BHM Blackmailing Evan [BHM; FFA; Female Feeder; Slow Burn; XWG]

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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Blackmailing Evan
by EpicureanTaurus

Chapter 1:

Evan checked his phone for the third time in twenty minutes. Nothing. He had always hated waiting. What’s worse, the meeting he was stuck in wasn’t making the time pass any faster. Evan adjusted his posture to hide his impatience, and added another inscrutable note to the sheet of legal paper in front of him. He looked up--in case anyone had caught his lapse of attention--only to see several other associates at the table sharing his same glazed look. Funny, Evan thought, so many fancy suits in the same room, so many fancy law degrees, and still everyone’s as inattentive as a group of high schoolers in the last class of the day. Evan checked his phone again. A notification! Could it be her? His heart pounded against his chest.

“...But these representations are all standard, I assure you. The Myanmar property isn’t a liability in the slightest…” The lawyer on the conference call wavered slightly. Evan couldn’t tell if the voice on the other end was concerned, or if it was just fatigue from the hours-long call. Bruce Heatherington--an intimidating senior partner at the firm--leaned towards the conference speaker.

“It’s not that the representations aren’t standard,” Mr. Heatherington intoned, furrowing his eyebrows, “it’s that they’re lacking. We’ve had our best associates doing their due diligence, and they found that the Myanmar property was… how did you put it, Evan?”

Evan sat up with a jolt at the sound of his name. All eyes were on him. What had Mr. Heatherington just said? Evan slipped his phone back into his suit pocket, and opened his mouth as if to speak.

“Well, you see…” He began to stammer. Was that sweat on his brow?

“There’s no need to quote our own diligence back at us,” crackled the lawyer on the other end of the conference call, “we’ll draft an amended schedule and get it back by close of business tomorrow.” Saved by the bell, Evan sighed to himself.

And with some throat-clearing and paper-shuffling, the meeting was finally over. Associates and partners hustled back to their desks. The thrilling life of a corporate attorney. Boring as it was, it kept food on the table for Evan.

“Speaking of which…” Evan murmured to himself sotto voce. He fished his phone out of his suit pocket, and tapped the message notification. The message had no contact associated with it, just an ominous unknown number. He read every word with greedy eyes.

“Yes, Evan. I’ll write your hot little story for you. Skype me tonight so I can get a sense for who you are. You know, so I can tailor your story to you as a person. Not that you’ll fit in any tailoring when I’m done with you ;) - X” Evan felt hot around the collar. He exhaled sharply, and looked at his watch. 6:00 PM. He could easily make it home by 7:00, if he took the 1 train to the...

“Evan.” The voice carried the stern tone of a disappointed father. “I couldn’t help but notice that you seemed a little distracted during the call today.”

Evan froze and spun around. Sure enough, there was Mr. Heatherington in all his intimidating girth.

“I’m sorry, Sir. I’ve got a case coming up, and I guess I was preoccupied.”

Mr. Heatherington’s face changed completely, breaking into a chuckle and a gregarious smile.

“Ah! Say no more, say no more. The troubled mind of an associate. Just don’t let it happen again. And I’ll see you on the softball field this weekend; we need your throwing arm if we’re going to beat Bismarck & Lovetts!” He clapped Evan on the shoulder a broad hand, and strutted off to some corner office or another. Corporate softball. Perhaps the worst part of it all. Evan had always been an athlete, but one’s weekend should be spent without coworkers, he had always thought.

“What case?” A prim voice came from the presumed-to-be empty conference room, taking Evan by surprise for the third time this afternoon. He wheeled around again, and was slightly relieved. It was Amy. Amy was an associate, too; they had started in the same year, which fostered a healthy sense of camaraderie and competition. And, perhaps, something a little more….

“Amy, you gave me a scare there!” Evan exhaled, “I thought you were–”

“...Someone who’d call you out on your fib? I'm on every case you're on, and they're all months away from filing!" There was a devilish twinkle in her eye. Playful ribbing was uncommon among associates, but Evan and Amy took refuge in their harmless flirting. "Honestly, you were checking your phone like every twenty seconds. Who's got you so distracted?"

Evan grinned back. "That's for me to know, and for you to not worry yourself about."

"Casanova!" Amy teased, and then imitated Mr. Heatherington's boisterousness, "See you on the softball field, champ!" She clapped him on the shoulder, too, before smiling and heading back to her office.

Any other day, that interaction would've had Evan walking on sunshine. Today, however, he had other things on his mind. Secret things. Sexy things. Fattening things.

Evan felt himself getting hot and bothered again. This evening couldn't come soon enough.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 2:

After a maddeningly slow ride on the subway, Evan was home. Not a second too soon, Evan thought. He shut the apartment door, flung off his suit, got into a sensible--and slightly snug--t-shirt, and eagerly sat down on his couch.

He checked his watch. 7:30 PM. Was 7:30 "evening" enough for his texter? Evan caught his breath. He was going to do it. He was going to come the closest he'd ever come to living his sexual fantasy.

Evan had found "Ms. X"--that was her username, anyway--on a website catering to people with his fetish. Ugh. "Fetish" made it sound so vulgar. He had always called it his "fat little secret": that, despite his athleticism and lifestyle, he had always wanted someone to fatten him up, to shape his toned body into soft adipose, to relentlessly turn him into a genuine fatass. To take control.

He was, of course, more bold in fantasy than in practice. Evan had tried gaining once in college, and again in law school, but always felt too self-conscious to ever break into an overweight BMI. He had dated a girl once who he thought might have shared his “secret”, but they were both young and poor communicators, and the topic was never brought up. Evan resigned himself to the notion that fatness was best left in fantasy.

Which is how Evan found himself here. 27, sitting in his apartment alone, waiting to Skype a person who'd written the most fantastic fat erotica he'd ever read. Ms. X's work was consistently engaging, thoroughly well written, and sated Evan's hunger for fatness. Even better, she did commissions.

He had messaged Ms. X on the forum last night to commission a personalized story. One where he'd gain weight at the hands of an alluring, dominant feeder. He'd left his phone number and, as a good measure, an advance on the story through her cashapp.

"If Amy only knew who I was talking to…” Evan murmured to himself, logging on to skype. He had to struggle with his now-ingrained instinct to get a notepad ready. He wouldn’t need to take notes for this call. It was just for him.

