“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!
Viv choked on her edamame, thumping herself in the chest and coughing several times to clear her airway before busying herself with her water. “What do you mean?”
Her date had dragged her out to Kinka, a wonderful Japanese restaurant. To her right, the chefs were preparing their meal under a wraparound art that showcased beautiful Asian women in an oddly attractive art cross between 1940s pinup and kimonos.
He was smiling that smile – the one that made her insides turn to mush. It was soft, and it made his crows feet fan out against his tanned skin. “You heard me. What was your thing? Food? Feederism? Weight gain?”
Viv could feel her skin change colours, and picked up her Neko mug to sip at the sweet sake drink, eyes sliding around like she was in the middle of an illicit drug deal. “I, uh, none? All? I mean…” she rolled a shoulder, shivering slightly at the air conditioning. “I like when guys enjoy their food. And I like the, well, result. But I was never into the whole, uh, eat, eat, eat thing.”
Brad sat forward, fingers busy before slipping out of his black button down and offering it to her with gentleman like courtesy. “So why the guilt?”
Frowning, Viv eyed him. Well - this date suddenly got all serious! “I didn’t put food in between their lips, but I enabled them, I guess.”
The man leaned forward again, resting his stubbled chin on his hands. “How so? Tell me more.”
His date actually squirmed, before puffing out her cheeks and slanting her eyes at him. “You know. The typical. Oh, you are torn between two deserts? Why don’t you get both – knowing he would eat both. Medium or large? Get the large, we can save the leftovers for tomorrow – knowing there wouldn’t be any leftovers. Or oh, I know how much you hate shopping, here I picked some new pants up for you – knowing that I was getting him a bigger size.”
He smirked. “That’s all? Tame. What’s your preferred size bracket?”
Tame? Shyness was forced to vie with rising pride. “What is this, twenty questions? I’ll play, but only if I get to quiz you, too!” She retorted. Straightening her spine and her will, the blond hair jerked as she nodded decisively. “Fine. I prefer more than 250, less than 400.”
Her date extended his leg under the table, gently caressing her ankle. “Have you ever fed a guy?”
“Nay-nay.” The denial was confident.
“What was the heaviest a boyfriend got to?”
That same confidence, undershot with shyness, suddenly veered into serious discomfort, causing her to blink rapidly for a moment. Her nostrils flared. “Three eighty five,” she muttered, leaning over to take a drink from her Neko mug once more.
“Over how many years?” Brad inquired, watching her delicate fingers curl as she kept track of his questions. “That’s seven,” he corrected.
Her middle finger extended back up. “Three, almost four.”
“And how heavy did he start off at?”
“Three hundred and fifteen,” she rattled off in a crisp tone.
“Huh.” Seventy pounds over four years, on an already fat guy. “How much of it was him versus you?”
“I don’t know. I mean, I think…I think he would have been over three hundred, less than three fifty? If he had been alone he would have been unhappy and eating less. But he was happy…at least in the beginning…so got heavier. He wasn’t exactly an outdoorsy or active type. I didn’t help, though.”
“How do you think that you could have helped? It sounds like he didn’t exactly have you cramming him full of food, and he was already pretty fat.”
Viv smiled and paused as the waitress deposited their Takoyaki and miso, staring down into the wavering fish flakes as if mesmerized. “I knew he was unhappy, but I kept caving. We would say no more fast food – but when he wanted it, I couldn’t seem to say no. And me liking it was part of him not wanting to lose it. And then I’d try and **** away his insecurities. Any other questions?” she demanded, arms crossed under her chest and chin tilted at a defiant angle.
“Mmhmm,” he responded with a wink. “Now - how fat would you want me? If this was about you, which it’s not, because it is my body,” he added.
Her mouth tightened several times. “It’s hard to say…”
Brad’s lazy smile transformed into a wide, irrepressible grin. “It’s hard to guess without knowing my current weight. You want to know how much I weigh.”
“Yuh huh. Ask it. It can be one of your questions.”
“No! And that’s twelve,” his date argued.
“Spoilsport! Well you are not getting that as a freebie! And it is eleven, I didn’t ask if you want to know how much I weigh – it was a statement of fact.” He paused. “Would you want me at four hundred pounds?”
