

Charlotte Collier
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:32 AM   #4
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Default Soft Thrill - P2

She mailed it thinking she must be mad. He probably was just playing a little mind game with her, and will get a big laugh from it. She tried to put it out of her mind, once and for all, but she couldn't shake the underlying feeling that she needed to be there for him in some way. After a few more days, she received a letter, postmarked from Utah.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Charlotte,

Your letter brought an enormous smile to my face. I haven't had much contact with the "regular" world lately, and the regular world has put me at a distance as well, except for the tabloid circus lurking around here, hoping to catch a glimpse of the addict. I think you can appreciate the sting of the paparazzi.

It's entirely possible you think that our bizarre meeting was a result of my downward spiral, but in actuality, those were the most coherent moments I've experienced in a while. I'd like more of those.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Charlotte was elated that the connection she felt wasn't just her own imagination. Although she wondered what he meant by "I think you can appreciate the sting of the paparazzi." Had he followed her fat drama in the papers? She turned red thinking about it. She wasn't sure what his intentions were, and not even sure of her own. She decided to write him again.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Rob,

I am relieved you don't think I'm overstepping boundaries by caring about you. I feel like I could talk to you all day long but not one word comes to mind right now. You could contact me when you are in Malibu? I am staying here for a few months while we record.

Your friend,



Charlotte heard nothing more for awhile and did nothing, feeling insecure that her letters to him were awkward. But then, a month later, she got a call from her assistant, Lori.

"Rob Rimbaud just called your manager looking for you. Do you want his number?"

Charlotte's heart jumped in her throat. "Yeah, sure," she tried to be nonchalant.

"So is this the start of something new?" Lori teased.

"Um, no," Charlotte thought quickly, wanting to diffuse any more gossip mills, "we just discussed a collaboration project and I guess he might be in town."

"Oh, too bad," Lori said, "he's so blasted sexy. I'd love to get to know him!"

Charlotte waited a day and then nervously picked up the phone to call him.

"Why am I nervous?" she thought to herself.

"It's not like he's my type. He's just weird and trying to put me off balance. I can handle him," she got tough with herself. "Besides, it's not like he can stare right through me over the phone."

Rob answered on the other end, "Hi Rob, this is Charlotte Collier."

"Oh, um, Hi!" He sounded happy and much more relaxed than when she first met him.

"So, what are you doing this afternoon?" he asked.

Her heart pounded, he officially had her off balance again.

"Uh, nothing really," she blurted, unable to come up with a reason to put him off until she regained her courage.

Just then she realized he was probably in need of an honest friend.

"Do you want to come over to my place? I'm renting a house on the beach here in Malibu and the weather is so beautiful today. I was just going to hang out and enjoy it if you want to join me, that is," she caught herself babbling.

"That's the best offer I've had in a long time," he agreed and she gave him directions. He was keeping himself low key at a motel in Santa Monica, and told her he'd be there in a couple of hours.

When he arrived, she opened the door and found a different Rob than the one she had first met two months earlier. He took off his hat and sunglasses disguise and smiled warmly. He was now more chubby than chiseled, his hair was lighter and he had some color on his face. She concluded that this was the best celebrity disguise she could have hoped for. She thought he looked incredible.

Without thinking, she hugged him right away, and he hugged back. He felt warm and comfortable. Charlotte never thought she'd think of Rob Rimbaud as warm or comfortable.

"Make yourself at home. Can I get you a drink? I have beer, wine," she stopped, remembering he had just gone through rehab. "Er, uh sorry," she trailed off.

"No, it's okay, I don't have a booze problem. Never was a big fan of the stuff," he put her at ease. "I'll drink anything, soda, water..."

"Lemonade?" He nodded. Charlotte poured them two glasses while Rob admired her from behind. She was wearing short denim cut-offs that revealed her strong but petite legs, and a lemon yellow tank top that exposed her delicate shoulders and graceful arms. Her multi-toned hair brushed along her back with a relaxed wave.

She showed him to the third level deck where they could sit, enjoy the ocean air and talk. As she followed him she noticed his new, small bits of love handle where bones had stuck out before, and felt a surge of delight wash over her.

They sat for a few moments in silence, although it wasn't uncomfortable. Then Rob spoke, "Do you think it's weird? Me coming here, when I barely know you?"

"Um, I guess maybe a little, but for some reason I feel like we've known each other longer. Does that sound even more weird?"

"You know," he continued, "when you sent me that letter in rehab, I was totally beside myself. I almost thought it was a fake. Like, why on earth would Charlotte Collier care about me?"