A ping. A message popped up on the fetish website tab of his browser. He clicked on it, and scrolled to his profile. His own face--angular, with the carefree beginnings of a beard--stared back at him. He had initially felt leery about using a face pic, but this picture was really flattering. Plus, he thought, it might be why Ms. X responded to his commission request with such eagerness. He clicked on the message. Sure enough, it was Ms. X.

“Ready to begin? Just a heads up, I try to protect my privacy, so I’ll be voice calling you while you skype me. I hope you can respect that! - X.”

Evan felt a twinge of apprehension for putting his face on his profile. Most others--including Ms. X--had headless torso shots in various states of undress. Evan took a moment to look at Ms. X’s profile picture before responding. She looked to be svelte, with a toned body and killer curves. He was attracted to all sorts of people, and Ms. X was certainly no exception. Her profile read “Enabler, feeder, and lover of obedient fat boys.” That, too, was hot.

“Yeah! I’m on Skype now. That’s all good with me,” Evan replied in the chat, choosing not to focus on how aroused he was.

An instant later, his Skype tab pinged. Evan bunched his t-shirt behind him, so the fabric stretched taught across the little bit of fat covering his abs. He accepted the call. Showtime.

“Hi, Ms. X?” He said nervously. He was greeted with the static image of Ms. X’s profile picture on a black background. He saw his own video on the other half of the screen. He didn’t look half bad, in his own humble opinion.

“Nice to meet you, Evan.” A voice responded. It sounded somewhere between mellifluous and raspy, like Ms. X was trying to obscure her voice. “My, you certainly look a little fatter than your profile picture.”

Evan laughed nervously. “Yeah, I suppose that’s what sitting on one’s ass at work all day does to one’s body.”

“Perhaps…” Ms. X responded, “but perhaps it’s your subconscious desire to be fat coming through. But, enough with the compliments, let’s get down to business.”

“Ah. Yes.” Evan instinctively reached out of view towards the nearest legal pad, before stopping himself. “You see, I was hoping you’d write a slow-burn, weight gain, submission-and-domination story featuring me.” It was the first time he’d talked about his fat little secret out loud.

“That’s my job.” Ms. X’s skype icon glowed as she spoke. “And I’d say I can write a pretty accurate description of your face. It’s nice.”

“Just nice? Where’s the flowery language I read in Janet’s Revenge?” Evan goaded. The legal profession was full of those who suffered from an overly healthy ego. Evan shared that flaw.

“That flowery language comes in the story.” Evan’s heart sank. “...But since you’ve been so eager, especially with that little maneuver of wearing a tight shirt, I guess I’d describe your face as ‘Roman-esque, with artistic cheekbones and a strong jaw. Azure eyes and an aquiline nose. And the very handsome start of a beard.’”

He could feel himself blushing. “I can’t wait to read the story.”

“Oh, we’re not done. Stand up and take your shirt off.”

“Is that really necessary?” Evan hesitated.

“Yes, unless you don’t want me to have an accurate picture of your starting weight. And I’d appreciate not questioning my requests from here on out.”

Music to Evan’s ears. He stood up and disrobed.

“Hm. Classic ex-jock, I’d say,” Ms. X teased, “Strong shoulders and pecs, and I bet you even have abs under that soft little pooch of yours. Now turn around.”

Evan obliged, showing his backside to the laptop camera. He had always felt sexy in the jeans-without-a-shirt look. He’d always been proud of his butt, too. Evan braced himself for the impending description.

“Wow. I didn’t expect that ass on a used-to-be-fit white boy. In a word? Callipygian. In a shorter word? Stacked. In an even shorter word? Damn.”

“Imminently grabbable, I’ve been told by some,” Evan leaned into the flattery.

“And imminently about to be more grabbable.” Ms. X quipped. “You can sit down now. So, any other kinks I should know about?” Kink. That was a better word than “fetish,” Evan thought. “Kink” connoted foreplay, roleplay, and other fun little types of play. Not like “fetish,” which, for Evan, conjured an ignoble image of a 50-year-old man wanking into a shoe. He could work with “kink.”

“Well, I like dom/sub stuff,” Evan hesitated. “And, perhaps, if you could base it around blackmail? I’ve always found the idea kind of sexy; me being fattened, motivated by the threat of my ‘indiscretion’ being exposed…” He trailed off.

Silence. Had he said the wrong thing?

Thankfully, she broke the silence. “Funnily enough, I like that too. Thanks, Evan. You’ve been a good muse. I’ll be in touch. Oh, and try and eat something tonight--you’re looking positively malnourished.” Ms. X hung up before Evan could say goodbye.

That went better than expected, Evan thought, absentmindedly getting a protein shake out of the fridge. Now all he had to do was wait. He hated waiting.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 3:

The weekend had come and gone, and, mercifully, the Firm’s softball game had gone with it. Evan’s mantra while he pitched had been “Just two more games left in the season. Just two more games left in the season.” Now there was only one game left. And that, it seemed, had a chance of being rained out if the current weather pattern had held.

The rain lashed against Evan’s office windows. In sunny weather, he could see clear across the city. Evan didn’t mind the rain, though. It gave him a peaceful, meditative feeling. He paused, taking a brief reprieve from the memo he was writing to enjoy the sound. His pocket buzzed. His heart leapt.

Evan had tried to convince himself to forget the commission. If he put it out of his mind, he reasoned, he wouldn’t be plagued with giddy anticipation. The anticipation, he once read “is often more fun than actually getting it.” He tried to keep his cool. He’d check his phone in a little bit. No need to succumb to that urge right now.

Evan’s impulse control was perhaps as well-developed as his patience. He fumbled in his pocket, casual facade cast aside, and pulled out his phone. There, thank goodness, was a text from Ms. X.

“How’s it going?” It read, to Evan’s chagrin. Just three words? For three days of waiting? At this rate, he’d be retired by the time the first chapter arrived.

He decided to play it safe, and gave a three-word response from one Ms. X’s best-written stories. “Ravenous, and you?”

“That’s good to hear! And nice pull.” Her reply was almost instant. “Listen, I thought I should give you an update on the story…”

Evan smiled. This is what he’d been waiting for. “Can’t wait to hear it! You haven’t made me too fat yet, I take it?”

“No, not in the slightest, but that will change soon enough. I thought that you could help me write the story. You know, give me some inspiration ;)

The shadow of confusion passed across his face. What did she mean by that?

“Um, haha, wasn’t that what Friday’s Skype call was all about?” He texted, after some delay.

“In a way... It gave me an idea. Evan, you should put on a couple of pounds for me, so I can see what the extra weight would look like on your body.”