To his surprise, her head immediately and decisively jerked to the side. “No. I like the idea of a guy being that heavy. But the reality is…well, it kind of sucks. I am an active person – at his heaviest, Trevor struggled to walk down the block, let alone hike, and spend more time complaining than being sexy. Besides, being young and dumb and exploring your kink is one thing…but I kind of want a long term, healthy thing.”
“Aren’t you going to ask me any more?” She asked when he stared off into space for some time. “Or can I go now?” At his nod, she wriggled her long fingers, resetting the counter. “What kind of BHM were you?”
“The hot, sexy – ooof,” he grunted as she raised a leg under the table to poke at his belly. “Belly abuser,” he accused, dramatically caressing the offended body part. “I was just a weak willed guy who did what he was told. I guess you could classify me as a feedee because I love food, but it was never about the weight…or even the food. It was about pleasing Emily.”
“She sounds like a twat. Why do you suddenly want to gain weight now?”
He shrugged heavy shoulders. “I don’t want to gain weight. I do want to enjoy food, though. With Emily, it was all about volume. Half the time I would get through a meal and not have tasted any of it. What’s the point of eating if you can’t even enjoy it?”
That had always been her thought as well – the same vein as why be with a girl who you knew liked you chubby if you were going to be all self conscious. “What makes me any different?” she demanded.
“Good question. Let’s do a test. Pick up your chopsticks – grab one of those Takoyaki. Yep. Now feed it to me.” He raised a brow at her sudden look of impatient consternation. “I’m serious. You say it isn’t about weight or food – but you are still kind of hyper focused on both of them, aren’t you? Instead of saying what I should eat, you call out what I shouldn’t. Let’s see if you are a secret little feeder. Ahhh!” He finished, pointing into his open mouth with one hand, the other still supporting his face.
Viv had frozen, barely able to thank the waitress as she dropped the scallop sushi at the table. Several emotions chased themselves across her face. And absurdly, a twisted version of the children’s song played in her mind: All around the FFA bush, the FFA bush, the FFA bush, shame chased arousal…Arousal thought it was all in fun until POP goes the feeder….
What if she liked this? There was a specific reason she had never explored this part of the…community. Brad might not have a temper like he used to, but he was relentless and would bug her until she at least tried it. Like with the icky oysters the other night. Steeling herself, she scooped up a piece and held it to his mouth, only to have to grapple with her utensils as he bit it in half instead of taking the whole ball. “Ah ****!”
Gently taking the uneaten half in his fingers, Brad turned it towards her and placed it at her lips. “Say ahhh…!”
“Ahh’ll kill you!” Viv snipped cheerfully before taking it. The process was repeated several more times, this time with more handler dexterity on her part. It was…interesting. She got to see how his white teeth bit into the soft shell, and how his jaw muscles moved as he chewed. Every FFA had read the stories. Fantasized about the feeding of a willing guy. She waited in breathless anticipation for her body to be overtaken with lust, or feel the uncontrollable urge to plug his face hole with food.
“Well?” He queried, wiping his mouth on his napkin. “How do you feel about your first feeder experience?”
“Honestly?” She wrinkled one side of her nose in thought. “It was more boring than I thought it would be. You chew long enough that I kind of want to put it down, then I end up holding it up in the air like an idiot.” Her lips twitched. “I think I kind of like star fishing at meals…”
That lick-able dimple was out. “Sooo…not your thing?”
“Ehh…maybe a bite, that was cute. I can’t imagine the bother of trying to feed a whole meal like that, though!” She sobered, eyeing him through her bangs. “You…don’t want me to feed you, do you? I don’t think I am a feeder…and I wouldn’t…um…want you super heavy. Even though your body is your own and all that.”
His chuckle was soft, and he leaned across the table. His large hand snaked behind her neck, pulling her into a deep kiss that made her toes, snooch, and nipples clench in a synchronized sex move. “Nope. I don’t want to be super heavy either. And I don’t want you to be a feeder – but I do want you to stop freaking out. I’m gonna get a bit heavier than I am now. I’m almost forty, Viv. Maintaining this body was hours a day in the gym. This foot thing has been a wake up call. I want to get busy living. And if that means going on a vacation with my lady and eating a few pieces of chocolate, so be it.”