"Why not?" she offered and paused.

He said nothing, obviously still not at ease.

"Maybe I'm just a big fan of yours," she smiled.

He smirked, "okay, sure, why not."

Then he relaxed and smiled, "I am certainly a big fan of yours."

Charlotte blushed. They were quiet a moment longer, then Rob opened the discussion up into rough terrain. "So, how much am I going to get crucified when the pictures of post-rehab Rob come out?"

Charlotte didn't know what to say. She couldn't play dumb. He looked quite a bit different than he did a couple of months ago.
"Screw them," was all she could muster.

"Screw them is right," he sighed.

"Do you want to talk about the rehab thing?" She offered, "I mean, I understand if you want to keep it to yourself, it's pretty personal..."

"No, I mean, yeah, it's pretty personal, but you seem like the only person that might..." he paused, "might not judge me too harshly."

"Why would anyone do that? People do rehab all the time. There's millions of recovering alcoholics and addicts. It's nothing to be ashamed of," Charlotte reasoned.

"I got through rehab using a web of lies, though. I'll probably screw this recovery thing up because I wasn't honest about myself or my addiction," he confessed.

"I don't know a lot about recovery Rob, but it seems to me that being honest with yourself is part of the process, right?"

"Well, honest with myself, sure. But I wasn't honest with my counselors. I told them what they wanted to hear. I made up stories about who I am. I've been doing it for years now," he grumbled.

"Just playing devil's advocate for a moment... does what you tell the counselors matter as much as what you know in your heart is true?" Charlotte suggested, "I'm asking as a someone very ignorant about therapy, does saying it out loud make your healing more permanent?"

"I really don't know," he chuckled, "I think going through withdrawal from meth makes for a much more lasting impression."

"I didn't even know what you were in rehab for," she blurted.

"I just told them I used it to keep going, you know, the grind of touring, recording, everyone wanting a piece of me. They bought the whole story," he almost seemed satisfied.

Charlotte thought for a moment. Was it her place to ask him to open up? She wasn't a trained professional, but she blurted again, "So what's the real story?"

"The real story... oh man, do I go there?" Then he looked her in the eyes. "Well, if I were going to tell anyone, you would be the one."

Charlotte was utterly confused at this point, "Why me?"

He stopped, "Okay, so I know I sound like a creep when I ask you this, but I have to know if what the tabloids said about you was true."

Charlotte knew what he was talking about. It was the fat guy thing. A wave of embarrassment washed over her. "Why, do you think it puts us on equal ground in the secrets department or something?" She was slightly defensive.

"No, I didn't mean to piss you off," he smiled, "so I take it that it's true?"
He was pushing her, but she sensed it was for a reason. "I mean, I'm baring my soul to you."

Charlotte realized that their new friendship was not one-sided. She figured that she was fine with the truth, no matter what Rob thought.
"Yep, I dig fat guys, and I'm not going to apologize for it," she crossed her arms in front of her.

"See? I knew you were special," he smiled. "So then what I'm about to tell you, can you keep it between us? I just don't think I can deal with any more of a microscope on me than there already is right now."

"Yeah, of course, Rob," Charlotte reassured him.

"When I was a kid, I always dreamed about being a big time rock star. I practiced constantly. I learned guitar, piano, drums, all of it. I started writing songs when I was 12. It was the only thing that mattered to me," he started. "My parents bought me everything I wanted, every instrument I wanted, but they weren't around. I know I've told everyone that my dad was in the Army and I grew up in Germany, but that's not true. It just seemed like a convenient way to keep people from checking into my background too much."

Charlotte was totally sucked in, she didn't expect this line of revelation at all.

"My dad is a CEO of a major corporation and lives in Switzerland now. When he was promoted and was asked to move over there, he sent me to boarding school... well, many boarding schools. And I just got myself kicked out of all of them. Eventually I just lived alone at our house in Connecticut and never went to school. I fell right off the radar, you know? I wasn't expected to be anywhere."

"What about your Mom?" Charlotte was stunned.

"My mother? She would leave for months at a time. She had pill addictions, mental illness issues... she was so out of it when she was even around. I have no idea where she is now," he coldly responded.

"Anyway," he continued, "since as far back as I can remember, I've lived in my own world. The only person I even really remember from childhood who was always there for me was my nanny, Francesca. She was really good to me. But she also gave me candy, cookies, cakes, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. That was when I started getting chubby,"

The truth kept pouring out of him and Charlotte was transfixed.