The thought excited him. But he couldn’t do that– He had suits to fit into, an image to maintain! Hell, a photographer was scheduled to take his picture for the firm website next week. This was out of the question.

“Haha, I’m flattered, but I’m going to have to decline.” He texted back.

“And what did I say about not questioning my requests? Let’s say ten pounds.” The messages were coming faster than Evan could comprehend. “I think that’d fill you out nicely. Unless all of it goes to your ass, as I suspect it might. If it does, then I’ll come up with a new number.”

Evan knitted his brows. “What do you mean ‘you’ll come up with a new number?’”

“It means, Evan, you’re going to get fatter for me. Much fatter.” An instant reply. “Unless, of course, you’d like for me to send our chat history, the screenshots of our skype session, and your commission request to everybody in your professional circle.”

The color drained from his face. “You’re blackmailing me?”

“Call it an exercise in collaborative nonfiction. I was getting tired of creative writing anyway.”

He reeled. Ms. X couldn’t do this. Yes, it was true; he wanted it. But every shred of his self-absorbed ego screamed no. He couldn’t become a fatass. No, more accurately; he couldn’t let someone turn him into a fatass.

Evan didn’t reply. He turned his phone over and set it on his desk. Just don’t engage, he told himself. Just don’t engage.

His phone buzzed again. He engaged.

“Well, if you’re going to ignore me, I guess I'll just show you that I mean business. Mushroom, sausage, and olive.”

What did that mean? That she “meant business?” And listing pizza toppings? Evan took some comfort in the nonsense of it all. If Ms. X was batty, then perhaps this whole thing was just an elaborate joke of some kind.

An hour passed. No messages came. Evan took each passing minute as a quiet victory that he had, in fact, been right about the whole thing. He relaxed. Ah, well. He wouldn’t get that story after all. But the whole interaction had been delightfully thrilling nonetheless. Perhaps it hadn’t been a total loss. There was a knock at his office door.

“Come in,” he muttered absentmindedly.

Amy eased the door open. Had she done something different with her hair? Something looked a little different about her. It might be the look of confusion on her face. In the year they’d worked together, he’d never seen Amy confused.

“Evan,” she said, “I think I got a text message that’s meant for you. Did you order an extra large pizza?”

Evan’s heart dropped into his stomach. “Uh, what?” He gulped.

“I got a text message that said that you’d ordered an extra large pizza, and that it’s been delivered downstairs. It was from a private number.” Amy paused pointedly. “Did you use my phone number to order it? That’s not cool, man.”

Evan was at a loss for words for a moment. He had to salvage this quickly. “Ah, I’m so sorry, that must’ve been my mistake. It won’t happen again!”

“Yeah, that’s a weird mistake to make,” Amy laughed, “try not to do that again. Once your number’s out there, it’s out there, you know?” She turned to leave.

“Amy?” Evan dreaded the answer to his question. “...Did they say what toppings were on the pizza?”

Amy checked her phone.

“Mushrooms, sausage, and olive. Good choice!” She smiled and left.

Evan felt hollow. Whoever Ms. X was, she knew how to contact his coworkers. She knew where he worked. And she knew his secret.

He felt his phone buzz. Hesitantly, he turned it over. It was as he feared.

“This one’s on me, but you’ll be getting your own food from here on out. You’ll be getting what I tell you, of course, but I expect you to be somewhat of a self-starter. And I’m adding three pounds to account for that disobedience. You’ve got a week. Thirteen pounds. Best get eating, big boy.”

Evan felt a wave of ambivalence. It looked like he’d be getting fat, after all.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 4:

Evan was proud of the fact that--in the entirety of his professional life--he had never missed a deadline. If he weren’t so perpetually smug about it, his peers might’ve been impressed by his dedication. His pride, then, made it so much harder for Evan to accept the fact that the week was almost up. He was nowhere near thirteen pounds heavier. Time to break his streak. How did he let it get to this point?

He had spent--in hindsight, frittered--the first day researching the legal defenses to blackmail. He was a lawyer, goddamnit, and he wouldn’t be caught with his pants down. Blackmail was extortion. It’s a crime! He could call the police! He could sue! Yet, he realized with sinking recognition, if he did that, the subject of the extortion would have to come out. Publicly. In court. In a profession where a well-intentioned rumor could scuttle a career, Evan shuddered to think what a full-blown scandal would do to him.

She had him. If Evan wanted to keep his fat little secret, then he’d have to comply. Was it even possible to comply? He wasted another half day on his laptop, in bed, researching the various rates of weight gain. Research comforted him. So did sleep.

As Evan woke on the second day, he drifted from denial to resignation. He called in sick for the day, opened his work laptop, and pulled up a food delivery app on his phone. He paused. Evan’s stomach did a little somersault, and blood pumped through his veins. What was this feeling? It wasn’t disappointment, or fear, or ennui--he had come to know those, courtesy of the corporate world. He felt as if he could run a marathon, or write a novel, or fly a kite. Could it be… excitement?

He fanned the little spark in his chest into a full-blown glow. This was literally the situation he’d been fantasizing about since college. Why not enjoy it? He took a moment to reflect. Then, he gave himself permission to succumb to his desires. Evan eagerly clicked on several restaurants in the app, ordering enough food for a small family. He could do this.

Over the next few days, he existed in a haze of sugar, laziness, and excess. Evan woke up early, ordered from two breakfast places, and stuffed his face while he worked from home. He lost track of how many lunches he had in a day, and how many times he dozed off with a donut in his hand. He felt his belly distend with hedonistic glee, gently rubbing his fingers into the soft underside. Sundown meant a transition to milkshakes--Evan’s achilles heel--and bulking supplements. Sleep, he assured himself, would take care of the rest.

The days blurred together, and the rainy weekend marched past. Monday dawned on Evan after an especially gluttonous night. Groggy and overfed, Evan rubbed his eyes and checked his phone. A text. He hadn’t gotten a text from Ms. X during the entire gluttonous week. Just last night, he had started to wonder if he had dreamed Ms. X up entirely.

His heart beat faster, and he looked down at his body. He was definitely softer, with the hint of love handles peeking over his boxer briefs. He prodded the lower part of his belly, and his fingertip only managed to sink to the first knuckle. That wouldn’t cut it. Evan had been doing his best, but there was no way that he had gained enough weight to satisfy Ms. X. His mind raced, trying to justify his failure. He was totally unequipped to deal with this. He turned to the message.