The door did not slam. That was what a teenager did. It did, however, close with a resounding thud that caused it to rattle in its frame. Heavy, uneven footsteps sounded in the hallway, along with an irritable, indistinct muttering. A heavy bag thumped, and a light curse followed the sound of his cane hitting the floor.
Viv, in the kitchen, felt his irritation and pain in equal measures. “Hey Brad - ”
“I’ve had a **** of a day,” he snarled as he limped into the kitchen. For the first time in a long time, his pupils were drawn as tight as his face. As she used to fancy them, cold as two piss holes in the snow. When they were like this, they were far more yellow-brown than green. Lines bracketed his expressive lips, and his jaw clenched as he limped towards her heavily.
It must look odd, she admitted as her friend’s curiosity and concern washed over her from the other room. Of course, she had told them of him before dating. Exhibition A: The *******. And then of course, she had told them about their becoming a couple, and the changes that he had gone through. Exhibition B: The doting, funny, cuddly teddy bear boyfriend.
The tall, heavily muscled boyfriend stomping around and cursing seemed more like the former than the latter. Of course, Madz was used to his temper and looked completely unperturbed.
From her perspective, he was not just physically sore, he hurt emotionally. Emotional vines stole out, turning her towards him and caused her to extend her arms instinctively.
“Make me feel better, babe?” he murmured as he half fell into her arms, half enveloped her. The smell of clean sweat enveloped her, along with the wintergreen scent of his soap, and that musky scent which was quintessentially Brad. His face found its way to the side of her neck, which he kissed tenderly. “Hey you,” he whispered, shoulders instantly relaxing. “I missed you.”
Viv allowed herself a twitching grin as his hot breath instantly tickled and warmed her. “I missed you too. Welcome home. You remember that my friends were coming today?”
To be fair to him, very few boyfriends lit up at the prospect of being interrogated 3:1 by his girl’s friends. To his credit, the only outwards sign he gave of his chagrin was a quick, short exhale and an extra nuzzle into her neck before he straightened. “Oh yes,” he raised his voice, turning towards the living room and extending his right arm in greeting. “Hello.”
His left stayed firmly around her as they echoed the greeting, holding her close to his side. A side which had turned from a hard gulley into a very small yet soft mound. “Why don’t you go sit with them, and I’ll bring the food in when it is ready?”
His eyes slid from examining their guests to hers. “Throwing me to the lions?”
“Your courage will hold,” the now silver haired woman retorted.
“My fortitude needs bolstering,” Brad grinned, then jerked his chin to the cutting board. He opened his mouth, one brow lightly cocked a as a challenge. To anyone else, the intimate yet innocent act of putting a cracker with cheese into her boyfriend’s mouth would be nothing of note. For them?
Her own lips twitched. “I’d shove this into your mouth just to shut you up, but you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” she whispered, poking a finger into his chest.
“So much,” he groaned as she slid it between his lips. Adjusting his cane, he limped into the living room. “Ladies.” He settled on what had become his side of the couch. “Sorry for being late. I was just at physio.” Long legs extended under the coffee table, and he set his cane against the side table.
Kristen, her friend from high school, examined him with the impartial air of a horse buyer. “He is rather handsome,” she admitted, the words sounding wrung from her rather unwillingly. She had been the most vocal in her protests about Vivian taking to the ‘bad boy’. In the kitchen, Viv gave a brief smile.
“I like to think I clean up decently.”
“Modest, too,” Jamie quipped as she leaned forward to capture a cracker with salmon and cream cheese. Of the three, she had been the most impartial. If Viv was happy, she was happy.
His eyes tracked the motion of her hand, expression darkening. “Have you met Viv? I practically had to throw myself at her to get her to notice me.”
Viv’ light voice sounded from the kitchen. “Lies, deceit and calamari!”
Brad perked up, head pivoting, nose air scenting. “There is calamari?” He demanded.
Madz, their friend from the gym, grinned at her coworker. “You’re getting fat, Brad,” she teased, reaching over to poke a digit into the small roll which was pressing against the front of his t-shirt. Her opinion had been less about Brad’s personality, and more his size. Her only, rather confused comment had been: ‘isn’t he too skinny for you?’
“The better to please her with,” he quipped, patting the small roll with confidence.
