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Old 06-08-2015, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Good Company - by Big Beautiful Dreamer (BHM, WG)

Good Company
Parts 1-9

by Big Beautiful Dreamer

Part One - An Idyllic Evening

For a first date, Jake thought, things were going amazingly well. He’d been skeptical – a co-worker’s sister’s roommate – but Emma Cressman was turning out to be good company. He would have been surprised to learn that more than two hours had passed. Emma apparently had a habit of nursing both her drinks and her food, but Jake, entranced, had unthinkingly eaten rather a lot. Nearly all the appetizer, every scrap of his entrée, most of two complimentary loaves of bread, and was finishing an obscenely delicious apple crumble a la mode.

“Well, what shall we do now?” Emma asked.

“Um.” Jake had to think fast. He wasn’t ready for the evening to end, but the meal was clearly, unfortunately, over.

“Ah, maybe we could stroll along to the African Bean for some coffee.”

“Okay,” Emma said brightly.

Jake signed the debit card receipt, adding a healthy tip, and began to slide from the booth. Whoa. That didn’t feel like it usually did. He frowned as he felt his belly slosh heavily, laden with way too much food. He leaned on the table as he rose, a grunt of effort involuntarily slipping out. He didn’t want to look like a goof in front of Emma. He turned to take her arm and added a bow just for flourish.

Ooh, that was a mistake. He could scarcely bend. His waist was painfully stretched and tight as a drum. Carefully, carefully, he straightened up, feeling as though he might burst … or overflow. He didn’t want Emma to know that he’d overeaten.

They made it to the coffee shop, two doors down, and settled into comfortable chairs with a table between them. Sipping his latte, Jake leaned back to ease the discomfort on his swollen and aching belly. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this full, so stuffed that he didn’t want to eat for three days. As he reclined, his belly visibly protruded, the waistband straining. If only he could undo the button.

Emma tried not to stare too obviously. She’d taken as long as she could over dinner, hoping that Jake would eat steadily, downing a big meal. And he had. Though he had shown up with only a modest pot belly, she thought that he might possibly have potential as a BHM. She could picture him larger … much larger … mmm, she was getting aroused just thinking about it.

"Crap," Jake thought, Emma was stealing glances at his engorged gut. Clearly, his hope that he hadn’t eaten all that much was shot. He must look like a real pig.

Wow, Emma thought. Jake looked so handsome. She loved the sexy way his shirt tugged at his swollen belly, the way the taut waistline strained his belt, the way his bulging midriff shimmered with every move. Jake kept shifting uncomfortably in his seat, alternating between leaning forward and leaning back, trying to find a position that eased the fullness of his gorgeous tummy. And with every shift, his gut wobbled just a little, giving Emma a surge of arousal each time.

She kept up her end of the conversation distractedly, automatically, trying hard not to stare at his waistline, but every time she looked she was rewarded with that pleasing flutter. He must think she was a moron, eyes flicking everywhere, conversation banal. She took a deep swallow of coffee and tried to focus on Jake above the neck. Luckily, it seemed she put on the gaze and the smile just in time, because it seemed that Jake was asking for another date.

“Friday?” she repeated, a handy social trick of echoing the last word. It worked!

“Yes, Friday,” Jake said, smiling gently. “We could meet at Antonio’s at 7 if that works for you.”

She broadened her smile and tipped her head to one side. “Yeah … that works.”

Jake hailed a taxi for her, helped her into it, and handed the driver some money.

“Keep the change,” he said. As the cab glided through the light traffic, Emma sat with her hands fiddly in her lap, imagining Jake. With a start she realized that the conversation, as much as she had been tuned in for, had been enjoyable. Jake was well-spoken, with a dry wit she admired and a broad taste in books that many men didn’t have. Not once had he referenced television, hunting, car racing, or other hobbies that she found distasteful.

Back in his apartment, Jake undressed down to his T-undershirt and boxer shorts, poured himself a glass of water, and sat down in his favorite easy chair. He rubbed his aching stomach, which was not as drastically overloaded as it had been but was still well stuffed. What a pig he’d been! Emma had been glancing at his fat belly all evening. No wonder. He was surprised she had agreed to a second date.

He’d certainly enjoyed the evening, but had she? Moreover, he was paying for his enjoyment of the meal with his sore tummy, stretched taut and hard beneath his undershirt, straining the fabric. He leaned back in his chair, propping his feet up on the coffee table. Abstractedly he massaged his swollen midsection. Ah, that felt good. Never would he stuff himself like that again.

On Friday, determined not to repeat his gaucherie, Jake employed a trick he’d read about somewhere and ate supper before going out for his “public” meal. He watched Sports Center while scooping down a bowl of canned chili and a stack of crackers with a tall glass of tea. Half an hour later, he left his apartment, his belly pleasantly full. He arrived at Antonio’s at 7 on the dot, just in time to see Emma stroll up. They exchanged light kisses on the cheek and he escorted her in.

They were scarcely seated when his willpower crumbled. The server laid a basket of assorted rolls in front of them and the warm, yeasty scent was nearly overpowering.

"YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY," Jake thought as he picked up a roll.
"NOT HUNGRY" as he broke it and nearly went dizzy with the steam.
"NOT HUNGRY" as he dipped his knife into the butter.
"NOT HUNGRY" as he crunched down on the first bite oh my oh my ohmyohmyohmy.
Mmmmm. "Not…. hmpf…. hungry."

Jake watched himself eat what would have been a hearty meal even on an empty stomach: a crisp, cool salad, a huge bowl of linguini with clams, topped off with a deceptively thin slice of very rich cheesecake and a cup of strong coffee. And the bread, of course. The amazing bottomless bread basket that kept getting refilled.

Only, of course, his stomach hadn’t been empty at all when he sat down, and he was abstractly aware that he was ladling all that food into a container with limited capacity. And he was making a pig of himself again in front of Emma. Crap!

He managed to keep up his end of the conversation while mentally berating himself. His trick had not worked; just the opposite. He’d eaten as much as ever and was now painfully overstuffed, the huge meal he had consumed resting uncomfortably atop the smaller one. He could feel the strain of his gut against his breathtakingly snug waistband, could feel (and hear) the grumble and groan of his engorged stomach struggling to digest, surely the whole restaurant could hear this symphony of digestion.

He dimly heard Emma suggest that they stroll across the street to the park, sit on a bench and people-watch. With a grunt of effort he could not suppress, he huffed out of the booth.

Oof. His belly was so laden that straightening up became painful. Still, he could hardly remain hunched over like this. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself upright – ow ow ow – and presented his arm, which Emma took. They moved very slowly across the street and to a bench along a path. This presented a new problem.

So full was Jake that he doubted, having achieved verticality, that he could stand to sit again. If he did, that pesky waistband would slice him in half. Awkwardly he phoomped onto the bench, hoping it didn’t shake too much with the impact, and struggled to find a position that would ease his discomfort, to no avail.

At least Emma seemed at ease – no doubt too polite to mention his gluttony. And she had no idea that he’d chowed before their meeting. She snuggled up next to him quite casually, seemingly pleased that his arm was draped along the bench back, and they people-watched. Emma proved to have a wit as quick and dry as his, and they enjoyed each other’s snappy comments on the passing scene.

Jake employed only part of his mind for the chat, however; a part was efficiently and steadily agonizing.

“How,” he thought, “could I eat so much – again? Where’s my willpower, why am I such a pig, and moreover, why does it only happen around Emma? I don’t pig like this otherwise. Heaven help us, I just can’t seem to restrain myself. Does she let off some sort of vibe? No, stop it, stop it! It’s my own fault, I’m such a pig, oof, am I ever stuffed to bursting, if only I could take off my clothes and lie down and rub my stomach, it aches so much, oh dear, oh dear.”

So his thoughts ran.

Emma, meanwhile, had a different train of thoughts chuffing through her brain. “Ah, my, what a delight that meal was! So pleasurable to see him eat like that, what a man he is, most men these days are as skittish as women about food. If only I’d been able to have a better view of that darling tummy as it filled up! I mustn’t look at it too much now, or he’ll grow suspicious. But every time I do I get that lovely electric surge down below, and oh my goodness, it certainly is bigger than it was when we sat down. It’s so fabulously sensuous to see that swell of midriff, the snugging of the shirt, the pressure of the growing waistline against those trousers.”

Thinking thus, she unconsciously snuggled close against him, quite enjoying the soft warmth of contact with his expanded belly, which seemed to radiate coziness. She shivered happily as he draped his arm across the bench back.

“Wow,” she thought. “I wonder if we keep dating, will he get bigger? He’s already got a cute little starter belly. Will it just keep getting rounder and softer and sexier?”

Immersed in their own private thoughts, quite enjoying each other’s company, they passed the evening together. As the darkness drew in, Jake, more able to maneuver though still quite stuffed, hailed a cab for Emma. As he handed her in, he suggested a tennis date the next morning.

“I took a chance,” he admitted, “and reserved a court for 11.”

Emma blushed appealingly. “I’d like that,” she said. “Meet you there?”

Both proved to be about evenly matched – not very good, in other words – so their game was leisurely paced, and they batted the ball back and forth for an hour, getting exercise, working up a decent sweat anyway, and desultorily keeping score. When they’d completed a couple of sets, they headed for lunch at the clubhouse.

Determined to behave, Jake ordered a chicken salad sandwich. It came with a haystack of fries, however, which Jake systematically demolished. Emma didn’t want hers, and insisted that Jake would be doing her a favor.

As he stood, he quite unconsciously rubbed his belly, gently rounded and pleasantly full. He’d chugged down three tall glasses of iced tea along with the sandwich and a double helping of fries.

It was time for Emma to take it up a notch.
"Bam, "she thought. She came around to his side and slid her left arm around his waist. Having established her position, she gently and deliberately rested her right hand against that swell of midriff, so pleasantly pillowy. She felt that pleasant jolt of arousal.

To his surprise, Jake felt it too. His tummy was full, warm and round; his girlfriend was snuggling, and when she laid her hand on his satisfied stomach, he felt a surge, an unmistakable throb of pleasure. A crazy idea flitted through his head. "Who decided that a big belly was bad?"

Clearly, Emma had no such thoughts. She had begun to gently massage the roundness, pausing to slide a hand down the front of his pants – very, very discreetly – and thus relieve the slight pressure. On his waistline, at least. The pressure elsewhere, however, was increasing. And it felt wonderful.

Part 2 - the Art Gallery

A dozen questions were flitting like butterflies through Jake’s mind, but instinct told him that this just wasn’t the time for questions. They took a slow turn around the courts, then he asked if she wanted to “go see a movie, or something.”

She made a face. “Ooh. Can’t. I have a hair appointment. Sorry.” She sounded genuinely disappointed.

Jake stroked the hair in question. “Such pretty hair it is, too. Have to look after it, don’t we?” It was a goofy thing to say, but it came out just right, and Emma giggled.

“What about Tuesday at 6?” Emma countered. “The Weatherspoon has a new exhibition.”