“Hey, Evan! I missed you at the office last week, but I’m glad to see you’ve kept up the pace from home. I wouldn’t expect any less. Hope you’re over your stomach bug!” It was Amy, thank goodness. She had a concise, almost formal way of writing texts that made Evan wonder whether she audited her own taxes.

“Hi! Yeah, I’m feeling a little better. I should be in tomorrow. I’ve got to say, the stomach’s not 100% right now.” He checked his text for typos, and sent it off. At least one part of that was true--he was still uncomfortably full from last night. Another notification. His stomach churned. It was her.

“Seven days, thirteen pounds. Let’s see how you did. Get on skype for me right now.”

Evan was a blur of motion. He tidied the part of his studio apartment in the view of his laptop’s webcam, combed his hair, and chose a shirt at random. He flipped open the laptop, and connected to skype. Sure enough, an incoming call. Ms. X’s icon stared at him. He accepted.

“Well, well, well…” Ms. X chided, her voice carrying the same strange affectation as before, “I see someone’s put on a little weight.”

Evan was midway between furrowing his brows and blushing uncontrollably when he looked down at his chest. He had inadvertently grabbed the same shirt that he wore on their first skype session. It was stretched taught across his belly and pecs, without the last week’s effort to bunch the fabric behind him. Had he really gotten that fat so quickly?

“Now, first, I’ve got to make a confession,” Ms. X said, “I gave you an impossible task. Even with your habitual need to please, you had no chance of success. But, I see, you certainly made some admirable strides. I’ll have to mark that down for your story.”

Evan composed himself. “Why’d you have me do that? If it’s impossible, then why–”

“Because I wanted to see how much you’d lean into it,” she interrupted, “and it seems you leaned into it with aplomb, judging by those love handles. I think you’ve got the starting of a little overhang, too.”

He looked at his belly again. Sure enough, she was right. A small ring of soft flesh peeked out from under the now-tight shirt, extending its way all the way around him.

“Stand up for me,” she commanded. Evan obeyed, and turned in place. “Ah, there you go, trying to please again. I didn’t ask you to turn. But I appreciate the view. You’ve certainly acquired more assets, Mr. Lawyer, if you know what I mean.”

He looked over his shoulder at his video on the skype screen. His ass definitely looked a little rounder, filling out the formerly loose fabric. If he squinted, he could almost see a crescent of underbutt peeking out from the legs of the boxers.

“I’ve got to appreciate a guy who fattens up so easily. And so eagerly, to boot. I’d say you’re easily seven or eight pounds fatter than when you first messaged me. I did that to you. You can sit down now.” He sat.

“Evan, do you know why I told you that the thirteen pounds was impossible?”

“No.” He responded honestly. It dawned on him that the smarter move would’ve been to not tell him, to hold it over his head, and ensure further performance.

“It’s because I want you to trust me. The more you trust me, the easier this all gets.”

“I see.”

“Good boy. Now, I’ll be texting you periodically. Your next target is 20 pounds by the end of the month. That’s entirely doable, so if you don’t meet expectations this time around, I’m afraid I’ll have to share your secret. Trust that I’ll do that.”

“Yes.” The hot flurry of excitement rose in Evan’s now-chubby gut.

“Evan, you’re going to get fat. You’re going to get as fat as I want you. And you and I both know that this is exactly what you want.” Ms. X chose each word with intense, deliberate focus.

“Yes, I understand,” he quickly replied.

“Yes, you understand, ma’am,” Ms. X corrected, with the same intensity.

“Yes, I understand, ma’am.”
Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 5:

It’s remarkable how few people you see in a law office. When Evan was still in law school, he had imagined that corporate attorneys would scutter like bees around the dark, wood-paneled halls of their steel and glass towers. True, there were times like that. The end of the billing cycle--usually a Friday in late November--was especially hectic. Sallow-cheeked associates would throng the halls, hoping to garner some last-minute attention before their reviews were submitted. It being April, however, and early on a Tuesday morning, Evan felt confident he could slip into the office unseen. Under normal circumstances, he’d slink in only if he was avoiding a certain partner. This, though, was not a normal circumstance.

Most law firms had a strict dress code. Though he couldn’t recite it off the top of his head, Evan was pretty certain his firm’s dress code frowned on straining buttons and ill-fitting pants. He’d woken up that morning to another text from Ms. X, demanding to see his wardrobe, and letting her pick the outfit he was to wear. Of course she’d chosen an outfit which was already getting tight, even before Evan’s week of hedonistic submission.

She’d picked a salmon dress shirt, one of Evan’s favorites in college, and a pair of stupefyingly tight slacks. Evan could hear the creak of the thigh seams when he reached to tuck in his shirt. What’s worse, Evan’s new chubbiness pushed the dress shirt’s buttons to their limit. Between each button, he could see a painfully obvious white rhombus of undershirt. If only she had been so merciful to pick out a tie. Alas, she “wanted the world to see how fat he was getting.” No tie for him, then.

He peeked his head around the elevator bay to scope out the hallway. Nobody. It was around thirty feet to his office; he just had to move quickly. Evan minced with short steps, not wanting to split a seam. Perhaps this is how a roll of cookie dough feels all the time, he thought to himself. Or one of those deli sandwiches wrapped up in paper. That reminded him, he should probably add both of those to his shopping list. How on earth was he going to gain 20 pounds in a month?

“Um, Mr. Hughes?”

He’d been caught. It must be Steven, his assistant, who would infuriatingly call Evan by his last name. Evan never cared for his surname. Like the clothes clinging to dear life around his now-pudgy middle, Evan felt that “Mr. Evan H. Hughes” was an uncomfortable fit. When you’re an Evan H. Hughes, esquire, from a long line of Evan H. Hughes, esquires, you feel less like a participant in life, and more like a trophy on a very long, dusty mantle. You also realize why your dad wasn’t home much. Too busy working.

Evan put on his best I’m-a-busy-attorney-in-a-rush face. He’d had plenty of practice, after all. “Yes, Steven, good morning. What’s up?” He turned around to face his captor. If you put a tie and a pair of googly eyes on a mop, you’d have a good approximation for what Steven looked like. Some poets might call him willowy. Others, after a few drinks, would call him a beanpole.

“Mr. Hughes!” It was hard to gage Steven’s surprise. Evan couldn’t tell if Steven had been taken aback by Evan’s chilly tone, or the visible gut he was now sporting. Steven’s drifting eyes confirmed the latter.