Still in the kitchen, Viv was staggered by the regret that rolled off him a moment later. As he stumbled to backtrack his admission, she popped her head around the corner. “It’s ok. It’s ok. They know I am a chubby chaser,” she informed him. “By the way, you are adorable when you blush.”
In response, he did the mature thing of sticking his tongue out at her retreating form.
Madz ruffled her mohawk, currently down on one side of her head. “Viv liked you from day one, dumb-dumb. You just had to get off of your high horse to notice. But it’s ok – you didn’t have a gut to listen to, back then!” She snickered at her own joke.
“Well, if I had known that all it would take to get her to like me was to break my foot with a fifty-pound weight and become a cripple, I would have done it earlier,” he quipped as the blush on his stubble covered cheeks slowly faded.
Jamie snorted at him. “That sounded oddly both true and bitter.”
“I said it, and I meant it. I’ve never been happier than with Viv,” he repeated in a carrying tone, winking at Jamie.
“Shut up,” his girlfriend laughed from around the corner, feeling the truth and warmth of his statement envelop her.
Madz was eying him shrewdly as he returned his attention, with a regretful expression, to the entrees before them. “Bitter because you can’t work out?”
His nostrils flared in a snort. “Hardly. I am bitter that I can’t eat what I want without working out. There is a subtle yet significant difference.”
Madz grimaced in solidarity. Her own form was muscled but curvy. “I feel you. I’d be the size of a house without working out.”
Despite his joking, pleasant, and at times jocular tone, Viv could feel a sadness eat at him. A line appeared between her brows as she quickly plated the sausage pastries and entered the room. Depositing the appetizers onto the table, she slid in between him and Madz as the conversation shifted. “Are you ok?”
One thing that made her man so exceptional – and at times so infuriating – was his lack of filter. He jerked his head and opened his mouth as if to say fine, licked his lips and looked down, then met her gaze. “Nah. Physio isn’t going as well as I had hoped. The surgery helped but they said it’s going to be months before I am back to anything resembling normal. I’ve been told if I push it too hard, too fast, I could cripple myself.” His tone was low, for her ears alone.
Her chest tightened as she curled into his side. Nestling her face between his chest and bicep, she gazed up at him. “I’m so sorry. But the prognosis is still looking good long term?” She smiled at a comment, the others temporarily carrying the conversation.
He dipped his shaggy head in acknowledgment. “But if I can’t work out, I can’t eat what I want. I was really, really looking forward to eating tonight,” he added in a tone of deep mourning, the corners of his lips turning down as he observed the spread of appetizers.
You can eat what you want. The words almost spilled out from her parted lips, and she snapped them closed with a jerk. A deep inhale preceded a deep exhale. Her eyes sought his, only to skitter away once they met. “I want…you to not be sad,” she muttered into his firm chest, tone so soft as to be more felt than heard.
“I know.” He patted her hip, settling more firmly into the couch. “Don’t worry. I’m a grown ass man. It’s just food. I’ll get over it.”
And of course, her boyfriend dug deep, smiling at her friends and socializing. Specifically making a good impression. Ignoring the food in front of them. Keeping true to his commitment that he wouldn’t let his appetite get the better of him without the compensating control of working out. If Viv was not as empathic as she was, she would have been hard pressed to notice, let alone name his pain. As it was, she could literally feel a pang between her chest and ribcage every time he watched their guest take or bite into a morsel.
Finally, unable to stand it, let alone listen to her guests, she disentangled herself enough to plate several sausage rolls, a few crackers with salmon and cream cheese, and a few phyllo pastries stuffed with spinach. Her stomach clenched at his discomfort – her eating that in his face would be very cruel. Instead, she popped one into her mouth before raising her fingers to his lips.
His eyes half lidded. “Don’t do anything you don’t want to.” When she continued to hold the mouthful up wordlessly, his lips parted to accept the precious cargo. A low, reverberating hum of pleasure made her shiver with happiness, as did his hold tightening possessively.
Over the course of the next two hours, the appetizers began to dwindle, but four health-conscious women were not likely to make a significant dent in the amount served. An item of note for some couples. Their eyes briefly met, both cheeks colouring. A line in the sand for others.