“Terrific,” Jake said. He could stand to look at art for an hour or two. And no food involved, his brain chimed in.

So Jake went home and took a nap. Awakening, he idled the evening away: a load of laundry, channel surfing, finally settling on “Once Upon a Time in the West,” to which he dozed off on the sofa.

He awoke Sunday with a stiff neck and spent the day with a pot of coffee and the Sunday Times, vaguely aware of an indefinable absence. The vagueness clarified itself Tuesday when he saw Emma on the steps of the museum, wearing a brown wrap shirt and a brown, red, and blue patterned skirt. Something in the cut made it flattering, but Jake didn’t give a rat about the skirt, only the person in the skirt. His steps quickened and he all but flew into her arms.

“Jake,” Emma gasped, taken aback by the ferocity of his hug.

“Missed you,” he mumbled, unnecessarily.

Emma giggled as she twined her arm through his. “Me, too,” she said. “Missed you, I mean.” She blushed.

As they strolled, they chatted, talking about the pictures and the artists and from there sharing their likes and dislikes, both silly and serious, and life paths, dreams, and sometimes nothing at all, the silence comfortable as a hammock strung between them.

Jake inadvertently broke the mood when his stomach growled loudly. “Sorry,” he mumbled.

Emma smiled indulgently. “I know how to fix that,” she said. “The museum has a great café, down one level.”

The café had a members’ special that week, free tapas with any entrée. Emma flashed her card and soon a large plate of nibbles was on the table with their drinks. Emma, as always, nursed her food and drink; Jake ate steadily, as if doing a job of work, and Emma propped her chin on her hand and gazed at him, enjoying watching someone who was good at what he did.

By the time the tapas plate was empty, Jake could already feel a tug at his belt. Admittedly, it took less in his belly now to create that tugging, the belt was tighter than it once was. To loosen or not to loosen? Jake thought he would soldier on for the moment, determined to order only a salad. But Emma took the menu out of his hands. “I know this menu well,” she said. “May I?”

“I just want a salad,” Jake started to say, but what came out was, “I would love to have this beautiful woman tell me what to do.”
"Holy crap, who writes this stuff," Jake thought, but Emma giggled and blushed: a twofer.

A salad was placed on the table – in front of Emma. Jake was given a plate piled with thick, succulent lamb chops (big ones), an apple salad, garlic mashed potatoes, and a pile of sautéed string beans. Oh, boy. It all looked and smelled insanely good. Helped along by a second drink, Jake happily and steadily ate his way through the mountain of food. By the time the first chop was history, however, he sensed trouble. His belt was positively creaking, and “pinching” was not the word for his waistband. “Slice and dice” would be more accurate. Any deeper and the grooves would be as permanent as tattoos. Of course, it didn’t help that in the last week his trousers seemed to have shrunk. He was having to suck in his gut to get them fastened lately.

As discreetly as he could, he let out his belt a notch, hoping that Emma didn’t see. “What a pig I am,” he thought. “When will I ever learn? I could stop right now,” he thought. “Other people do it all the time.”

History was replete with examples of people no braver or stronger than he who had courageously laid down the knife and fork when their bellies had signaled fullness. He could just say, “Mmm, that was good,” and push the plate away. He paused to see if he could gauge Emma’s thoughts, covertly glancing at her. As he leaned forward for his glass, he felt the pressure of his growing midriff pushing against his overworked waistband. That settled it. He straightened his spine and set down his knife and fork.

“Wow, that was delicious,” he said, improvising slightly. Emma looked up, surprised.

“You can’t be done already?” Her gaze started at his face and slowly tracked downward, her eyebrows raising. Jake hesitated, aware that he was somehow on the fence. What the heck? This wasn’t his mother telling him to clean his plate. He was 27 years old, a fully functioning adult, did his own laundry and all. A small spiral of resentment bubbled up in him. Instead of feeding the tiny flame, however, he equivocated. He felt himself waver. He said, “Oh, I don’t know….”

Emma said nothing, merely took a swallow of wine. Silence is a remarkably effective negotiation tool, as most people are uncomfortable with it and will hasten to fill it one way or another.

Jake eyed his plate again. That had been an awfully tasty chop. Full as he was, he really did want another mouthful or two of that flavor. On the other hand, what exactly did she mean, “You can’t be done already?” Jake decided to take the lamb chop by the horns.

“What do you mean?” The potential impact of his question was undercut by the fact that it was mumbled through a mouthful of lamb chop.

Emma blushed. She dropped her gaze. She fiddled with her napkin.
“Oh … um … I just meant … it’s nice to see a big handsome guy enjoying a good meal.” She lifted one shoulder delicately. “My two brothers and my dad have always had healthy appetites. I guess it reminds me of home or something.” She took a swallow of wine to cover her confusion.

“Caught!” Jake thought. “She called me a big guy.” His brain conveniently skipped over the “handsome” part. He thought, “She all but said I’ve been eating like a pig; well, I have, too, and I’m getting the belly to prove it. I should stop, I should stop right now. I did, a minute ago, but there’s not much left really, I can clean my plate, ooh, I am getting stuffed, I should stop, but I’m almost done. This is one full belly, my lad; so stop already! There. I’m done anyway.”

“Caught!” Emma thought. “He thinks I’m being critical. Oh no. How can I make him understand how appealing it is to me, how I get aroused watching a big guy eat? It’s too culturally weird, he wouldn’t understand, no one does. I’ve already lost two boyfriends by being too forward about my … fetish … but ohh, look at that tummy. Wow. Like a work of art. Mmm, so round and full, look at the way the shirt pulls, look at that poor belt, he really ought to let it out another notch; if only we could snuggle, just to lay hands on that soft warm belly, that pillow of a midriff, ah, heavenly.”

Emma looked up, blinking. “What?”

Jake gestured with his wineglass. “So you’re used to your dad and brothers having … um, healthy appetites.”

“Yeah,” Emma said, squirming in her seat. Now or never. “Truth is,well-I think it’s cute.”


“I just love a big pillowy middle on a guy,” Emma blurted, then closed her eyes. Suddenly, her hand was being lifted off the table and being held in both of Jake’s hands.

“Emma,” Jake said softly. “What’s wrong?”

She hadn’t realized she was crying. “I’ve weirded you out.”

“Not yet,” Jake said, laughing.

“I haven’t?”

“No,” Jake said. “I thought that my … appetite … was … well … turning you off.”

“Just the opposite,” she said.

“Oh,” Jake said.
If there was a spell being woven, it was broken by the waiter bringing the bill. Emma paid over Jake’s protests, then they stood. This time Jake felt able to express his discomfort aloud. “Oof,” he grunted, laying a hand on the stomach in question. That had been a big meal, and his belly was stretched and aching.

Emma assumed the position she had at the tennis courts, one arm around his thickening waistline and the other resting on his distended abdomen. “Let’s get you home.”
Jake floated out of the museum, six inches off the ground, scarcely coming to earth until he was in the elevator of his building. With Emma’s help, Jake was able to stagger out of the elevator and into his apartment. Then it dawned on him. His apartment! Emma was in his apartment. With him. Him. Emma. Together. Alone.

Then Emma’s fingers were deftly undoing that pesky belt, getting the pants undone, sliding the trousers and underwear floor-ward. Oh, that was better. Emma’s soft hands slid up under his shirt and found his engorged gut. Hastily Jake undid the buttons, letting himself be shuffled backward toward the bedroom.
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:42 PM   #2
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Default Parts 3&4

Part Three - Back Home

Then Jake was being tipped backward onto the bed – ohhh, there went his belly. A big surge and slop, making him wonder if he had torn something. “Ow,” he mumbled, making Emma giggle. Gently, his shoes and socks were pulled off, gently his trousers and underwear removed, then Emma – when had she got naked? – was on the bed next to him, helping him struggle out of his shirt. Clothes were a right nuisance, anyway; whose idea was it to wear clothes in the first place?

Emma was peppering his ear and face with kisses and massaging his swollen gut, and that felt awfully good. Aching and sore as it was, his rounded belly responded to the gentle caresses. Something else responded as well. It wasn’t long before Emma discovered it.

“Oh my,” she said throatily. “This poor thing shouldn’t be left out in the cold. We need to find it a good home.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Jake mumbled, but he was so full at the moment that frankly he never wanted to move again.

Emma seemed to be reading his mind. “Stay right there,” she murmured, tucking a pillow under his head. “Let me go for a little ride.” Gently she made him enter her, sitting up like a triumphant goddess, a naked rodeo rider, her hips and thighs caressing him, the movement actually enhanced by the gentle, rhythmic swell and ebb of his bloated gut surging and churning along with the action.

Time elasticized, slowed, hummed too quickly, slowed again. Jake felt nothing but the pleasure of this intimate connection, old as time, new as tonight. A groan roared from him as he climaxed; Emma grabbed his elbows, moaning in response as she climaxed as well. Finally, the carnival ride juddered to a stop and Emma magically produced a towel she’d had the foresight to bring onto the bed with her. For a while afterward, their conversation was rather reduced in quality.

“Mmmm,” Jake.

“Ahhhhhhhhh,” Emma.

“Mmmm,” Jake again.

“Mmm-hmmm,” Emma.

After a pleasant eternity, they rearranged themselves in the bed, so that Emma was cradled up against Jake, her head on his chest and his hand stroking her hair.
“Well,” Jake said briskly, making Emma giggle.

“Well,” she agreed.

“This is going to sound nuts, but could I be hungry?” Jake asked.

“Course you could,” Emma said. She gently traced a finger down his now flaccid belly, soft and damp in the lamplight. “That was a workout.”

“But I just had a huge dinner.”

“Oh, come on, that was a while ago.”

Jake thought of a line from a movie, “No, it was just a moment ago,” but Emma was already out of bed. Jake propped himself up on his elbows. “Hey, where you going?”

From his kitchen she called, “My man is hungry.” She popped her head into the kitchen doorway. “Making a pizza. Found it in the freezer. Why don’t you take a shower while we wait?”

Jake did, and found himself exploring his own contours more than usual, while the warm, soapy water sluiced over him. Any weight he’d gained in the last week seemed to be making itself at home in the belly region. Of course, he hadn’t picked up much – but his clothes had just fit before, so even a little extra flab was enough to get in the way at the waistline.

As he soaped, he massaged, poked, grabbed, feeling exceptionally foolish but at the same time somewhat … scientific. It was his body and he had a responsibility to know its contours. That conversation with Emma kept swimming through his brain while he washed. “I just love a big pillowy middle on a guy,” she’d said. Well, not what most women loved, but to be honest, it did make life a lot easier when the woman just flat out told you what she wanted instead of making you decipher hints, raised eyebrows, random pouts, and the like.

Jake had never given his body much thought one way or the other, having a fairly average one. He got his share of exercise, ate more or less without thinking about it, and from time to time went up a pants size as needed. Now, though, as he stepped out of the shower, he posed in front of the mirror. He thrust out his chin, squared his shoulders, braced his feet and gave himself a long unflinching gaze. He saw … himself. Same Jake. Maybe a little softer in the belly. He threw on a T-shirt and soft cotton shorts and padded out to the kitchen.