“Yes?” Evan was embarrassed, but he kept up the facade of an overworked boss.

“Glad to see you’re better,” Steven stammered, “I had to reschedule your appointment with the photographer, as you missed it last week.”

“Very well,” Evan did his best to invoke the polite brusqueness of Mr. Heatherington, “but I’m swamped. If you could postpone the shoot until Friday, I’d appreciate it.”

Steven nodded, and began to walk to his desk.

“Oh, and Steven?” Evan called after him.

“Yes, Mr. Hughes?”

“If you could run out and get me some breakfast, I’m starving. I saw that Bodega on 51st was having a special on donuts. Could you pick me up a box to share?” It was a lie, of course, Evan was not starving. Nor would he be sharing.

“Yes, Mr. Hughes.” Steven moved with surprising agility. For all Evan didn’t like his obsequence, Steven sure took orders well. Evan wondered if Ms. X thought the same thing about him. Absentmindedly, he toyed with the idea of karma and power dynamics. Maybe this was his just deserts. He wouldn’t dignify the pun with a second thought.

He opened the door to his office, only to be met with the universal harbinger of doom for associates: A blinking red light on his work phone. Two missed messages. From the same number. Was it HR, telling him that Ms. X had divulged everything? That he’d be packing the photos on his desk into a cardboard box?

“Hi, Evan. Bruce here. If, when you get in today, you could come up to my office, I’d appreciate it.” Called into Mr. Heatherington’s office. This might be just as bad as Evan had anticipated. He scrambled to get ready while the second message played.

“Evan. Bruce again. Just thought I might’ve sounded a little ominous. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble, but it is some bad news, I’m afraid. See you soon.” The phone clicked. Evan couldn’t tell if he should be nervous or not. They always tell you not to worry--that you aren’t in trouble--when you are. It was a hallmark law firm move.

The elevator ride up to the 42nd floor seemed longer than physically possible. Evan tried to conceal the soft bulge of his belly by carrying a legal pad. Nobody questions why you’re carrying a legal pad. The door slid open to a chilly hallway. Evan half-heartedly remembered a past girlfriend joking about how all lawyers were cold-blooded. He regretted that his new insulation didn’t protect him. Evan knocked on the frosted glass of Mr. Heatherington’s office.

“Come in. Ah, Evan. Glad to see you’re here earl--” Mr. Heatherington was seated at his desk, and had been going over a brief with a red pen. “Bruce” was a large man, easily 260 pounds, with elegantly styled grey hair and an impeccably trimmed beard. Santa gone corporate, Evan had once heard somebody joke. Mr. Heatherington stopped mid sentence when he saw Evan.

“Glad to see you’re doing better. Listen, Evan, I thought I should break the news to you personally.” Evan braced himself. You didn’t speak until a partner asked for your input. He wasn’t going to break training now.

“I know I’d promised to put you as the starting pitcher for the last game of the season, but I’m afraid Greg Bartlett from Dickinson & Spalding just called. They’ve got a all-hands-on-deck deal, and they’re going to have to cancel for next week. They threw the game. Sorry to disappoint, champ.”

What the fuck? That’s why he called Evan up? Evan searched for words that wouldn’t be confrontational… “Sorry to hear that, Mr. Heatherington. There’s always next year, right?”

“Hm.” Mr. Heatherington replied, and trained his stare on Evan, looking him up and down. He tapped his red pen on the table, as if he were choosing his words carefully, then capped it. He heaved himself up. “Evan,” he said, peering over the top of his designer glasses, “are you doing ok?”


“It’s a stressful job, I know, and it only gets worse. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and all.” Evan felt like he was about to get ‘the talk’ from his dad.

“We all have our vices,” monologued Mr. Heatherington, “we’ve got to indulge, if we’re to keep our heads above water here. Some drink, some do coke, some gamble, some eat…” He delivered a knowing glance to Evan’s waistline. Evan felt his heart thump.

“But moderation in all things, right? That’s the secret!” He laughed and clapped Evan on the shoulder. Evan was contemplating naming a jarring switch of emotions “pulling a Bruce” as an homage to Mr. Heatherington’s signature move.

“You get what I’m saying?” Mr. Heatherington pulled another Bruce, and gave Evan a serious look. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s good, because I want you in fighting shape for next year. You can leave the door open on your way out.” The classic partner goodbye.

Round could arguably be a “fighting shape.” Evan went back downstairs to do battle with some donuts.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 6:

“If I did anything to offend you, I’m sorry. This job’s really isolating, and I miss having a friend to talk to in the office.”

Evan stared at the text, too groggy to think of all the ways he shouldn’t respond to Amy. He could see where she was coming from. She was smart, and obviously noticed the fact that Evan had stayed out of her sight since the beginning of the month. “Sorry, I’ve been really busy?” True, but too chilly. “I totally get you, I’ve just been working on me a lot right now?” He’d seen better platitudes in fortune cookies. “Yeah, sorry, I’m avoiding you because I’ve gained eighteen pounds in the last three weeks, none of my clothes fit me anymore, and I don’t want you to have a heart attack when you see me, because I think you’re pretty cool?” Too honest.

He started writing a reply, but found himself deleting every attempt. 6:00 in the morning. It was too early for candor. Too late to go back to sleep, too; his alarm would be going off in thirty minutes. What was she doing texting him so early? Shifting the blame always helped a guilty conscience.

Evan hoisted himself out of bed. The act had gotten a little harder over the past few weeks, for some reason. He tut-tutted himself for feigning ignorance. He had gotten fat, that’s why it was harder. Evan’s sleep shirt rode up on his belly, which softly heaved from his exertion. If he had seen what his ass looked like, straining against the fabric of his sweatpants, he probably would’ve felt a little more awake.

His bathroom was neat, as was to be expected. Evan had always made an effort to keep his spaces presentable. As a child, he was told that one’s tidiness reflected on one’s person. Image matters; best foot forward; chin up. The rest of his mother’s aphorisms rattled off like a tiny drill sergeant in his skull. Evan looked in the mirror, ready to trim his beard. “Chins up” would be more appropriate now.

Evan’s jawline could still be seen, if you squinted. Strong as it was, it was losing the battle to his growing cheeks and plump under-chin. The trimmed beard--though eager to rally and fight for his jaw--could only do so much. Plus, the cheeks would be getting reinforcements soon enough. There was a pun in there somewhere. Something about “flanking” or “the Battle of the Bulge.” He was too tired to be clever right now. The changes to Evan’s face gave him a cherubic friendliness, even with the grim bags under his eyes.