Vivian returned from letting her guests out, torn between guilt for being less social than usual and straight up horniness. Her boyfriend was sitting forward on the couch, one hand gently pinching the tiniest pad of fat below his chin, which only appeared when looking down. Noticing her reappearance, he released it and patted the couch next to him. “Want to…watch a movie?”
“Do you…want me to clean up?” God, they sounded like scared teenagers. Clearing her throat, she shook out her hair. “I can put them in the garbage.”
Hazel eyes met hers, an unfathomable expression in them. “No! I mean… Well. What do you think I should do?”
That was so not fair! “Well. It’s your body, as you like to point out.”
He nodded, gaze slowly returning to the food.
Good. Supportive and not leading at all. “On the other hand, you have been clear that certain nights were set aside for eating. And you were looking forward to this ‘eating night’ for a two weeks.” Shut up, shut up, shut up.
His gaze snapped back up to hers, expression haunted. “I just want food to be something special between us. Not something I mindlessly shove down my face hole.”
It was one of those inadvertent, off the cuff, and absolutely true statements that caused discombobulated thoughts to crystalize. Sitting next to Brad, she took one of his warm, large hands in hers. That was it. That was precisely it. Nail on the head.
That was the thing she hated about all of her past relationships. The mindless face hole stuffing that resulted in weight gain. There was no memory that came along with the poundage. There was no ‘this five pounds was from that fantastic vacation in France, and these two were from the snow storm that snowed us in’.
Every meal with her exes had been like she was starving, watching them eat from the other side of a glass window. Yes, she had at times encouraged, perhaps. Because maybe, if they ate something else, she might get a taste of togetherness. That perhaps her preference could be something special between them.
Not with Brad. Every meal he ate, he shared with her not only physically, but spiritually. He ate, he teased, he touched. When she was at work earlier in the week, he had phoned on her lunch just to tell her how amazing her hummus was and how much he wished she was there to enjoy it with him. It wasn’t about the food for him either. It was about food with her.
So far, she had noted his body with a near clinical impassivity, refusing to allow herself any part in either the act of him eating, or his body. There hadn’t been a damn window up this entire time with Brad, she had just been standing outside looking in for no goddamn reason!
Leaning forward, she kissed him deeply. “You taste like sausage,” she informed him with a smile, her heart racing so hard that she doubted she could pull this off. He grinned, one large arm snaking around her. Reaching to her left, she scooped up a salmon cracker.
His eyes widened fractionally before he parted his lips. “Viv?”
“Now you taste like salmon,” she informed him as she came up for air.
There were times in the past weeks were he had started to question if he had slid into the friend zone, or had been imposing on her kindness. She still slept in her bed, he in the spare room. There was really no way to broach the subject, though. When he had tried to raise moving back into his place a few weeks ago, Viv had just frowned at him in confusion until he stopped talking.
Something had happened in the last forty-eight hours. Brad couldn’t put his finger on it, but it was noticeable. Part of Viv had always been distant, and despite his teasing and her squirming, it was almost like she disassociated from him at times. Or at least that was the word Doc Reed used. Now, it was like she was more…present? More aware of him? More into him? It was hard to describe.
Example One: Last week he had gotten on the scale after shaving. It was a daily routine, a holdover from his working out. Whereas before he would have been horrified at the slowly ticking numbers, he now felt satisfied. Viv, should she happen to wander in while he was finishing, would avert her eyes talk about work as if she was unaware of his slowly creeping weight. Yesterday morning, he had followed the same routine. When had Viv walked in, her eyes dropped to the scale, rose to his with a tiny quirk of her mouth, and she tilted her neck subtly as if to see the numbers. When he had patted his small tummy through his shirt, she had blushed instead of looking stoic.
Example Two: Normally when he ordered food in, Viv would put the plastic containers in the middle of the table. And despite watching him eat (a development since the beginning of their relationship), it almost looked painful to her. Yesterday, he had impulsively prodded her to see if she wanted Pho, knowing full well she would roll her eyes and shrug. Instead, she eyed him up and down and smiled. “Sure – but I’m more in the mood to nibble on some appetizers. Maybe some crab Rangoon and some fresh rolls? Oh, and whatever you want.” And when it came, she sat next to him, instead of across, and put all of the containers in front of him. Given how bloated and heavy he had felt afterwards, he suspected she had not eaten as much as she had claimed.