“My turn for the shower,” Emma said brightly, padding naked toward the bathroom, but not before stopping for a kiss. And a pat on his tummy. Jake checked the timer. Twelve minutes. He popped a beer and sank into his easy chair, waiting. Emma emerged just as the timer sounded, wrapped cozily in his bathrobe, and rescued the pizza. At the sight and smell of it, Jake’s stomach growled.

“Can’t have that!” Emma announced. She briskly sliced up the pizza, handing Jake a plate stacked with six of the eight slices.
“Hey, whoa, slow down,” Jake protested.

Emma winked. “I’m an easy keeper, I don’t eat much,” she said. “Need to keep you tanked up, tiger.” She slowly ran a hand down his torso in the direction of his privates, which stirred obediently. Sheepishly, Jake backed off. They trooped into the living room, where Emma popped in a comedy, “The Darwin Awards.” They settled back to laugh, snuggle and eat. Jake, despite tackling the pizza on what should have been an awfully full tummy, chomped through four pieces without hesitation. Then his stomach, understandably, clutched and Jake let out a groan.

Emma was immediately on the scene, gently and tenderly massaging Jake’s bloated gut. Already distended from half a pizza on top of tapas and a plateful of chops at the café, his stomach was understandably lodging a protest with stabs of discomfort at becoming further overloaded. Jake’s sides ached and the skin of his midriff felt stretched and tender, as though the slightest movement might make him pop. Sluggishly he hiccupped. Emma made inarticulate soothing sounds as she tended to his sore belly.

Gradually, gradually, the immediacy of Jake’s discomfort eased and he began to feel better. The massage had softened and loosened his belly, and it had also coaxed up an embarrassingly loud couple of belches, making Emma giggle. “Better out than in,” she’d teased, kissing him. As Emma sat back, Jake realized with surprise that he actually had a little room in that bulging gut, and when Emma picked up the last two pieces of pizza and made a “sandwich” out of them, Jake opened obediently, letting her feed him. Oof. That was it, the bursting point, not another swallow or he would pop. Very, very carefully he rested his hands ever so gently on his tautly swollen belly.

Sated, he must have dozed briefly. When he awoke, the lamps were lit in the apartment and the movie was reaching its climax, Joseph Fiennes and Wilmer Valderrama dangling from the same rope, precariously held in place with a rooftop planter. Emma hovered, holding a bowl of ice cream under his nose. Jake meant to protest, but couldn’t be bothered. Instead, as he spooned up the ice cream, Emma stroked his bulging belly and talked. “It feels kind of good to be so full, doesn’t it?” she asked. Well, that was a poser. Jake pondered while Emma chattered. “I think you had a pretty good time in bed too.” No denying that.

The ice cream bowl was empty by that time. Jake cleared his throat. “I have to say,” he mumbled, having trouble meeting Emma’s gaze, “as weird as it sounds, being this full turns out to be … well …” he couldn’t finish the sentence.

Emma caught his chin in her fingertips and eased his head up to look into his eyes.

“Pleasant,” he finished lamely.


“It felt … good … to be so full ... and ... well … arousing,” he managed. He coughed, embarrassed.

Emma leaned against him. Sure bet Jake wasn’t in any shape to move. “I bet it does,” she murmured. Gently she resumed massaging his swollen and aching belly.

The nagging little doubt finally made its way to the forefront of his soggy brain. “Emma?”


“I keep eating like this, I’m gonna get really fat.”

“Told you … I like pillowy…”

“Pillowy is one thing. King-size bed is another.”

Emma giggled again. “Let’s just take things as they come?” she suggested.

Jake sighed deeply, contentedly. “Okay.” That suddenly sounded amazingly sensible. He blinked. “Hey. Today’s Tuesday.”

“Spot on.”

“We both have to work tomorrow.”


“I hate to say this, but ...you kinda need to go.”

Emma stood, then helped him up and into her arms. “I know,” she murmured into his ear. Reluctantly they peeled apart and she padded into the bedroom to get dressed, emerging only slightly rumpled.

“Call me,” she moaned on the threshold, clinging to him.

“I will,” he mumbled, kissing her.

Then she was gone. In a daze, Jake staggered back to the sofa and flopped onto it. Ow, a mistake. His ridiculously overloaded belly sloshed heavily. Moving more carefully, he leaned back and propped his feet on the coffee table. Then he rested his hands on his distended midsection, closed his eyes, a slow smile stole across his features.
Well. Now what?

Part Four - Pillow Talk

The next morning, Jake awoke before the alarm and climbed out of bed with a goofy grin on his face. Whistling, he laced up his sneakers and went for a two-mile jog, finishing up with a round of push-ups and sit-ups while CNN mumbled in the background. Although not a morning person, he found himself whistling in the shower (“Fools Rush In,” appropriately enough), grinning through his toast and coffee, having to restrain himself from whistling again on the subway – even in his euphoria, he recognized that as risky.

With some effort, he rearranged his features as he tromped through the revolving door, greeted the guy at the desk, and shoved onto the elevator. By the time he stepped into the offices of the real estate company where he worked, his face was almost neutral, if one didn’t look too closely at his eyes.

“Morning,” he said to Ellis Burnett, another closing specialist. Burnett grunted, which was cheerful for him. After pouring himself a cup of coffee – cream, no sugar – Jake reached for a doughnut from the open box on the table. “How fresh are these?” he asked, his hand hovering over a cream-filled.

Burnett, who avoided doughnuts, raised his eyebrows. “This morning,” glancing at Jake’s beltline. “Sure you want one?” It was a moot question, as Jake’s mouth was full.

Through doughnut, Jake mumbled, “Yeah … why?”

Burnett’s lips twitched. “I spy a little spare tire,” he said lightly.

Jake shrugged and licked a bit of cream off the side of his mouth. “Whatever,” he said carelessly, taking another bite. “See ya.” Burnett let it drop as the two men headed to their offices. Jake remained in an uncommonly good mood all day, even laughing over lunch at Danny Lindeman’s awful puns, which he got from the canned-banter morning show he listened to each morning – Lindeman drove to work, which Jake considered much more aggravating than taking the subway.

“Man, you’re in a good mood today,” Burnett observed as they headed back to the office.

Jake shrugged. It was too soon to let the cat out of the bag. “Wednesday,” he said lightly. “Hump day.”

“Got big plans this weekend?” Lindeman asked.

“Yeah … sit around and watch ESPN,” Jake said, causing a round of understanding laughter.

After work, Jake called on his mother, who had been unexpectedly widowed a year ago at 56. She was semi-retired, working three days a week in the local school-system offices, and staying active playing bridge and volunteering in her church. They had dinner together every Wednesday, more or less, unless one or the other of them had other plans. Jake didn’t tell her about Emma, not yet.

“Time you had a girlfriend, Jake.”

Jake sighed. “Ma, I keep telling you. Debby was bad news. I barely escaped with my shorts. Give me time.”

“Time.” Jake’s mom rolled her eyes. “How much time do you need?”

“I don’t know,” Jake sighed. “I’ll find someone eventually, Ma.”

Jake’s mother cleared the plates and set a large slice of apple pie a la mode in front of him. Jake made a face. “I better not, Ma,” he said reluctantly, patting his belly. “Pants are getting tight.”

“Oh, phoo,” she scoffed. “You’re too thin. Eat, Jakey. I can’t save it.”

Of course, apple pie keeps just fine, but Jake didn’t bother to argue. He dutifully forked down the huge dessert, then stood, grunting a little. He leaned down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. At 5’10” he wasn’t overly tall, but Ma had never been over 5’2” and she swore she was shorter than she used to be. “Night, Ma.”

She gave him a hug. “Take care. Love you.”

Jake walked ponderously back to the subway, his full stomach slowing him down. As usual at Ma’s table, he had overeaten. Ma had heaped his plate, given him seconds without asking, and that dessert – whew. He was puffing. Before going down the steps, he paused and let out his belt a notch. He was beginning to see a groove in the new location.

Back in the apartment, he changed into a T-shirt and shorts before calling Emma. He had no particular reason for calling her, but he wanted to hear her voice. She seemed happy to hear from him and cheerfully told him all about her day as a kindergarten teacher, invariably more interesting than his. Emma invited him to come over for dinner that Friday. “Oh, boy,” he thought, “another woman feeding me in her kitchen.” His lips curled into a smile. He couldn’t help it.

When Jake arrived on Friday, carrying a bottle of wine, Emma greeted him with a huge hug and a big smacking kiss before she even let him over the threshold.

“You look good enough to eat,” he said frankly, his eyes soaking her in. She wore a soft pink T-shirt and long blue skirt and her brown hair was down, brushing her shoulders. She stood about 5’4” and Jake guessed her weight at 130 pounds. No doubt chasing after 5-year-olds all day kept her in shape. That, and the odd game of tennis. And, come to that, the odd workout in bed.

“Down, boy,” Emma said, laughing. “The eating stuff is in here.” He followed her into the kitchen, where a dozen marvelous scents assailed his nose. Emma served up a crisp salad, a chilled soup, and rosemary roast chicken with silken mashed potatoes, succotash, and warm sourdough bread with real butter. Jake, hypnotized by her presence, happily emptied his heaping plate twice, scarcely noticing the increasingly familiar sensation of his belly swelling, his waistband beginning to pinch, his midsection becoming taut and sore. He made no protest when she set a huge white-chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce at his plate, along with a cup of coffee. Leaning back in his chair, he groaned, half in contentment and half from being stuffed to bursting.

“Emma,” he mumbled. “You’re going to make me huge.” His protest was somewhat weakened by being voiced through a large mouthful of brownie.

Emma scooched her chair around next to his and began massaging his full tummy, swollen and tender. He groaned in contentment as her ministrations began to ease his achingly engorged belly. “Not huge,” she murmured. “Pillowy.” She kissed his ear. Suddenly he was a lot less interested in finishing the brownie.

This time their lovemaking was slow and gentle, like waves caressing the shore. She insisted that he be on top, groaning with pleasure as his weight pressed on her. He felt his swollen gut surging, and moaned at the sensation of his full stomach pressed against her warm flesh. They rode together, hips working in rhythm, enhanced by the taut distention of his middle; then they lay side by side, her hand gently stroking his belly.

“How much do you weigh?” The question was mumbled drowsily, her face buried in his chest, and she had to repeat it.

“Dunno,” Jake mumbled.

“Ballpark,” she insisted.

“Well. Before our first date, which was, let’s see, ten days ago, I clocked in at 195. Now … well … who knows?” he finished, making Emma giggle. She sat up. “Let’s go see.”

“Now?” Jake said dubiously.

“Yeah, now.” She was already tugging on his hand. Jake knew it was pointless to argue that he’d just had an enormous meal and that whatever the scale said wouldn’t be accurate. He followed her obediently to the bathroom and stepped onto her scale, which blinked and gave back a readout of 205.

“Ooh,” Emma said admiringly, embracing him from behind.

