“So how would you say that this is different than your previous relationship with Emily?”
A hard exhale caused the large chest to deflate before expanding again. The owner of these powerful lungs pinched the bridge of his nose between two large fingers. “I’m sorry. I’m just. Well. This isn’t exactly where I thought this conversation would go.”
Dr. Reed tilted his head. “I can imagine. You seem very happy, and that is a good thing.”
His therapist inclined his head so that his bald pate caught the hard glare from the overhead lights. “But,” he acknowledged, “are there not similarities between Emily and Vivian? Or rather, the relationship between you, your partner and food?”
Opening his eyes and dropping his hand, Brad shot a hard look at the other man. “Emily was obsessed with me eating, gaining weight, by body, and control over what I ate, where, with who. Viv is constantly trying to protect me from my appetite – she actually avoids me eating, is trying to stop me gaining weight. They are not similar at all.”
“No doubt,” the other man agreed, settling back in his comfortable chair. “But you did mention that she has the same fetish as Emily, does she not?”
Brad hid a grimace at the term behind the discomfort of shifting his foot. “Yes, she likes heavier guys. But she isn’t forcing me to gain weight. If anything, it is the opposite.”
“Are you gaining weight?”
Of course he was gaining weight, Brad mentally acknowledged through a tight jaw. Anyone could see that. It wasn’t Viv doing it. He was injured and could not work out as much. Plus he was happy. Wasn’t it normal to gain a few pounds in the beginning of a relationship? Any of that, however, would just be nitpicked and analyzed. Instead, he gave a short nod.
“How much weight have you gained?”
“About five pounds.” Or a few more.
“And how do you feel about it?”
“Actually – fine. I didn’t think I would miss working out, but it’s been a few weeks now and actually do want to get back into it - once physio gives me the go ahead.”
“Is she supportive? Have you talked to her about your weight gain? Other than eating, what sort of things do you do together?”
Brad might have been a gym jock – but he wasn’t dumb. Hazel eyes narrowed, even as the rest of his face remained impassive. He was falling down the same trap, was he? Falling for a girl and it being all about his body, his weight? Doc Reed was a smart guy, but in that, he was dead wrong. Viv was nothing like Emily. As for what they did together – that was fair. Maybe they needed to do more things than him teasing her with food and his body, once he was healed.
Dr. Reed, long used to silence as his patient mentally digested and thought, laid his pen across his notepad and waited patiently, head tilted slightly in inquiry.
After a long pause, Brad leaned back into the chair, extending long, muscular legs and clasping his hands comfortably across his middle. For those who had not known him a few weeks ago, Brads weight gain would not be noticeable at all, but for those used to the disproportionate ‘V’ of his torso, the thickening was unmistakable. Even if it was over solid muscle. “What are we doing? Right now, mostly cuddling and watching movies. I can’t go far or do that much because my stupid food. What do I want to do with her? Everything.” Unbeknownst to their owner, his hazel eyes suddenly sparkled, lips curling up at the corners. “Hiking, camping, skating. Skiing, vacations…And yes,” he added more soberly, “Restaurants. Eating. I want to try different restaurants, different cuisines – all with her.”
Dr. Reed nodded amiably. “Good. You should continue to explore your relationship and try new things. All I am saying is to be aware of any similarities – should they appear. We’ve talked about this before, and I am sure you are aware that people tend to rehearse past behaviours, and to fall back into the same relationship traps. Just be aware and keep the lines of communication open.”
A chorus of “Brad!” “Hey man!” and “How are you doing?” crashed over each other as the man carefully slid through the double glass doors on his crutches.
Although he had been taciturn and rude to Viv, Brad did have his jock friends. And even Vivian had to admit that he was an exceptional personal trainer. He was a bit intense about it, but he got results and his clients loved him for it. As he was surrounded by coworkers and clients, he smiled, nodded, and shook hands. Would anyone else notice the difference?
That his cheeks were not quite as hollow. That when he smiled, a tiny dimple had started to appear on the right-hand side, but not the left? That despite having no belly and no real ‘fat’, he had gone up a pant size?
It had been three weeks. He was going to start working out again. Look at how happy he was here. Part of her was relieved, and the other part of her was battling moist eyeballs. He was so damn cute and cuddly when he was full. And he hadn’t exactly packed on the pounds, but he was less uncomfortable now.