Example Three: Brad was well aware their relationship had not developed as per the standard script. Read: Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they date briefly, sleep together, then move in. Instead, they had been long time coworkers with a rocky relationship, had moved in together basically at the beginning – and had yet to have sex. And he had meant what he had said – he wanted to wait until she was as out of her mind with lust for him as he was for her. Watching her parade around the apartment in just a comfy old t-shirt and sweats shouldn’t have been so erotic, but it was. They had engaged in long make out sessions and light petting through clothing, but Viv had been scrupulous about not touching his torso or anywhere that had softened slightly. Since Monday, she had started to touch him in soft, sexy, well… girlfriend ways. She had walked into the kitchen while he was eating his second bowl of cereal off the countertop, and had hugged him from behind – with her hands under his shirt. Or when he lay on the couch and his shirt rode up just a touch, she lightly tickled the exposed flesh before cuddling. A man was hard done by when the slightest touch had him aching. The wait, he was sure, would be worth it.
Need he illustrate more?
Oh wait – one last thing. Monday he had been in an admittedly foul mood when he came home, and he was quite proud of himself for reining it in and saving the evening. That same evening, Viv turned to look at him with the cutest, most impish expression on her face. “You like the outdoors and working out…but you can’t hike or workout yet. What if we rent a canoe and go out on the water? I’ve heard you burn about three hundred calories an hour. Then we can finish it off with some yummy fish and chips? Maybe get a hotel room and do it two days in a row?”
Viv had shown mild interest in outdoor activities, had never mentioned eating out, and never mentioned calories. Or hotels.
It was the best fucking suggestion ever.
Brad twisted slightly to look over his shoulder, water droplets leaving expanding rings in the water as they dripped off his paddle. “Are you sure you don’t want to be up front? I’m sure my fat ass is blocking the view.”
“I’ve got the best view in the house. Fat ass and all.”
He had been joking, but something in her laughing tone made him reach around to feel his actual ass. It did feel larger and…squishier. The canoe seats were of course small, and some of his ass was hanging off the back. Before his injury, Brad had a strict jeans only policy. With his injury, he had switched to functional sweats. Which also held up well with his lightly expanding body. “Is my ass fat?” he demanded, craning his head. He yelped at the brief but sharp pinch that answered him. “Did you just pinch my fat ass?” the man demanded in an agast tone, turning another degree to give a scandalized glance at his partner.
“I did just pinch your fat ass,” his girlfriend confirmed with a hearty snigger, then flicked some water at him with a playful air.
“Be nice to the fat bits,” Brad reproved in an aggrieved tone, even as his traitorous dick began to shift in his loose pants at her saying the ‘f’ word. “They are tender and juicy.”
There was that new something again! It was either continue to paddle, and turn around and screw his hot girlfriend in the bottom of this rented canoe in broad daylight. With a grumble, he faced forward and put his back into it.
Working out in a gym had purely been for an effect on his physical body. There was no beauty or exhilaration. Paddling along companionably, Brad watched the sunlight dance on the small waves, listened to the leaves rustle, and felt the warm sunlight on the back of his neck. It felt absolutely fantastic to stretch and test his muscles, but soon he felt his shirt begin to dampen. “Hold on a sec,” he grunted as he put his paddle across his lap with one hand and tugged his shirt over the top of his head with his other hand. “Better,” he breathed, giving a light shiver as the wind licked at his damp skin. A choking sound had him turning around in alarm. “You ok, Viv?”
Holy hells she was beautiful. She had that skin that naturally darkened to a light olive in the sunlight. The edges of her teal bikini were visible around her lifejacket, and the light fabric clung to the cleft between her thighs enticingly. And Viv was staring at him like she wanted to lick him. “You should be wearing your lifejacket,” she croaked.
The words were decidedly unsexy, so he simply shrugged as he had at the dock. “It was too tight.” He eyed her carefully. “You ok? Not getting sunstroke?”
Her hair swing under her hat as she shook her head. “No, but you are going to need sunscreen if you are going to go topless.” Carefully placing her paddle in the bottom of the boat, she dug into their pack for a moment. When her hand came back up, it was holding the SP 50 sunscreen that she had demanded they bring along.