“Ah, come on,” Jake groaned. “Half of that is that huge dinner you just stuffed me full of.”

Emma pinched his waist. “You didn’t say no.”

Jake paused. This could go one of two ways – one very ugly, one relationship-saving. He was head over heels in love with Emma, who liked her guy’s “pillowy” middle. He seriously doubted that either one of them would let him get huge … really huge … right?
He swallowed hard, then turned around in her embrace so that he was facing her. “No … I didn’t say no … in fact … could I have seconds on those kisses?” Her reply was lost in their kiss.

The next day, sanity somewhat restored, Jake reluctantly dragged out his own scale, blew the dust off it, and stepped on, wearing only a towel. The needle stopped at 200. Holy cow. Had he really put on five pounds in a week? Well, okay, a week and a half. That would explain why his pants were feeling a little snug in the waistband. Shrugging, Jake slid the scale back under the counter, dressed, and headed out for his morning workout.

When he paid attention to it, he found he was now snacking during the day, something he didn’t used to do, but it seemed as though his stomach growled to be appeased more often, not just at mealtimes. It didn’t occur to him that the bigger meals were stretching his stomach just a little. He didn’t protest as much at the huge portions and second helpings during his Wednesday night dinners at Ma’s, though invariably he had to let out his belt afterward. The belt that was now at a new notch anyway.

After his initial comment over the doughnut box, Ellis Burnett hadn’t actually said anything, but he smirked whenever he noticed Jake helping himself in the break room. It was Danny Lindeman who said something, over lunch, when Jake was the only one who managed to clean his plate of the enormous portions at Antonio’s, while the others were rubbing their stomachs and admitting they couldn’t eat another bite.

Lindeman whistled admiringly. “Somebody cleaned his plate,” he commented. Jake shrugged, a little embarrassed. Then Lindeman snapped his fingers. “I got it, guys, I got it,” he announced. “Jake’s got a girlfriend! Jake’s in love. Giving him super powers.”

Jake couldn’t help the blush that warmed his face. He lowered his gaze and braced himself for the round of macho teasing that followed. Finally, it trailed off, and the men paid their tabs and strolled back to the office. Jake fell back a step to surreptitiously let out his belt a notch. That had been an awfully big lunch.

The next morning, Burnett, who had been mercifully quiet in the break room, spoke up when Jake reached for a doughnut.

“So you got a new girlfriend?”

“Yeah,” Jake said cautiously.

Burnett raised an eyebrow. “You don’t watch out, she’s gonna dust you off.”


Burnett nodded toward Jake’s visibly thickening waistline. “If you get fat, she’s gonna dump you for some Wall Street shark.”

Jake swallowed the last bite of doughnut. “We’ll see,” was all he said.

That Friday, after a movie during which Jake had consumed most of a tub of popcorn, Emma declared herself in the mood for IHOP. It had never occurred to Jake to eat pancakes at 11:30 at night, but Emma was so bubbly about the idea that he went along … and let himself be talked into the all-you-can-eat pancake platter. The cakes came three at a time, as long as you kept asking for them. He would have said, after a large popcorn and soft drink at the movies, that he wasn’t hungry, but the warm scent of pancakes and the enticing smell of butter and syrup tickled his appetite, and he dug in.

It wasn’t long, though, before he was getting full, even with Emma helping out with the occasional mouthful. His belly began to ache, pressing against his waistband, which was beginning to pinch. He felt newly formed love handles begin to squeeze over the sides and had to lean back in the booth to ease the bloated sensation. The waitress brought two more platefuls. Jake inadvertently groaned. “I’m stuffed,” he told Emma, raising a hand to his eyebrows. “Not another bite.” He stifled a belch.

Emma pouted. “Shame to waste all this,” she murmured. “Here. Let me help you.” She got up and slid into the booth next to him, then cut a forkful and raised it to his open mouth. Obediently, Jake took it … and the next one … and the next … he could begin to feel his gut swell with each swallow, growing taut and distended, straining the fabric of his T-shirt. The snap of his jeans dug deep into his swelling midsection and he began puffing, so stuffed that he was short of breath.

Suddenly, amazingly, the plates were clean. “Wait here,” Emma said, and went up to the counter to pay the tab. She came back and helped Jake out of the booth.
“Oof,” he grunted, his stomach so heavily loaded down that it hurt to straighten up. His belly, swollen and aching, protruded tautly over his overworked waistband, the hem of his shirt just barely covering his engorged gut. He felt a light breeze where shirt and jeans were gapped by his bulging abdomen. Emma drove them back to Jake’s apartment while Jake leaned back in the seat, moaning in discomfort and massaging his belly, rock hard and painfully tender.

Back in the apartment, Jake slowly and carefully sat down on the bed, then eased into lying down. Immediately Emma undid his jeans and tugged off his jeans and underwear.

“There, that’s better,” she murmured. “Oh, poor tummy has a red mark. Let’s make such a big handsome tummy all better.” Gently, steadily, she massaged Jake’s distended belly, taking the edge off his discomfort, until Jake found himself in the middle of some amazingly arousing foreplay. Just having Emma slide herself up and down, tugging his belly with her movements, turned him on. He cradled her bottom, stroked her hips, buried himself in her breasts, and finally they entered each other, bodies locked in rhythm, saying little, moaning, grunting, shivering with pleasure as their intimacy enthralled each other.

Finished, they lay snuggled damply together, Jake stroking her hair as Emma cuddled on his chest. “Em? Guy at work said something about my belly the other day.” He could feel Emma stiffen next to him.

“Said if I got fat, you’d dump me.”

Emma snorted. “And pray, how does … what’s his name?”

“Ellis Burnett.”

“And pray, how does Mr. Burnett know what appeals to me?” She traced a finger down his deflating belly, still full of pancakes but not as bloated. “Begging his pardon, but your pillow is not his business.”

Jake laughed. “Pillow, is it?” Emma stopped his mouth with a kiss.
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Default Parts 5 & 6

Part Five - The First Thanksgiving

By mid-October, the needle on Jake’s scale was stopping at 205 first thing in the morning, not just after a huge dinner, and the 10-pound gain was showing up as an unmistakable pot belly, which perched over the waistband of his increasingly snug pants. When he sat, the pockets gapped; when he stood, horizontal creases marked the thighs. He was fastening his belt on the next-to-last notch and wondering how long he could get away with leaving the top shirt button undone. Love handles were beginning to form, and his pecs were beginning to sag. His cheeks had rounded into apples, and when he looked down a hint of a second chin emerged.

Burnett largely kept his comments to himself, but one afternoon in the men’s room, Jake overheard the end of a conversation between him and Lindeman.

“…good little spare tire.”

“Fat-n-happy, man,” Lindeman replied. “The boy’s in love.”

“With who, a doughnut maker?” Burnett retorted. “He’s porking right up.”

“Aw, so what?” Lindeman replied. “He’s getting a little soggy in the midsection. Time and chance happeneth to all. You get a girlfriend, you don’t work out like you used to. I bet she feeds him pretty good too.”

Burnett snorted. “Obviously.”

Their voices faded as they left. Jake sat there, frozen, for another minute, then hastily pulled up his pants and left the restroom.

That evening, at Emma’s for supper, he was sulky and withdrawn. Finally, after a glass of wine, he relayed what he’d heard to Emma.

“That Burnett again,” she said stiffly. “He sounds like bad news.”

Jake shook his head. “It’s embarrassing.”

“Why?” Emma stopped clearing the table and sat down across from him. “Stop and think, now. Really think about it.”

Jake thought, the words coming slowly, but ideas beginning to form. “Fat people are … looked down on … I guess as having no willpower … socially worth less than thin people … like if you’re thin you’re somehow a better person … I guess it feels as though I’ve gone down a notch in Burnett’s estimation,” he concluded.

“Is Burnett your boss?”

“No, no,” Jake assured her. “We’re both closing specialists.”

“It hurts to go down a notch in Burnett’s estimation,” she suggested.

“I guess … I don’t know…”

“Would you want to go down in my estimation?”

“No! No, no.”
Emma leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Then try not to worry about Burnett.”

With Emma’s steady encouragement, Jake found himself more able to ignore Burnett’s occasional insult. He found that Burnett revealed his own insecurities and few in the company took him seriously. Once he gave in and got some new clothes, he felt better about himself at work.

The rumor mill was usually pretty efficient at the company, but no one had heard anything about a change in the works until Mr. Dunlap called Jake into his office one afternoon in late October, a stiff breeze rustling the bright leaves on the trees outside.

“Bryan Ritter is leaving us,” he announced. “His fiancée has been accepted to law school in San Francisco beginning after the holidays.” Without waiting for a response, he continued. “You do good work for this department. Would you like to be named closing section head once Bryan leaves?”

Jake blinked. His first, unprintable thought, was, “Boy, did the rumor mill crap out on this one.” It made him smile. “Uh, what are the section head’s responsibilities?”

It turned out the section head was responsible for overseeing every closing package at three stages of the closing – beginning, just before the closing, and just afterward – checking behind the company’s work and filing routine paperwork with the appropriate government agencies and, by the way, earning another $5,000 a year – to start.

Emma decided that it was time for Jake to meet her parents and Jake was duly invited to Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, Jake would have three Thanksgiving dinners – fortunately for his stomach, not all on the same day. Emma insisted on making a full feast for him on Monday; they would go to his mother’s on Tuesday; and drive to her folks’ upstate on Wednesday.

By the time Turkey Week arrived, Jake and Emma had been dating for nearly three months and Jake was tipping the scales at 215, a quick jump but one that made Emma increasingly appreciative in bed.

With the uptick in salary, he was able to afford better-fitting clothing, which always flatters. Still, when he examined himself in the mirror after his workouts, he saw a torso that flared out below his heavier, fuller pecs; visible, grab-size love handles; a spare tire. His face had become more heavily padded, his backside was spreading, and – what Jake noticed most in the mirror – his waistline now seemed disconcertingly wide, the circumference visibly greater.

Most of his new weight was centered in his belly, which made a round cushion below his ribs. Emma was delighted, and now invariably cradled his pillow when they were walking anywhere: left hand around his visibly thickening waist, right hand resting lightly on the cushion of his midriff. In bed, their romps began and ended with his gut, and he quickly came to treasure the oddly satisfying arousal of feeling his loaded belly being pushed up and down by her movements. The sex was even better on a full stomach, the aching weight and rhythmic sloshing adding to their mutual pleasure.

On the Monday of Thanksgiving week, Emma planned their feast for noon, and at 11:55 sharp, Jake was carving the bird, a 12-pounder stuffed to the brim with oyster stuffing. The kitchen counter was lined with savory dishes jostling one another.

“Sit,” Emma insisted. “I’ll serve you.” She poured farmer’s-market apple cider into his tumbler and heaped his plate. They held hands in a silent grace and dived in. Emma, excited about his meeting her parents, chattered almost nonstop. Since she nursed her food anyway, by the time Jake had emptied two heaping platefuls she was just nearing the finish line on a first. She had just set his third helping down when the phone rang. Jake huffed to his feet and answered it, a little short of breath.