"And I just kept getting fatter. Francesca went back to Ecuador when I was 13, and I was heartbroken. She was the only parent figure I ever knew. After she left, my father would just send me all over the place and I would just get into trouble so I could get back home to Connecticut and play music."

Rob was really letting it all come out now.

"Finally, when I was about 16, my father stopped trying. I stayed by myself, with a generous allowance, just composing music and eating. I got really, really heavy, but I wrote some really excellent music too," he laughed. "'Burn Slowly?' Huge hit for us. I wrote that on a cheeseburger and fries rampage when I was 17."

Charlotte was beyond intrigued and secretly turned on. She could hardly imagine Rob as a fat kid. Until now, she had seen him as reed thin.

"Rob, I had no idea..." was all she could say.

"No one does, no one. My dad doesn't even know who I am. He probably thinks I'm 400 pounds and bumming around the country in a van or something. He has no clue that I'm a rock star."

He continued his story, "So I just kept working on my music, and I knew I was good. I mean I just knew it, you know?"

Charlotte nodded; she knew musicianship. She had felt the rush when writing really good songs herself, the kind that made lighting bolts go off in her head.

"So I finally, when I was 19 and still doing nothing with my days, I got the courage to try out for a local band that needed a new bass player. I've always been the master of bass, I was perfect for them in terms of style. I could play every one of their songs by ear. I knew knocked their socks off. But they told me I didn't have the 'right look.' Yeah, of course, I was 350 pounds. I didn't fit in. I was crushed."

"350 pounds?" Charlotte thought to herself, "he WAS big. Amazing."

Rob continued, "After the audition, the band's manager called me back to come in and meet with him at his club. I agreed to see him, thinking he wanted to hear me again, reconsider, or maybe he thought I could play in another band he was managing. I really got my hopes up."

"So he sits me down in his office, and he says, 'Kid, you are real talented, I haven't seen a gun like you in a long time. But you'll never get anywhere with that body. For your future, you've got to drop the weight.' And he goes into a drawer in his desk, pulls out a baggie with a few pills, and tells me, 'try these. Drop at least a hundred and then we should talk.'"

"I was desperate, Charlotte. I never wanted to do drugs, I never wanted to get high. I just wanted to be successful in music, so I gave in. I hated the way I felt on the amphetamines, but they totally killed my appetite dead. For the first time in my life, I didn't care about food. Or sleeping, or anything. But music. I wrote about a hundred songs in a couple of months, staying alive on speed and forcing myself to eat crackers. It was insane."

Charlotte realized her jaw was literally dropped open. She was astounded by Rob's admissions.

"I lost about a hundred pounds in a matter of months, and decided to leave town. I moved to Chicago for a few more months, writing, checking out the scene, losing more weight, changing my name. It was there I found meth. And I thought it was the greatest thing, because I could keep losing weight. And I felt indestructible. I had all the confidence I needed to get noticed. It gives you this feeling of invincibility. It's horrible stuff," he shook his head.

"When my weight dropped under 200, I moved out to Seattle, changed my name again, and started looking for other musicians. No lie, I had them knocking down my door, because I was really good, but I also suddenly looked acceptable. On my 21st birthday, I was a skinny ass punk king. We formed The Mutes and it all took off from there."

"I tried to quit the speed and meth so many times. I was honestly more addicted to being thin than the high. I'd get clean for a few days and start to eat every-thing. It was frightening. So I just stayed on the stuff. The Palms incident wasn't the first time I collapsed. I just forgot what it felt like to be happy and feel good. Each day became 'how well can I cope today,' and I got really, really angry."

The words continued to pour out of him. "I was such a jerk. I'd use women and treat them horribly. I hated them for loving my thin, phony body, knowing they would have never looked at me as a 350 pound recluse."

It was clear to Charlotte that he had waited years to unleash the truth, to confront his isolation and abandonment.

"I always found it ironic that I was considered 'the hot one' in the band," he smirked, "knowing that deep down, I was the fat one."

Charlotte tried to disarm him, "I'll bet you were really beautiful when you were bigger too, you just never saw it because no one was around to help you see it."

Rob smiled, "I actually believe you. I mean, I actually believe you think that."
His anger melted. "Man," he shook his head, "I was such a jerk, I would even come on to the chubby girl in a crowd of groupies just to spite the thin bimbo types that thought they were entitled to have me."

"I'll bet some of those chubby girls walked away with very happy memories," Charlotte giggled, "I don't think anyone expects a rock star, in town for one night, to stick around for them."