Grimacing, he hitched a shoulder. “Do you really have to? I hate that stuff.” It was greasy and wet and gross.
“Yes, I really do,” she retorted. “Now, if your lifejacket was on, I probably wouldn’t have to!”
He rolled his eyes, facing forward and feeling the boat rock as she slowly edged towards him. “Fine, go aheaaa…” If her warm little hands had felt nice, feeling her moisture slicked hands traversing his body was heavenly. He slouched into her touch and tilted his head back, allowing himself to vocalize his pleasure. “Don’t rush it, babe,” he murmured. “That feels so good.” The sunscreen felt warm and slick against his skin, and his recent gains made his skin extra pliable, moving fractionally after she had left an area.
“You seem to be spending an awful lot of time around my fat bits,” the former gym rat teased, unable to stop a smile as he felt her hands first tentatively, then boldly caress his budding love handles. When her hands slid across his belly, he moaned for two reasons. The first was that despite his previous assertions that he was not into gaining weight, those belly touches were a live wire right to his dick. The second was that his naughty girl had not only removed her lifejacket, but had scooped her bikini top below the swell of her breasts. He could tell, because her soft breasts were squishing and sliding over his freshly lubricated back. “Please tell me I get to do you next,” he rasped, turning one hundred and eighty degrees with equal care for his foot and the stability of the boat.
She giggled, and the boat rocked again as she turned her back on him. “Here you go,” and she held the bottle over her tanned shoulder.
It was startling to see how large his hands were against her petite body. When he put his thumbs together, his splayed fingers reached right around her sides onto her tummy. As a man, and as a muscular man, he was of course aware that he had to take care not to hurt her. Now, he felt buffoonishly large and clumsy as he slowly slathered the white cream across her soft skin. Sliding his thumbs just below the triangle of fabric barely covering her ass, he hummed his approval. Soft in all the right places. And her breathing seemed to say she liked it. The only problem was that if he didn’t get a hold of himself, he was going to have to throw himself into the lake to cool off.
The bottle itself was quite cool from being in the cooler, and an evil grin overtook him as he looked left and right. A hefty dollop landed right in her ample cleavage with his careful aim. Her indignant squawk subsided into a soft gasp as he reached around and began massaging her breasts under those tiny triangles. “Got to make sure I get all of you…wouldn’t want you to burn.”
The lean back in front of him arched at his husky tone, and she tiled her head back until his kissed her. “Ass.”
“Fat ass,” he supplied, feeling her teeth in a grin against his lips before she nipped lightly.
“…put on your lifejacket…” she whispered the non sequitur in a sultry tone that made him chuckle before she moved back to her seat.
“You know what? Fine. You win.” Facing her, he snagged the annoying fabric from the bottom of the boat and pulled it on. Lifejackets were hardly the most flattering of styles, and this one was truly too small for his broad chest or height. Or belly, he admitted as he tightened it more than strictly necessary. “Better?” he demanded with an arched brow and hands on his soft hips, fully aware that a high pressure roll of fat was now on display like a ring, forcing his love handles to squash out and his belly to sink towards his thighs. He looked absurd.
Viv inhaled sharply, nipples making a stark appearance against her top. “Ok, you win, take it off.”
“Victory!” he shouted, raising his arms above his head and laughing. Noting her eyes locking onto his soft middle, he snapped thick fingers. “Hey, eyes up top, sunshine. I’m not just a belly, you know.”
Her nostrils flared and her lips compressed in suppressed laughter. “Shut up, you! This canoe ride is going to take forever – don’t you want to eat? You better get rowing.”
And after food was the hotel room… Unsnapping his life jacket and tossing it to the floor, he began paddling with vigour. “Hell, yes!” he announced with glee, already salivating at the thought of fatty battered chips with the lightest tang of vinegar. The canoe seemed heavier than before, though. “Are you paddling, lazybones?” he demanded over his shoulder, eyes still ‘on the road’.
“Nu uh,” was the cheerful response, closer than it should have been. Before he had a chance to turn, her soft lips were against his neck, and her arms closed fiercely around him. “Just had to do this. Besides, if you are burning more calories, doesn’t that mean you get to eat more?” was the muffled yet teasing question that was posed into his back.
“That is the rule, isn’t it?” Holy hells, what had changed since Monday?