It was his mother, confirming for the next day. Jake quickly finished the call and returned to the table, taking a large gulp of cider. Having paused in his gorge, he laid a hand on his visibly swollen belly, aware for the first time of how stretched and tender it had become. His sides ached, his abdomen was taut, he felt packed to his gullet with the feast. “I don’t know,” he told Emma. “I may be full.”

“Such talk,” Emma scolded. “Come on now, clean your plate.” She pulled her chair around next to his and massaged his already distended midriff while he steadily ate his way through a third helping. He felt his pants shrinking as his belly swelled with each bite, becoming heavy and sore. He fumbled the button undone, mildly dismayed to find how little relief the move offered. He could feel the skin of his gut tightening, becoming firm instead of flabby as every crevice had increasingly more food crammed in. Finally, he came up for air.
“Stop,” he puffed. “Stuffed (hic!) … to my eyebrows.”

Dopey, he let Emma take his plate and slowly sipped the coffee she served him. Full as he was, the coffee was a digestif. “Oof,” he grunted. “If I eat (hic!) another bite, I’ll be sick.” He let the warmth of the strong liquid trickle into his tautly bloated abdomen, aching and hard. After a time, he let Emma help him up and over to his easy chair, where he sank gratefully into the seat and, grunting with effort, put his feet up.

“Tsk,” Emma scolded. With some effort she undid his belt and jeans. He sighed at the relief it afforded. For a while, they sat in silence, Emma taking up her knitting and Jake resting his hands on his roundly protruding gut, savoring the sensation of plenitude, of his aching sides and stretched belly gradually recovering.

He had overeaten so prodigiously that he wasn’t hungry the next day, but Ma was waiting. Emma was nervous and told him she had gone through her entire closet, finally settling on a dark green V-neck blouse with shirring below the bust and a soft blue skirt, Mary Jane shoes with low heels.

“So you’re looking after Jake,” Ma said upon introduction.

Emma squeezed Jake’s hand and said shyly, “He’s worth looking after.” That made Ma smile, and the afternoon went fine after that. Emma ate and drank moderately, but now Jake had the two women double-teaming him.

“I keep telling him he’s too thin,” Ma said.

“He’s a growing boy,” Emma agreed.

Jake just rolled his eyes and kept eating. Plateful after plateful emptied, Jake so amused by being ganged up on that he almost didn’t notice how much he was eating. His body took note. His midriff ballooned, bloated with food and drink, his sides began to ache, his increasingly laden gut sagged heavily into his lap. He was obliged to unbutton his pants, which afforded him scant relief. Afterward he hauled himself to his feet and waddled, dazed, into Ma’s den to recover, half-dozing and cradling his bloated belly while the women chatted. Since Ma worked for the school system and Emma taught kindergarten, they had plenty to talk about.

Emma stayed over at Jake’s apartment – “slept” wouldn’t accurately describe it – and Jake had the pleasure of having a jogging and workout partner the next morning. Afterward, he stepped on the scale before hitting the shower. “Ugh, 218,” he groused.

Emma stood on tiptoe and kissed him. “And you should worry. Come on, hurry and shower, we need to get going.”

The drive upstate was breathtaking, though the traffic was heavy. They arrived at her parents’ house in Corning at one and received a warm welcome from her folks and a teasingly good-natured one from her sister and brothers and her sister’s husband of six months. The supper was delicious, and Jake had no trouble eating heartily. Emma’s mother seemed delighted that she had another healthy appetite at the table and flattered by his compliments about her cooking. Afterward, taking advantage of the mild evening, the family repaired to the deck for coffee.

Prompted by their questions, Jake told them modestly about his work, leaving it to Emma to brag about his recent promotion. The family seemed impressed by his prospects. Jake was impressed that her parents had put them in the same bedroom instead of being old-fashioned about matters.

In bed, in the dark, Emma murmured, “I should warn you about tomorrow.”


“Dad and Eric and Wes and now Justin get all macho about who can pig out the most.”

“Ahh. Shall I stay neutral?”

She swatted at his chest. “Are you kidding? You have to uphold my honor.”

“Honor, eh?”

Jake was only slightly worried. His khaki slacks just fit, already tugging a little at the crotch. If his waist ballooned much more, there went the button.

The next day, impossibly tempting smells pervaded the house all day as Jake and the others played touch football, shrieking with laughter and horsing around more than actually playing a proper game. Finally they were called inside and trooped in, sweaty and hungry, to wash and change. Jake put on a cornflower-blue turtleneck shirt and his good khakis – the ones that were already tugging at the crotch. He worried that the fabric of the shirt allowed his nipples to show, but after a well-placed tug dismissed the thought.

They said a short blessing and began passing dishes. Jake discovered where Emma got her cooking skills, and he also discovered that Emma wasn’t kidding. Her dad and brothers and brother-in-law eyed each other’s plates and kept up a constant stream of boasting and good-natured provoking, in which Jake was instantly included. Gulping plenty of ice water to stay hydrated, Jake emptied his heaping plate the first time and drew breath. His belly was filling up, swelling against the already snug waistband and beginning to lap over the sides. He undid the hook. Another heaping plateful and he eased the zipper down a fraction. He could feel his stomach swell with each bite, his sides expanding, his gut beginning to ache.

By now Emma’s father had surrendered and was goading on Jake, Wes, Justin and Eric. All four men were slowing. Eric paused, loaded fork halfway to his mouth. He shook his head. “I can’t (hic!) … I give.”

Jake, smiling, patted his aching and distended belly. Oh gosh, was it full. Just the slight contact of the pat made him realize how tender and sore it was. His stomach felt heavy and dense, sagging precariously. His sides hurt and he was puffing. Emma shot him an encouraging glance. A little grimly, Jake slowly and deliberately finished up the corn pudding. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Justin’s fork hit his plate. Justin put his hands up in surrender, stifling a mammoth belch. Wes managed another couple of bites, then shook his head.

It was harder than Jake had thought it would be to get the last forkful of cranberry sauce into his mouth. His left hand was cradling his bloated midsection, now rock hard and vividly rounded. He was stuffed up to his eyebrows, food packed up his gullet, another swallow and he would overflow. He swore he could feel the chair creak.

Done. Everyone applauded and Jake, beyond replete, leaned back. His swollen and distended gut had ballooned over his waistband and the sides of the opened zipper gapped. Jake was sodden, logy with the feast, unable to move. Emma tugged his chair back and helped him up. The others admired Jake’s bloated, tender belly as if it were a zoo exhibit and solicitously helped him out to the deck. The cool evening air bathed his face and dried the light sweat. He sank into a chair and dopily began to digest.

Part Six - A Season of Reflection

December was misspelled, Jake decided, looking in the mirror after his morning workout. It should be spelled d-a-n-g-e-r. Jake had discovered that his girlfriend went a little cuckoo with the holiday baking. Both his apartment and hers – they were now more or less interchangeable – were brimming with all kinds of goodies, from ginger cookies to homemade petits fours. Ma was less adventurous, but he and Emma departed her apartment each Wednesday with another cookie tin, which Emma always returned filled, and which Jake then had to help empty. Cookie by cookie, brownie by brownie, his waistline visibly thickened, his pot belly noticeably swelled, his pants size rose.

Since Jake was now the section boss, Ellis Burnett was keeping his comments to himself, at least to his face, but who knew what he was saying in the men’s room. His daily workouts, and frequent proximity to Emma, kept him sane. The latter was also keeping him a growing boy.

By December 23, when they left to drive to Emma’s parents’ house, Jake clocked in at 225. That was a 30-pound gain in four months. That was, actually, a lot. Jake told himself that a good portion of it was the holidays (loosely defined as the four weeks of grazing between feasts) and that his gain would settle down after the New Year.

The double chin was no longer incipient; it had moved in and set up light housekeeping. The space under his chin no longer went up and back toward his neck but sloped softly downward, merging with his throat. His cheeks were pudgy, hinting at future pendulation. His pecs flabbed, resting on his chest. His upper arms had increased in diameter, rubbing against his underarms when he perspired, and his spare tire went fully around his waist. His backside continued to broaden and soften, now beginning to stick out shelf-like, causing him a bad day when he inadvertently noticed it in the mirror. His thighs were solidifying and now rubbed together when he walked; he switched to looser-cut boxers. As before, though, much of his weight went to his belly, forming a spherical protrusion after meals that caused Emma much delight.

He’d bought new clothes after Thanksgiving, but they were already snug in the waist. From what Emma had told him, Christmas dinner at her parents’ house was akin to Thanksgiving, only with more offside snacking between meals. The sister and brother-in-law were with his family, but the others would be present.

Jake was welcomed back as a member of the family. The gang spent the evening watching holiday movies and munching on vast amounts of popcorn and hot chocolate. By the time Jake and Emma staggered sleepily to bed, Jake’s belly was overloaded and sloshing heavily and he had to pause and recalibrate after each step.

The next day, Christmas Eve, was set out as a brunch slash all-day graze-fest. Various plates of foods and snacks were set out and periodically replenished, but there was otherwise no formal mealtime. Jake managed to be nibbling on something most of the day, piling on calories without ever feeling overly full, thus believing he was doing himself no harm. In the late afternoon, he managed to find Emma’s father alone on the deck, and the two had a quiet and productive talk.

“I wouldn’t think it proper to make any kind of a commitment too soon,” Jake assured the older man. “But I’d like to know when the time is right, probably sometime this summer, that I might have your permission.”

Emma’s father seemed charmed by Jake’s propriety and sense of timing. “I agree,” he said slowly. “No sense being hasty. Why don’t you join us for Easter weekend? See how you feel about matters then.” With that, he stood up and clapped Jake on the shoulder, signaling an end to their chat.

On Christmas Day, the family considerately waited until 9 a.m. to rouse any remaining sleepyheads, then leisurely and thoughtfully opened their gifts, appreciating the gift and giver. Jake’s modest gifts to the others were applauded for their appropriateness, and Jake’s gift to Emma, a weekend in Seattle, was oohed and aahed over.

By the time Christmas dinner was on the table, all declared themselves ravenous and ready to lay waste to the roast and trimmings. Jake, Eric, Wes, and Emma’s father glanced around at each other and Jake could almost hear a starter’s pistol being fired. Enjoying the company, the large family, the enticing smells, and Emma’s nearness, he tucked in. Though he paced himself, the food was delicious and his growing stomach was calling out to be filled. By now the first heaping plateful didn’t even cause him to feel full, just warm and satisfied. He piled his plate high again, the iced tea keeping things lubricated.
By the time he could see the pattern on the plate for the second time, he was beginning to register fullness. His belly felt warm and heavy, pressing familiarly against his khakis. The waistband pressed in, signaling limits he wished weren’t there. He could feel the stretch and pull of his swelling abdomen. Gently, discreetly, he pressed a hand to his belly, coaxing up a belch, which he was able to stifle. He glanced around. The others were continuing, though Emma’s dad appeared to be ready to quit.