He should thank his job for the lack of sleep, he supposed. All the research he’d done had suggested that inconsistent sleep, along with a healthy calorie surplus, sped up weight gain. Between that, the constant food delivery, and the sedentary desk-life, Evan’s job was fattening him up just much as Ms. X was. Just two days until the month was up. Every night, after getting home, he’d stuff himself with thousands of extra calories of carbs, fat, and sugar. Since his talk with Mr. Heatherington, Evan had felt a little more conflicted about gorging himself. Lucky for Ms. X, stress helped with weight gain, too.

He should be enjoying this more, damnit. He was solidly overweight for the first time in his life. He should be ecstatic, grabbing the new soft heft of his belly; noting the pleasing spread of his thighs covering his chair. Why was he conflicted? His thoughts went back to Amy, and shame bubbled up. He hadn’t been honest. Sneaking around and getting fat at the whim of a feeder was one thing, but ghosting a friend was an entirely different matter. Amy was more than that to him, too. He owed her a visit. The jury was out on whether he owed her an explanation.

Evan got ready for work and drafted his text to Amy. After several revisions, he was satisfied. He may be a blackmailed feedee, but he was a human with human relationships. Here goes nothing.

“Omg, I’m really sorry about that. No, you haven’t done anything. I could blame it on work, but I think I’m partially to blame, too. Let’s get lunch today and reconnect! How’s the cafe on 60th sound?” His pudgy thumb sent the message into the ether. He’d ordered from the cafe only yesterday. He had also ordered from the cafe on 48th, and the other cafe on Columbus. No wonder the weight was catching up to him.

“Perfect! Meet you there at 1:00 sharp. :)” She responded far too quickly for a pre-dawn text. She’d definitely make partner some day. Evan was about to confirm, when his phone buzzed again.

“Ayyyy, fat boy, how’re you doing?” Three guesses who that was. “I’ve got some bad news, something’s come up, and I can’t do the weigh-in as scheduled.” Evan felt a mix of relief and disappointment. It was hard to tell which feeling was winning out. Another buzz.

“So I’ve decided to move the deadline up. I’ll be seeing you tonight, Evan. You have until midnight. Twenty pounds, or, along with being an ex-jock, you’ll be an ex-lawyer. ;)

Evan’s mouth opened and closed in silent protest. She couldn’t do that! It’s impossible to put on two pounds in a day! He reeled, realizing that he’d have to eat more today than he’d eaten yesterday. No small task, when he had to rub his softening belly every thirty minutes to quell the stomachache from yesterday’s indulgence. Panicked, he looked around his studio apartment, as if he’d find a missed pint of ice cream to help him make weight. No such luck. He’d demolished his entire stock.

He was going to have to do it somehow. Ms. X held the reins.

Lunch with Amy was certainly going to be memorable.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 7: [Part 1 of 2]

The cafe had been featured in some 90’s romcom or another. Evan hadn’t seen the full film. He had caught the second half of it once, flickering in the background while he pulled an all-nighter. It was probably about missed connections or misunderstandings, and was punctuated with a reconciliation. The title eluded him.

The cafe, however, was proud of its part in cinematic history. The restaurant's steps usually had at least one tourist taking a photo next to a gauche “As seen in…!” poster. Nearly every corner of the city had been in a movie. But for a cafe to survive nearly thirty years? That was impressive.

Evan arrived an hour early to lunch. He shouldered past a gaggle of tourists who were crowding the stairs. He would’ve felt guilty, but they were here for the photo op, and he was occupied with other things. Strangely enough, he wasn’t too worried about the twenty pounds. He’d gotten a head start that morning, and was already at a calorie surplus for the day. Evan had graciously rescued some donuts, breakfast sandwiches, and a bulking shake from languid unappreciation. He wasn’t full. Ms. X was definitely having an effect on him.

No, Evan was thinking about work. Earlier that day, he had got a call from a potential pro bono client. “Pro bono,” Mr. Heatherington had once menacingly joked, “is Latin for ‘take the case, put in the effort, but prioritize clients who actually pay you.’” Something must’ve been lost in translation. For Evan and other dewy-eyed greenhorns, pro bono cases were the reason you became a lawyer. Stories weren't written about the heroic attorney who defended the poor corporate bank from government regulation. Moreover, pro bono cases were actually interesting. Take his client, for example: A millennial-run bakery facing a city fine for advertising cookies with elegantly-piped profanity. Maybe he could be paid in baked goods.

He brought his laptop to the french cafe table. Evan was glad something was distracting him from the ponderous fullness pressing against his dress shirt. He had several tabs of legal research open, and started scrolling through possible precedent. Was the “fuck”-bakery a commercial speech case, or a profanity case?

“Hi! I’m Taylor, and I’ll be serving you today. Anything I can start you off with?” It was a cheery voice; a welcome change for Evan, and an anomaly in the city. He closed his laptop, and gave Taylor a beleaguered smile. Always be polite to people in the restaurant industry, he thought, especially if you’re going to be keeping them busy.

“Hey, Taylor. Thanks, and I’m sorry in advance; I’m going to be meeting a friend here in an hour, and I’m trying to get some work done in the meantime. I’m famished though.” Evan wondered if there was a feedist Pinocchio whose stomach would grow if he lied. “Could you start me off with a milkshake and a sandwich? Dealer’s choice.”

“Sure thing, thanks for the heads up!” Taylor’s response was sprightly. Evan was suddenly aware of how heavy he was getting; how his butt slightly overlapped the edge of the tiny seat. A little wave of excitement warmed his insides.

You can measure time the boring way, the depressing way, or the exciting way. One hour. Two pages of legal writing. Three milkshakes and a sandwich. No matter the metric, time flew for Evan. He was so engrossed in his progress, he was genuinely surprised when he felt the hand on his shoulder. He turned around as quick as his added chubbiness would allow.

“Evan? Oh my god, hi!” Amy seemed genuinely happy to see him, though he could detect an undercurrent of surprise. Weariness, too.

Evan hoisted himself up and smiled at her. “Amy! Long time no see. Wow, your hair! I like it!” Amy’s hair was now a vivid blue. It was the first time Evan had seen a corporate attorney with blue hair. Amy looked no less professional, and her suit was as sharp as her wit.

“Thanks, this month’s sucked, and I needed a change.” She glanced at Evan’s newfound softness. She probed. “How’ve you been?”