“You probably shouldn’t, Brad,” she cautioned, eyes flicking from his waist to his friends at their offer of a few beers.
“Come on, Vivian, get off his back. So he’s put on a pound or two. It isn’t the end of the world. He got hurt, he will come back swinging and transform it right into muscle, right man?”
Brad smiled at Josh, and that smile widened into a grin as his girlfriend gave a choked splutter-laugh at the idea of being negative about that minor poundage. “Sure,” was the easy-going response. “I’ve got a girlfriend now, though, so even once I am back working, I don’t think I’ll be here as much.”
Joey’s eyes opened wide as he looked between them, a look of disappointment crashing over his features soon after. “You finally asked Viv out, eh?”
Her boyfriend looked over at her, a smile softening the hard lines of his face. “Yep.”
“Well even if you get chunky, your girl is an expert at getting fatties to lose weight,” Joey snarked with no little ill humour.
If the younger man thought to intimidate the older with his comments, he was sorely mistaken. Instead of flushing, Brad winked at her. “You hear that, babe? You gonna run me through my paces? She is a bit of a slave driver when it comes to food,” he added in a conspiratorial whisper.
Viv, who had started off by rolled her eyes at the two of them, finished off with a poke to his side and glare. “Am not!”
“Oh yeah? Gonna go out to Korean barbeque with me, then?”
“Of course!” she responded quickly. When the others had dispersed, she leaned closer. “What’s Korean barbeque?”
“All you can eat – tiny strips of protein you cook yourself. Or so I have heard. I’ve always wanted to try it. What? It’s protein!”
She was subdued until they were back in the cab. “Why were you being so mean in front of everyone? I don’t control your food!”
“You kind of do, though,” Brad answered, making eye contact. “Can’t we just be cool and enjoy a new food experience together?”
“No!” Vivian hissed, lowering her voice even more after glancing towards the driver. “No, I cannot, because that is exactly what I used to do! I’d be all passive and go along for the ride – and you know who always catches it in the face fifty pounds later? Me! Part of what makes you so sexy is your confidence. The more weight you gain, the less confident you will be, and that is not sexy! I’d rather use some lube and have you be confident than have to peel your tattered feelings off the floor every few weeks, and put humpty dumpty together again!”
Brad stared at her for several long moments, then the side of her head as she turned to gaze sightlessly. “Hey. Come here. I’m sorry for teasing you. I didn’t know.” Shifting, he reached across the space to gently turn her face towards him. “I wasn’t joking or teasing in there. And I know you don’t believe me. But I have a girlfriend now. One who likes watching movies with me – one who says she is going to go on a portage trip with me next year. One who seems to like me, despite me being a jackstraw for a long time. One who gets a part of me, who will accept that I won’t have all this muscle in a year. Not because I am going to bloat up like a tick – but because I have other, more important priorities. I think I’ll always work out, and I love having muscle tone. But I also love food. We live in one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the country, one known for its multicultural food. I want to explore those restaurants with you. That is probably going to add a few pounds – and I am ok with that.”
She had turned to watch his earnest face as he spoke, and her mouth quivered slightly. “Sorry for being controlling.”
He shook his head, his longer hair shifting slightly. The jock buzz cut was gone, and he looked adorably shaggy compared to how she had known him for a long time. “Just be you, Viv. If you want me to try some food, do it. If you think I am going overboard, call me on it. As long as you realize that occasionally, like everyone else, I am totally going to go overboard and stuff my face – but it won’t be all the time. And if you want to touch me, do it. Ok?”
“Ok.” Her mind flashed to that scene with the Chinese food, and then her brain registered that he had never moved back into his place. Huh.
“And as for sex, lube is not an option for me. We are going to let this go where it will – and when your body finds my body sexy…that’s when it is going to happen. And not a second earlier. And yeah, that’s probably gonna be twenty pounds from now. And that may take a while."
He was doing a slow burn on his weight? She had never been teased with a lack of sex before. Her tongue stole out and she licked her lips, crossing her legs. “Well. Um. That could be a problem because I don’t know if I can wait. I really do find you attractive.”
A roguish wink was her answer. “Talk to me after you roll me into the cab tonight. This is gonna be one of those times that I stuff myself silly.”
The new additions are just amazing!! As always, your writing style alone is a pure luxury to be able to read such beautifully put words I could easily read 100x and not tire of. The fact that it's BHM/FFA storyline and plots is just icing on top!