Sure enough, he folded his napkin and stifled a belch. “Can’t put it away like I used to,” he said apologetically, glancing at his wife. “These young pups, now…”

Eric, who was 21, and Wes, 26, grinned at each other and at Jake. Dramatically Eric reached for the potatoes. Wes and Jake picked up whatever dish was nearest. Creamed peas for Jake, roast squash for Wes. Jake could have sworn he heard “Dueling Banjos” in the background.

Steadily, they ate and ate, glancing at each other, trading good-natured insults. This time, though, Wes and Jake had to admit defeat before Eric. Jake shook his head and patted Emma’s thigh. He could scarcely breathe, with every inhalation it felt as though he would pop. He could almost feel his skin tearing along the sides, stretched to near-translucence over the dense weight of his hugely distended abdomen, which was firm and taut, no give at all. It felt as though every button on his blue shirt was tugging, the ones across his tautly protruding belly threatening to pop.

Slowly, with much dramatic grunting and huffing, everyone got to their feet, cradling swollen and aching bellies, and struggled ponderously into the den. It was too cold for the deck, so Emma brought in coffee and cocoa and they watched a Christmas special on television. Jake kept nodding off, drifting in and out of consciousness, dopey and satiated.

By the next morning, he was recovered enough to join Wes and Mr. Cressman in snowshoeing. They chugged along, saying little, until they reached a sparkling frozen lake a mile or so from the house. They dropped onto a large log by the water’s edge and silently admired the sun making diamonds on the ice. Mr. Cressman patted Jake on the back. “Emma’s pretty fond of you.”

Startled, Jake replied, “I’m fond of Emma. I thank you for letting me join in your holidays.”

“Always use another guy around,” Wes said cheerfully, tossing a snowball short-range into his face. They had a brief snowball fight, but it wasn’t long before their gloved hands started to get numb, so they chugged back.

Lunch was leftovers, and they all ate heartily, though no one overdid it quite as much – possibly because there wasn’t as much food set out. Shortly afterward, Jake and Emma made their goodbyes and drove back, wanting to arrive before dark. By silent agreement, they went straight to his apartment. Jake changed into shorts and a T-shirt and stepped on his scale. “Ooh,” he groaned. “Up to 228.”

Emma tugged him off the scale. She pressed a hand to his belly. “There’s something irresistible about a big strong guy,” she murmured.

Jake hesitated. “How big?” Jake led her back into the living room. “Em, I’ve put on 30 pounds since September. That’s a 2-year-old.”

“And he’s so cute,” Emma cooed, but Jake’s brow was furrowed. He leaned back to emphasize his rounded belly. “I’m getting a good spare tire here. My waistline is starting to resemble the equator. Shouldn’t I be … cutting back or something?”

Emma snuggled closer. She sighed. “We’ve had this discussion before.”

“Yeah, ten or twenty pounds ago.”

“Is this going to come up every ten pounds? I’ve explained to you, I find big handsome guys very appealing. Moreover, I love you. No matter how you’re packaged. You’re kind and funny and smart and you make my heart skip a beat whenever I see you, and the bigger your tummy gets the more handsome you are to me.”

Jake’s eyes widened. Something tripped in his brain. “It’s not that you love me in spite of my weight.”

“Yes. Very good,” Emma replied.

Jake frowned. “My weight is one of the reasons you find me appealing.”

Emma made “go on” motions.

Jake hesitated, puzzling it out. “You find … fat guys … attractive.”

Emma’s face clouded. “I don’t find the term ‘fat guys’ attractive.” She cleared her throat. “I find men with more to them attractive, yes.”

Jake bit his lip. At least that had no calories. “Am I gonna get huge here?”

“Not huge,” Emma said slowly. “Not what I would call huge. Let’s just continue to let nature take its course.” She pulled back and gave him a thoughtful gaze. “You’ll know when to stop.”

“I will?”

She leaned back against him. “I think so, I really do.”

“Well,” Jake said. “Okay.”

As Jake, suspected, his rapid gain would begin to slow after the holidays, though he put on another five pounds in January. By now, Jake and Emma were living together, as her lease had expired at year’s end. She had had few furnishings and had sold her bed, dinette set, and other extraneous pieces. “We can’t break up now,” she joked, “we’ve got our DVDs mixed together.”

Winter melted slowly, reluctantly, into spring and edged toward. Jake had gained another 17 pounds in the six months since Emma had officially moved in. They’d gone to her parents’ for Easter weekend, and Jake had confirmed to Mr. Cressman that he hoped to propose to Emma in June. (Optimistically, he’d begun socking away funds for a honeymoon in January.) The senior Cressmans had given their blessing, and had helped Jake arrange a seemingly random visit.

“It’s been a while since you saw your folks,” he’d said casually that Friday over dinner. “What say we go visit them tomorrow?”

“Wow,” Emma said. “Just go?”

“Well, we should probably call first,” Jake allowed. He left the room and did actually call.

“All set,” he reported. “They’d love to see us.”

Emma seemed to suspect something. She was almost vibrating with excitement, but Jake didn’t tip his hand. They’d packed their swim things, and as soon as they arrived the Cressmans, Emma and Jake changed and headed for the pond. Emma wore a raspberry-and-black colorblock suit, tugging at the bottom and grousing that she’d put on five or six pounds since last summer.

“More like ten,” Jake thought, gazing at her sweetly rounded bottom and gently swelling breasts, noticing the slight softening of her tummy. He prudently avoided saying anything aloud, however.

He was self-conscious, once they got to the lake, about doffing his shirt and thought about claiming sensitive skin before realizing that they could see his belly about as well with the shirt as without it. Off it came, Jake managing not to wince. At 250 pounds, Jake was now undeniably chubby, there was no way around it. He might even have called himself fat. His belly protruded, curving outward into a soft cushion with the beginnings of a fold midway. His pecs were now small breasts, resting forward of his chest and, as he occasionally groused to Emma, “almost an A cup.” The edges rubbed rawly against his thickening upper arms when he worked out. He’d added weights to his routine, which somewhat slowed the softening of his pectoral region. On either side of his paunch, love handles rested, softening into the back of his spare tire. His broadening backside, now visibly protruding, had an unmistakable jiggle to it when he walked, and his thighs rubbed together whenever he moved, even when he shifted in his chair.

A long hike from one end of the company’s main floor to the other sometimes produced a light sheen of perspiration, and he made sure he always had a clean handkerchief. As his weight gain had progressed, he’d gotten some ribbing along the way, the way guys will, but lately the comments had tailed off. It was almost as though teasing was permitted when a change was under way, but that he now had, by some unspoken agreement, reached chubby status (dare he call himself fat?) and his weight was no longer a topic open for discussion. He took care to dress neatly, to be conscientious about buying larger sizes when needed, so none of his superiors said anything about his weight.

Jake waited until evening that Saturday in June, when the family was napped and showered after a day at the lake and was all relaxing out on the deck, an abundance of citronella candles helping keep the mosquitoes at bay. Going down on one knee – and getting up again – were going to be a challenge, but he wanted to do this right.

“Emma Tabitha Cressman,” he said, “you have taken my heart, which I have gladly surrendered. Queen of my life, will you take my hand in marriage?”

Emma put a hand to her chest and began to cry. “Yes,” she managed, and stood to help him up. He fumbled the ring box and got it open, sliding a diamond onto her finger. Then the Cressmans were hugging them, Mrs. Cressman was trotting inside for the phone, and they trooped inside, where Mr. Cressman happened to produce a bottle of champagne.

“To Mr. and Mrs. Jake Tappan,” he toasted, making Emma blush.
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:48 PM   #4
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Default Parts 7 & 8

Part Seven - The Pre-Wedding March

To celebrate the Fourth of July – and the engagement – Jake and Emma returned to the Cressmans’ and brought Jake’s mother with them. She was unaccountably shy, but eventually warmed in their company. Most of the day was spent idling around – some time at the lake, a spirited game of Trivial Pursuit, a nap, chatting, Mrs. Cressman showing Ma through photo albums. Snackage of various kinds was available throughout the day, and Jake – availed himself. As a result, when they sat down at dusk to finally eat the grilled food that had been smelling irresistible, Jake’s stomach was already beginning to fill, though he didn’t feel it. The hint of cool breeze in the air and the mingled scents of dinner made his stomach grumble. Emma patted his leg under the octagonal picnic table.

Surrounded by people he loved, floating on the happiness of Emma’s consent to marry him, Jake piled his plate high. A huge burger, a sizzling bratwurst, homemade baked beans, delicious-looking potato salad, a cool fruit salad, homemade bread-and-butter pickles, a tall glass of lemonade.

Unable to keep from beaming, he ate steadily. Emma, beside him, quietly replenished his plate. He half noticed and half didn’t care. His midriff swelled, his new shorts pinched, his love handles shoved out over the sides, the lower buttons of his shirt began to tug.

He gulped more lemonade, feeling a fresh breeze dry the sweat on the back of his neck. The potato salad was so good he’d lost count of how many helpings he’d had. Mr. Cressman laid another burger on his plate alongside another bratwurst and it seemed impolite to protest. He could feel his belly ballooning with every swallow. With a barely audible snick, a button from his shirt popped, landing on his instep. He unbuttoned his shorts. As he finished his umpteenth helping of potato salad, something caught in his throat and he hiccuped, rather loudly, but Ma was just finishing a joke and no one else noticed.

The skin of his abdomen stretched and tightened familiarly, his belly beginning to ache and sag heavily. Without touching his fingers to it he knew it had become tender with distention. He drained his glass of lemonade and laid a hand on Emma’s leg, their signal in public that he couldn’t manage another bite. He hoped that no one noticed the popped shirt button or the undone shorts as they moved into the air-conditioning to watch the fireworks on television.

Jake’s stomach hurt, churning and grinding unmercifully. Even with his increased capacity, he had severely overeaten and each step seemed to send an unwelcome jolt to his aching belly. He detoured to the bathroom and sat heavily on the toilet. Carefully he massaged his protruding and engorged middle, though there was no give, making it uphill work. After a minute, the warmth of his hands helped, and he was able to release several crisp belches, which slightly eased the immediacy of his discomfort. He popped in three antacid tablets and hastily crunched them before rejoining the others where, to his embarrassment, he dozed off midway, waking up just in time for the spectacular ending. He dozed off and on again while Emma drove them home. Upon their arrival at one in the morning, he stumbled into bed and fell immediately into sleep, sated, exhausted, hibernating.

“Well,” Jake called from the bathroom of their apartment the next morning.

“Well?” came back from the kitchen, mixed with a huge yawn.

“Two-fifty-five.” Jake cursed. “How did I manage to put on five pounds over one holiday? A one-day holiday at that.”

Emma padded in and embraced him from behind. “There was that picnic with the Flanderses, the outdoor concert the night after we came back … it was more like a week’s worth of stuff.” She came around to the front of him and began teasing with her hands, grabbing his love handles, massaging his gut, poking deep into his belly button, now a tiny hidden cave. Then she kissed it, coaxing an unwilling laugh.
“Hurry and shower,” she said. “You’ll be late for work.”