“Stressed, overworked, underfed,” he joked, “you know the deal.” Evan took his seat. So did Amy. “Hey, jokes aside, I’m really sorry I’ve been scarce.”

Amy met his gaze. She looked right through him. “I’d say it’s alright. It’s been lonely going, recently. Not much to look forward to.” Her voice sounded a little hollow.

“That sucks, and I’m sorry for my part in it. Want to talk about it?” He closed his laptop and gave her his full attention.

“Yeah. I just feel guilty, you know?” Amy opened the floodgates. “Every day, I wake up at five, bust my ass for some client who’s deforesting the Amazon, get yelled at by partners until midnight, and go to bed. Nothing I do matters. Nothing I do helps people. There’s no control.”

Evan knew the melange of feelings. Yeah, the pay was good, but Evan, Amy, and every other associate on the block was around $200k deep in law school debt. “I got you,” he sighed. Evan relaxed some, and inadvertently stopped sucking in his gut. He could be genuine around Amy. “You know, in a fucked up kind of way, I think the firm likes that. If we’re guilty and alone, we work harder to save ourselves. Desperation’s productive.”

“Tell that to my billable hours,” Amy sighed. “You know, I probably should apologize, too. For a lot. I didn’t reach out to you until today, so I shouldn’t be blaming you.”

“We both sort of let things slip. I’ll do better on my end.” A goofy sort of smile gamboled across his round face. “Hey, if we stick together, maybe we can skip this firm and open our own place? ‘Hughes & Ferrera’ has a catchy ring to it. We could do some actual good.”

Amy looked up. “You joke, but I think about that on the daily. You’ve got yourself a partner, Evan.” They shared a laugh for the first time in a month. It was a hopeful laugh, tinged with the sad pragmatism of how unrealistic their dream was. The silence after the laugh was telling.

Taylor saved the mood with impeccable timing. “Hi! I’m Taylor, and you must be Evan’s friend. Anything I can get you?”

Amy smiled. Evan liked that she was polite to servers. “Hey! Thanks! I’d like the goat cheese and arugula salad with a glass of water.” She paused, eyeing the empty milkshake glass. “And Evan’d like a refill on whatever he just had.”

“Gotcha!” How was it possible for someone to be that full of vigor? Evan suspected that there must be some turmoil under the surface. We’re all fighting our own secret battles in this city. He disliked how cynical he was getting.

“You and Taylor are on a first name basis!” Amy teasingly raised her eyebrows. “Is Taylor the mystery person you were texting at the Myanmar meeting?”

“Good memory,” Evan blushed, “but no. Taylor has been taking care of me, though.”

“Evidently.” Amy looked at the empty glasses and plates. She paused a moment, formulating a thought. “Hey, Evan? I’ve been meaning to tell you…” She stopped herself.

“I’m all ears.” Evan popped an antacid and an appetite stimulant. Usually, mixing medication was prozac and wine. That was tomorrow. Today, he had to fortify his gluttony.

“Well, I’ve also been feeling guilty about something personal. You know I respect you, right?”

“And I you.” He swallowed.

She inhaled, gathering courage. “It’s, um--”

“Hey! Here y'all go. Sorry, but we’re out of the goat cheese. I took a chance and substituted for feta.” Taylor had returned with more than was asked for. “We’ve still got water, though! I brought an extra milkshake to make up for it, on the house.” Taylor set the food down and vanished like a pixie.

“Sorry, what were you saying?” Evan tried to rescue the conversation.

“Never mind. Now’s probably not the time.” Evan didn’t push it. “You know I’m not going to drink this milkshake, right?”

“Are you sure?” Evan questioned, “we’d be missing our opportunity to reenact a Norman Rockwell painting.”

“Ew.” She wrinkled her nose. “I don’t think any self-respecting woman would want to return to the ‘50s.”

Evan laughed and made the universal gesture for “send it over, I’ll take care of it.” She pushed the milkshake across the table.
Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
[Part 2 of 2]

The lunch flew by, and Evan could feel their friendship healing. They traded smiles, laughs, and what little gossip there was to share. If only it could last longer. Taylor arrived with the check.

“...And he told you to lose weight?” Amy gaped. “First, that’s rich, coming from him. Second, that’s totally not his place to say.”

“I know, right? And I couldn’t say anything, because he didn’t outright tell me, he just strongly alluded to it.” Evan finished the second milkshake. “Although I guess he has a point.” He shrugged and patted his now-substantial belly.

“Stress does crazy things. We’ve all been there,” said Amy. “But if he pulled that shit with me, I’d give my two weeks’ notice then and there.”

“Well, if you end up quitting the firm before me,” Evan stifled a burp, “I could bill this lunch to ‘external attorney relations.’ Pleasure to do business with you, Ms. Ferrera” Evan took the check and tipped Taylor accordingly. He felt absolutely huge.

“The pleasure is mine, Mr. Hughes,” joked Amy, getting up from the table.

“Please, it’s Evan.” He laughed, heaving himself up. He’d be lucky if he didn’t pop a button. Amy took him by surprise, and gave him a goodbye hug. He felt her small body sink into his softness. He felt warm butterflies in his widening belly. Amy pulled away after too short a time.

“Um, sorry, that probably wasn’t very professional,” Amy shook her head. “But I had a great time today. Listen, I gotta run, but catch you at the office later?”

“No worries, it's good!” Evan tried to assuage her embarrassment. She had not misread the situation, in his view. “And yeah. Text me if you see Mr. Heatherington on the prowl!” They laughed again, and she was gone.

Back to reality. Client meetings at 3:00, memos at 5:00, fattened by a mystery woman at midnight. What a day.

A buzz. Evan couldn’t tell whether he was hoping it was Amy or Ms. X.

“See you tonight, my fattened bachelor.”

Well, it certainly wasn’t Amy.
Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 8:

Evan loved words. Growing up, he had a voracious appetite for books. Baldwin and Faulkner had kept him company on lonely playgrounds. In the afternoons, he’d go running with gerunds and play with verbs. Words, he thought, were like people. Full of potential and myriad meaning. Comforting. Sometimes two-faced. So when Evan felt that he did not have the words to describe how full he was, he knew he was in uncharted waters. Then again, it was hard to think when you were mostly nude, trying to position your laptop’s camera to fit your widening hips in the frame, and taking orders from a mysterious online feeder.