Rob laughed, "It's a pretty screwed up life, isn't it?"

Charlotte just smiled, "It doesn't have to be."

They just looked at each other for a few moments while the sun warmed them. Charlotte was still trying to process Rob's story.

"How have you kept this all a secret? I mean, it's a pretty shocking story, you're so famous..." Charlotte reasoned.

"Yeah, it's pretty amazing. I thought for sure that my past would have caught up with me by now, and maybe it has," he rubbed his new belly pooch. "But back then, I was never in school, I didn't have friends, or a job, my family wasn't around... It was like I didn't exist. If I hadn't been so fat, I would have disappeared into thin air. And I guess I kind of did anyway. I just became a new person with a new identity and left no trace of my former self."

"They told me that getting off the stuff might cause weight gain, because of how my metabolism has been totally destroyed. But with my history, I have no idea what to expect."

"If it's any consolation, you look so much healthier than when I met you a couple of months ago." Charlotte insisted.

"I bet you say that to all the fat guys," Rob smirked.

"No, you're not even close to fat, and you know it."

"I'm what they call, 'tabloid fat,'" he reasoned, "fat enough for it to make the papers."

"I think it's a matter of deciding what is important to you, your image or your health," Charlotte reasoned.

"Yeah, I guess by going to rehab, I've kind of made that choice," he countered.

They continued to talk, each feeling finally free to talk about things they had both withheld for a long time. As afternoon turned to evening, they sat out on the deck with some take out Thai. Rob ate voraciously.

"I missed food a lot," he smiled, eating a mouthful of Panang beef.

She smiled back, falling deeper for Rob and his newly liberated body.
"You should stay here," she blurted.

Rob almost choked on his dinner from the surprise at her direct sounding offer, "What?"

"I mean, it's nice here, and away from the media static, you know?" She explained. "You could use a break."

Rob's cocked sideways, and he gave her a knowing smile, "Well, I could use the time away. We're on a complete hiatus. I really don't know what to do with myself."

Inside, the settled on the couch, Rob's belly looking a bit more noticeable after dinner. He pulled out his wallet, and handed her a picture of a very good-looking young fat guy. "This was me," he admitted.

She studied the picture. He was gorgeous, enormously chubby, and wearing a very, very large black T shirt with 'The Pixies' emblazoned across his broad chest.
"Oh, the Pixies, you would have been my hero back when I was in college," she giggled. "You were a very good looking guy," and she meant it. He was definitely crush-worthy. Still, she was shocked at his size. Even after he told her his story, she couldn't get over his change.

"I've always kept that picture in my wallet, as the only reminder I have of who I used to be. If anyone sees it, I just tell people it's my cousin who died in a car accident."

She handed him back the picture and looked at him intently.

"You ARE this gorgeous fat guy, the famous skinny punk and this amazing man sitting right here with me. They're all you, Rob. They're all wonderful," and she leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.

He turned a shade of pink. "This feels weird," he admitted.

"What feels weird?" She asked.

"Being here with you, totally open, no pretenses, no rock star facade, no meth, no handlers, no grandeur," he explained, "and feeling fat," he laughed and pinched his belly.

Charlotte grabbed his hand from his belly and kissed his lips. He kissed back. Hard.

Rob whispered, "I waited so long to feel this, something real," he admitted. "I had a dream about you, before we met, you wore crystals and had bright colors haloed around you. And I felt it all over again that night I met you after the Grammy's," he explained.

Charlotte smiled, "I saw the little prism inside of you too."
With each kiss their bodies became intertwined, giving way to a watershed of passionate lovemaking.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In the morning, Charlotte woke up in Rob's arms listening to the waves crash on the shore. The sun was streaming in through the blinds, decorating Rob's shirtless, newly thick body. She looked up at him as he slept, and looked back down at his body. She noticed little silvery scars running around his softened tummy and belly button and traced them with her fingers. She had seen stretch mark scars before, but never on a belly so modest in size.

He woke up to the tickle of her fingers, "I used to go to great lengths to hide those."

He smiled at her. "You never saw me on stage with my shirt off."

He smiled at her again, like a shy lad looking for approval.

"They're so faint, I can't imagine anyone would have even noticed," she giggled.

"You found them right away," he countered, still smiling.

"I'm different than other girls," she giggled.

Rob pulled her up to his chest: "Yes, you are," and kissed Charlotte passionately.

The papers would write endlessly about their relationship in the months to come, but together, Charlotte and Rob wrote music that told an enduring tale of finding love and acceptance.

The End

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