“Yes, dear,” he said, teasingly.

They had set a date in April for the wedding, which would be held at the Cressmans’ home. The timing allowed for a week-long honeymoon in San Francisco, since Emma’s student teacher would be soloing. The time was flying. Emma spent seemingly every evening and weekend enveloped in swatches and girlfriends. Jake mainly tried to stay out of the way. His weight gain had slowed, though it was inching gradually upward, a circular consequence of a bigger stomach. Bigger stomach meant he ate more, which meant his stomach, over time, grew, which meant he ate more….

By the time of that year’s Thanksgiving-Christmas marathon, he was up eight pounds, and when the dust settled, January 1st found him at 265. He had put on 70 pounds since that first date a year and change ago, and in his own mind there was no description for himself other than fat. From time to time at work, he overheard it used as an identifier when someone asked who Jake Tappan was (“you know, that fat guy in closings”). Every once in a while, Ellis Burnett would glance at him and shake his head, smirking, but Jake noticed that Burnett’s belt was being fastened on a larger notch these days. Not that his gain was anything approaching Jake’s – who had a dedicated helper – but Jake guessed that Burnett now tugged his pants closed around an extra ten or twelve pounds. Mr. Dunlap, long divorced, had remarried over the summer. His young wife was pregnant, and Mr. Dunlap, who appeared to be also eating for two, was now distinctly more cushiony in the middle, maybe pushing twenty pounds. At any rate, Jake’s work was meticulous and no one said anything to his face about his having gotten … fat.

He now had bona fide breasts, nipples and all, which made obvious points that could be seen through his shirts, prompting him to switch to wearing undershirts, even below polo shirts. His exercise routine helped, but his pecs still lay gently flabbed on his chest. His upper arms had developed spread and rested slightly away from his body to make room. His underarms actually jiggled slightly when he applied deodorant. His elbows became sharper, which at first he thought meant was losing weight, until he got a glimpse in the mirror. Instead, his elbows were dimpling in his doughier arms. His hands had become plump and smooth, and he made a point of keeping his handshake firm so no one would get a handful of dough upon greeting.

Below his breasts, his belly ballooned spherically, his waistline broadening into a sizeable spare tire. There was a crease at his back marking the top of the tire, and below, his spreading backside, which he could feel settling squishily into a chair when he sat. His thighs now spread on either side of his knees, which were beginning to dimple like his elbows.

His face carried an extra layer of flesh that Jake thought looked as though it could be peeled off like a latex mask. It started at his eyes and spread into heavy cheeks, beginning to fold in on either side of his mouth. His features appeared smaller because they were on a larger canvas, his second chin now routinely curving out below the first like a landing pad in case his mouth ever decided to jump.

Emma, meanwhile, became more frequent with her spoken and unspoken compliments. She dispensed hugs, kisses, and love-handle grabs as frequently as though she had a quota to fill, habitually smooched him from behind at breakfast, and gave herself visible shivers running a hand down his front. She was meeting him at the door of their apartment clad in a towel several nights a week, with her eyes shining with an unmistakable invitation. In bed, the foreplay centered on his belly, which Emma cradled, cuddled, pinched, fondled, massaged, stroked, and dove into repeatedly. She described him as “handsome”, sometimes “hot” so often that he was tempted to ask her to quit it.

And yet. Getting dressed each morning was a nightmare that sent him off to work in a foul mood.
The crisis came to a head when, despite his most assiduous efforts at sucking in his gut, it simply defied the laws of physics to be able to button his pants and he was forced to acknowledge that the largest size that most stores carried would not contain his midriff any more. He’d struggle until it felt as though his belly button had to be touching his spine, ribs seemingly trembling with effort, if he managed to tug button and buttonhole a millimeter closer to each other, they still failed to meet, star-crossed lovers separated by the equatorial gulf of waistline. After Jake had spent a frustrating week resorting to a method he’d privately scoffed at when he’d seen others use it – fastening his pants below his belly – Emma planned a counterattack. She’d met him at work and led him to a bar for a glass or two of wine, then down the street to a men’s big-and-tall store.

“Here – look around,” she ordered, then caught the attention of an approaching salesman, a young man of no more than 21 with apple cheeks and a round belly framed by suspenders. Quietly, she explained that her fiancé was making his first foray into plus-size clothing. The salesman smiled, slipped away, and reappeared with a more experienced salesman who offered Jake a glass of sweet iced tea and put a hand on his shoulder as he guided him through the spacious aisles.

“Men of distinction, men in a managerial position such as yourself,” the salesman said, making an astute guess, “enhance their leadership qualities by being beautifully dressed, as you know. The right clothing not only flatters,” he went on, “it raises a gentleman’s stature, increases his confidence, reinforces the air of authority he instinctively carries. For example,” here he drew Jake to halt before a display of shirts paired with slacks.

Five minutes later, Jake was in the large dressing room with the salesman, enjoying the sensation he’d forgotten of being able to button his top shirt button without feeling strangled, of there being enough fabric to be able to button the entire shirt, of drawing on slacks without feeling them catch first at his thighs and then at the shelf of his buttocks, of – miracle! – buttoning them closed and sliding the zipper without having to suck in anything, without having to expend any effort at all.

Jake and Emma left the store arm in arm, but once they were back in the apartment Jake turned sulky, withdrawing the way he sometimes did. Emma was patient. Finally Jake burst out, “It’s official.”

Emma waited.

“I’m FAT. I can’t hide behind euphemisms, can’t pretend that I’ve just put on a few pounds, can’t look in the mirror and tell myself I’m still looking good, can’t….” Jake’s voice caught. He looked steadily at the ceiling, his lips compressed.

Emma waited until the spike of emotions had ebbed. Then she spoke. “Jake,” she said softly. She moved over and sat on the sturdy arm of the blue club chair that was his favorite. She gently rubbed his back. “All your life, you’ve seen classmates tease the fat kid. You’ve seen movies and television shows and commercials that subtly or outright ostracized the fat man and made him the comic – or the butt of jokes. Society has threaded into our consciousness the message that thin equals superiority, that a small waist equals self-control and energy and initiative. That one way of appearing is superior to another way of appearing. That sort of selectivity has been practiced by some very cruel groups in society. You say ‘fat’ like it’s a four-letter word. In fact, it’s a three-letter word, like a few others, like ‘fun’ and ‘sex’ and ‘hot.’” That coaxed a small smile from Jake and a slight relaxing of the stiffened spine.

Emma continued. “I realize it’s somewhat counter-cultural to allow yourself to be fat without feeling guilty about it every waking minute, just as it’s countercultural to smoke without saying you’re trying to quit every waking minute. You don’t need to be aggressive about being big…. but what you can do is look at yourself in the mirror every morning – a good, long, self-loving gaze – and say, ‘I am a valuable, kind, disciplined person. I love and I am loved, and I make a difference in the world.’”

Jake sniffled and blinked hard a few times. “That what you tell your five-year-olds?”

Emma smiled back. “No. Too many long words. But –” she leaned over and gave him a one-armed hug – “That’s what I tell my future husband.”

Jake stood, and she snuggled onto his chest. Together they turned toward the bedroom.

Part Eight - Wedding Day

The wedding day dawned clear and mild, with a light breeze. You couldn’t have ordered a more perfect April day. Jake and his mother were in a hotel a few miles from the Cressmans’ so that, heaven forbid, he not see the bride before the ceremony, which was set for 12:15 p.m. on the deck, with a reception to follow by the lake. Mr. Cressman had rented golf carts to spare guests the mile walk and had had a large tent with a wooden floor pitched near the dock. Jake and Emma’s flight to San Francisco would leave at six, first a hop from the regional airport to JFK, then the cross-country flight, which, because of the time change, would arrive in California at 9 p.m.

Eleven-thirty found the groom and his best man, Danny Lindeman, helping each other assemble their morning suits. In the month leading up to the wedding, a combination of nerves and parties had pushed Jake’s weight up, necessitating several alterations of the rental wear. The tailor had been matter-of-fact. “Most grooms need to have their suits let out a little, sir,” he’d said. “See it all the time.” Thanks to the readjustments, Jake was able to put on a suit that fit, so that he wouldn’t have to spend the day sucking it in or running a thumb around the waistband to ease the pinch. He fastened the single button of the cutaway coat, feeling a small surge of triumph that it buttoned around his 280-pound frame. Danny fiddled with the ascot and wing collar, then let Jake do the same for him. They put on each other’s boutonnières and Danny checked for the eighteenth time to make sure he had the ring. The other groomsmen – Wes, Eric, and Justin – rocked back and forth on their heels, making jokes.

Ma emerged, making Jake gasp. Her gray hair, in a flattering wedge cut, framed her beaming face. She wore a Vera Wang bought at an online discount site for only $300. It was leaf green and sage green, a straight neckline with spaghetti straps and a sheer bolero jacket, a waist tie in a beautiful silk bow, and a kick pleat at the back of the ankle-length skirt.


Ma did a fashion twirl. She’d put on her own corsage.

“Looking good, Mrs. Tappan,” Danny said, offering her his arm. One last look around the hotel room and the elegant group strolled to the elevators.

By 12:10, Jake was fidgeting at the far end of the spacious deck, which held the sixty invited guests on wooden folding chairs and a bower under which the minister stood, smiling benevolently. The four bridesmaids clipped up the aisle and lined one side of the back of the deck. Then the music changed and, with a rustle, everyone stood.

At his first glimpse of Emma, Jake literally rocked, taking a step back to catch his balance. His mouth opened and his eyes became lit from within. He’d forgotten to breathe.

Emma’s long hair was in an updo, a large, loose chignon with curves of hair forming a flower under the veil, which drifted gently to her fingertips. The dress was a Nicole Miller gown, from a discount bridal store, ivory silk with mesh detailing at Emma’s bust, strapless with a light interior boning and a shirred bust. The long bodice ended with a sweetheart waistline, the simple full skirt falling to pleated trim at the hem, a puddle of weightless ivory spilled at the bride’s feet. She beamed at Jake as her father escorted her to him. Gently, trembling a little, she gave Jake her arm. They turned to face the minister.

Later, all Jake would remember of the reception was that he had a hard time getting any of the food, because the newlyweds were so busy making the rounds. He floated six inches off the ground, Emma’s arm twined through his, her free hand patting his protruding belly at every possible moment. Even if any of the guests whispered about Jake’s size, the glow on his bride’s face, the way she clung to him, made it clear that she loved every inch of him.

Though they never did get much of the heavy hors d’oeuvres, once the wedding cake was cut Emma saw to it that Jake got seconds and thirds and fourths ... and fifths. Buzzed with sugar, Jake dimly felt his belly swell and tighten, straining the waistcoat and spreading the delightful sensation of heavy warmth and plenteousness that had become so familiar and that Emma’s presence only heightened and enhanced.

Gradually the guests melted away, the trio packed up, the caterer and her staff packed up, and the immediate family members ferried in golf carts back up to the house. Everyone disappeared to change into more comfortable clothes, the new Mrs. Tappan groaning with relief as she slipped off her three-inch heels. Jake, in his underwear, thudded onto the bed next to her and massaged his wife’s aching and reddened feet.

“Poor Mrs. Tappan,” he crooned, “poor wife toesies.”

Emma sighed deeply, then caught a look at the clock. “Jake, we ought to get dressed. Daddy’s driving us to the airport in fifteen minutes!”

Jake stood reluctantly, rubbing his belly. The edge was off his hunger, but he wouldn’t have minded eating more. Still, mindful of the clock, he slipped into newly purchased slacks, polo shirt and blazer, all of which he had prudently purchased a little loose. Emma was wearing a floral cotton dress with a white webbed belt. “San Francisco, here we come!”

On the flight from JFK, the flight attendant, discovering their status, made an announcement over the intercom, prompting a round of applause, and presented them with a certificate commemorating their first flight together as husband and wife. After a stop in Dallas, when there was more room on the plane, she moved them into first class.

“Ahh,” Jake sighed in relief, appreciating the broad leather seats and cushy armrests. Finally he had enough room to sit, not squeeze. Helped along by several glasses of champagne and wedding-day euphoria, Jake was startled how fast time had gone when they touched down in San Francisco. Not caring how they looked to anyone else, he and Emma held hands, cuddled, and kissed through the airport, at the taxi stand, across the lobby of the Mark Hopkins (their stay a gift from her parents) in the elevator, and then they were at the threshold. Jake scooped a shrieking Emma up and bore her across, depositing her gently onto the king-size bed. She immediately bounced up and began disrobing.

“Eager, are we?” Jake teased, but he was already half out of his shirt. Just then his stomach let out a huge growl. It had been a long day and a long flight, and cake, regardless of how much there is in the belly, doesn’t exactly stick to the ribs.

Jake looked sheepish. Emma just laughed. “Can’t have my husband going hungry. Come to think of it … have we eaten anything besides wedding cake today?” She slipped on a hotel bathrobe and picked up the phone for room service.

After the staffer left, Jake and Emma lifted the lids to reveal huge portions of spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread, plus a bottle of red wine and two obscenely large brownies. Emma busied herself with serving while Jake poured generous glassfuls. They drew up chairs and Jake lifted his glass in a toast. “To our marriage.”

“To our marriage,” Emma echoed. “Wait! Let me feed you the first bite.”

She did, and it was a huge mouthful, forcing Jake to slurp it up awkwardly, which allowed Emma to dab his face with a napkin. Both were fiercely hungry and the plates were soon emptied.

“Ahh,” Emma sighed, doffing her robe. “Now … to business.”

Jake also stood and took his robe off, patting his bulging belly, now, finally, heavily full of good food and wine. He opened his mouth to say something, but belched instead, blushing crimson.

“Oops,” he said sheepishly.

Emma only giggled and kissed his belly button, then guided his finger to hers, which he pressed like a doorbell, startled at how firm her now-bulging belly was. She’d indulged herself with the room service, and her midriff was taut and pale, stretched and bulging with its load of spaghetti, wine, bread, and chocolate – a variation of the four food groups.

Jake was expecting good sex, because he’d gotten used to that, but somehow knowing they were married and this was the first intimacy of their married life added a particular sweetness to their romp. It began, of course, with foreplay. Naked, they cradled and stroked each other, Jake being especially solicitous of Emma’s unusually full tummy, making her groan with pleasure. Then Jake lay back and Emma turned her attention to his belly, sloshing with food and Pinot Noir. He was stuffed full and dizzy from the wine on top of the champagne, on top of a long flight, on top of a long, exhilarating day. He snuggled his head into the pillow and let his heavy lids droop as his wife pushed his sagging gut up and down, squishing it, pancaking it, burrowing deep into his belly button, massaging his stuffed tummy and not incidentally the region below.

Whenever he got a chance, he tugged her breasts to his face and kissed, suckled, cradled and caressed them, stroking her unpinned hair, nuzzling her ear, cupping her buttocks, not neglecting her stomach. By the time they finally coupled, both were already very much on edge, and their climax was quickly and simultaneously reached. Jake moaned and arched his back as Emma held on like a cowgirl; afterward, dripping with perspiration, they lay entangled, the sheets tying up their ankles, her damp hair plastered to her forehead, her face buried in his soft chest, a hand resting on his belly, which rose and fell rhythmically as he caught his breath.

“I don’t believe in blind dates,” he murmured.

“You almost turned me down, sight unseen,” she teased, kissing his chest.

“Worst near-miss of my life.”

“I love you,” Emma murmured, the words barely audible through her yawn.

“I love you – oh – ooh – back,” Jake replied through his own huge yawn, stroking her hair.

Emma yawned again. She was almost out. “I … love my … big … handsome … man.”
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Default Part 9

Part Nine - The final chapter

The week in the Bay City spun out like a dream, a fairy tale. They rode streetcars, visited Fisherman’s Wharf, pigged out in Chinatown, saw a Giants game, walked and walked and walked … and ate and ate and ate. In January, Jake had phoned in two reservations for extra-special dinners, one for the French Laundry, the other for five at Campton Place. The guidebook actually gave times at table for the dinners, four or five hours each.

At the French Laundry, Jake and Emma were still wide-eyed at the restaurant’s atmosphere when the food began to arrive. After that, anything they said to each other was said through a full mouth. They were savoring the unbelievable dinner, the way time spun leisurely out; this really was dining at its best. Jake stifled his moans as he swallowed confit of veal with a turnip glace, sirloin of Wagyu beef with bone marrow bread pudding, avocado with Sevruga caviar. Emma, who’d tenaciously managed to hold the line of her own weight at 140, had also abandoned any notion of restraint and ate half the meal with her eyes closed, enraptured by the tastes.

Jake’s pants and shirt, which had fit when they’d left the hotel for their 6:00 reservation, were straining within an hour – to put it mildly. His stomach protruded steadily, swelling with each course. His love handles burst over the sides of his increasingly snug waistband, his abdomen became distended, the skin stretched taut over a steadily more aching and heavily laden belly. With the meal finally concluded over “coffee and doughnuts” – cinnamon-sugar pastries and a demitasse of cappuccino semifreddo – the pants had long since been unbuttoned and the turtleneck was straining thread by thread to cover the acreage of his ballooning gut. His eyes were barely open but, in keeping with the elegance of the restaurant, he tried not to openly waddle as he made for the door, where a car from the hotel had arrived.

Back at the Mark Hopkins, Jake tried not to lean too heavily on Emma, who was cradling her own achingly distended midriff. Together they staggered to the room, fumbled it open (curse key cards!), and tugged off their clothes as quickly as their painfully full bellies would allow. Jake fetched glasses of water, which they gulped down straight from the tap, tepid and tasteless, but which helped. They moved slowly and ponderously toward the bed, intending to make love, but once lying down discovered they were too uncomfortably stuffed for that much movement just at the moment. Instead, they cuddled drowsily, massaging each other’s aching and swollen bellies until sleep overtook them.

Two nights later, the scene was Campton Place. Emma’s jaw dropped as they were seated at a generously sized table in comfortable leather chairs by windows covered in gauzy fabric. As with the French Laundry, they were doing the chef’s menu, $98 for 13 (13!) courses, plus a few extra treats, plus the cost of the wines. The time at table was estimated to be three hours and change.

They began with complimentary appetizers, almost swooning over tiny crab sandwiches and squares of sashimi. Jake followed with gazpacho, while Emma had chilled cantaloupe soup with a Gewurztraminer foam. Foie gras torchon wrapped around aged maple syrup; blue-fin tina ravioli; a fillet of John Dory topped with baby zucchini, with a saffron fumet with confit of tomatoes. The meal did, as advertised, take several hours, and by the time they got to the quark (a kind of cheese) soufflé over apricot compote for her and a chocolate and caramel dessert for him, both bride and groom were groaning aloud. Jake’s belly was rock-hard and had ballooned visibly over his pants, which had been unbuttoned somewhere around the blue-fin tuna. His stomach ached and the skin of his distended midsection was stretched taut, his engorged belly sagging heavily onto his lap. Emma, who wore a dress that had been loose-fitting when they left the hotel, cradled her aching and swollen belly, which sat roundly below her breasts, the dress fabric now snug almost to translucence over her distended tummy. Her bloated and stretched abdomen was firm and tender. She looked not just visibly pregnant but six or seven months gone, and the ride back to the hotel was torture, both of them trying to stifle groans at every bump and turn.

“At least (hic!) this time (hic!) I knew not to wear pantyhose,” puffed Emma, shedding her dress with relief. Her belly, taut and gleaming, sprang forward. “Oooh,” she moaned, cradling it as it sagged.

Jake was huffing and grunting out of his pants. “These used to fit,” he grumbled. He sat down heavily on the side of the bed and with effort got his ankle onto his knee to take off his sock. The compression made him belch. He released the leg with a thud and tugged up the other one. He was damp with perspiration, and when Emma brought him the ice bucket, he scooped out a glass of what was now cool water and chugged it down. He hiccupped.

“Ah,” he said, hiccupping again. “Better.”

They snuggled side by side, draining the ice bucket’s contents, hands on each other’s hugely distended midriffs, then carefully lay down, their sore stomachs weighing heavily, both sticking straight up like twin domes, though Jake’s was much larger, the main building adjacent to Emma’s chapel dome. They massaged their own engorged guts at first, then, gradually, each other’s, as before finally sinking into a deep satiated sleep.

EPILOGUE: One year later

The Cressmans and the Tappans leaned back in deck chairs and lifted their glasses in a toast to the Tappans’ first anniversary. Emma’s glass contained lemonade. She was seven and a half months pregnant, and it was hard to judge who was bigger, Emma or Jake. Jake had clocked in that morning at 335 on the dot. His breasts rounded out and tucked under, creating a dampness on warm days where they rested on the top of his belly. His gut, when he reclined, protruded spherically, smooth and globe-like. The soft cotton of his often-washed favorite polo shirt draped gently over his abdominal mound.

His cheeks were pendulous, flowing smoothly into the second of what were verging on becoming three chins. If he looked down, the third chin peeped. Another ten pounds might do it. His face was pleasantly ruddy and he rested his plump free hand contentedly on his mid-sectional expanse.

Next to him, Emma glowed, luckily blessed with the radiance given to some gravid women. She now wore her hair shorter, in a pageboy, and she’d pinned it back with bobby pins on the sides. Her breasts swelled and rested, pillowed large and soft on her chest. She carried the baby almost entirely in front – from behind she did not look pregnant, just softened around the edges. Her belly was, like her husband’s, roundly protruberant, glowingly spherical below the lightweight blouse she wore. Her abdomen rounded out gently and smoothly like a ripe pear about to fall into an outstretched hand, and it was pleasingly firm.

One hand cradled her lemonade; her other rested gently atop Jake’s hand on his gorgeous dome of a belly. Through half-closed eyes, Jake watched the sun begin to set.

The End

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