The hours leading up to midnight were some of Evan’s most exciting. It felt almost like a ritual. He donned his tightest vestments, and took his sacrament of wine and another appetite stimulant. Ceremonial fasting was not part of this religion. Ms. X had texted him again, earlier in the evening, and instructed him to have food on hand. More reagents to transubstantiate. Evan lit his candles and dimmed the lights. He wondered whether one could be both priest and sacrifice.

“Ready or not, here I come.” Her skype message pumped adrenaline through his veins. This is it. He took a deep breath, leaned forward, and accepted the call.

“Hello, my growing lawyer.” Her voice was husky and controlled, but reminded Evan of something. It must be the universal language of anticipation. “My, my, Evan. It seems as though you’ve gotten a little thicker around the middle.” She laughed a laugh that didn’t quite match her throaty voice. “Disrobe, big boy. Let’s see you.”

Evan had learned that prompt obedience was rewarded. He unbuttoned his shirt, and pulled his undershirt up over his head. He could feel his belly and love handles jiggle with the effort.

“Stop.” He obeyed. Evan looked at himself in the soft glow of his laptop screen. His tight pants cut into his waist, and his doughy curves overflowed. He couldn’t help but hold his soft lower belly with a caring hand.

“You’re admiring your gut right now. Yes, it’s lovely. Could use more cushion, I think.” Evan caught his breath in excitement. “But let me redirect your attention to your chest. Look how soft it is. I’d love nothing more than to lay my head on you, cup my hand over your nipple, and listen to your heart beat faster in ecstasy.”

For a moment, he forgot that Ms. X was blackmailing him. He and she were intimate accomplices to the world’s most racy, desirable crime.

“Lose the pants. I want to see all of you.” Nothing was more natural. Before he could realize it, he had unbuckled his belt, folded the slacks, and preciously placed them to the side.

“Wow. I had predicted you’d be bottom-heavy, and you have yet to disappoint me.” Evan became keenly aware of how thick his legs had gotten.

“Turn.” He turned. “And that ass. The textbook bubble-butt. I’ve never been more proud of my work. What I’d give to grab a handful.” He could hear her breath come sharper and more rapidly.

“Get on the scale.” It was just out of the frame, menacingly chrome against his dark hardwood floor. Per her instructions, he had zeroed the scale at the start of the month. Every time he stepped on, he could see the exact number of pounds Ms. X had added to his formerly fit frame. Which was a good thing; lawyers are infamously bad with numbers.

He picked up his laptop, adjusted it to show the scale’s blank digital face, and gingerly stepped on. Had he always had such a tough time seeing his toes? He held his breath. Here’s hoping, he thought, that the day’s binging was enough to get him to twenty pounds.

The scale registered. Numbers, in Evan’s opinion, could not be as sexy as words. They were unfeeling. They did not entertain flattery. They could not lie. This time, though, numbers gave words a run for their money.

“Twenty two.” The words seemed to catch in Ms. X’s throat, fighting for a place against pride and surprise. “Credit where credit is due, Evan. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you enjoyed getting fatter for me.”

He only half-heard her. Evan was thinking about all the luxuries he’d consumed that day in hopes to please her. He had overshot his target. He bit his lip. Perhaps he was enjoying this too much.

There was too long of a pause. “Hold on. Give me a minute.” She muted her microphone. What was she doing? Evan had not been told to sit yet, so he remained standing. His phone vibrated. She must have sent him something. Evan checked the message.

“Hey, can we talk? It’s kind of important.” A single line of text.

Amy. For the first time in the night, he felt a twinge of shame. He couldn’t end Ms. X’s session early: the stakes were too high. He trusted her on that.

“Now’s not really a good time. Lunch tomorrow?” He felt bad for lying, but he could only imagine what Amy’d feel if Ms. X shared his indiscretion. Pick the lesser of two evils, he once read. He sent the text. He didn’t like how naturally he rationalized his actions. Another unexpected consequence of working in the law. Amy didn’t respond.

Minutes passed without Ms. X’s words, but Evan knew better than to move or sit. Finally, her icon glowed again. “Check your phone.” Sure enough, another buzz. A text message with an attachment. He opened it.

His own face stared back at him. Three times. A narcissist’s dream. The picture was a composite image of three screenshots. So she was good with composite images as well as words, he thought to himself. He was ravenous for any snippet of information he could deduce about his feeder.

On the left third of the picture, there was Evan, lithe and trim. It was taken on the night he unwittingly gave himself to Ms. X. How angular his face was. Were those his ribs? Written in elegant script across the bottom of the pane was “Evan: +0 pounds.”

Evan’s hungry eyes moved across the image. The middle picture was of him after succumbing to Ms. X’s demands. For some reason, the term ‘pleasantly plump’ wouldn’t leave his head. “Evan: +8 pounds.”

The third image was both familiar and jarring. Him. That night. It was almost artistic, the way the image captured him looking down at his soft, curving belly. His beatific expression--and the gentle caress he gave his gut--vaguely reminded Evan of a Waterhouse painting. The text took him by surprise. “Evan: + 30 pounds.”

Thirty pounds. He hadn’t really considered the gravity of it all. Evan faintly remembered nights where he’d pleasure himself at the thought of gaining twenty.

“Indulgence suits you, Evan.” Every time she said his name, she stroked his libido. He was hers with every syllable. “Which makes me wonder. I’d like to suggest something, if you trust me.”

His mind snapped to attention. She had given him agency. His reward for his trust.

“I’d like to feed you in person.” She seemed cautious, but tempted, like a cunning predator approaching bait. “I want to feel your softness. Your warmth. Your growth under my hands. Would you allow me to do that?”

He brimmed with flirty confidence. “I thought you’d never ask.” Evan flushed with excitement.

“Better to ask than command. I want both of us to enjoy this.” She had a gift for repartee. “When would you like me to fatten you?”

Evan’s response surprised even him. “Tomorrow night.” The words came out before he could think about them. “Please,” he added. Compliance had gotten him this far, anyway.

“I can work with that. But until then, give me a glimpse of your appetites.” She spoke deliberately, toying with him. The commanding tone had returned to her voice. Evan glanced at the excess of food he gathered for tonight. His eyes widened in Pavlovian anticipation.

“Eat up, handsome.”

She didn’t have to tell him twice.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 9 [Part 1/2]:

Amy never responded. If there were more friends in Evan’s life, perhaps he wouldn’t have felt so conflicted. He had once--in college, anyway--had an active social circle. Friends who’d sit with him around a bonfire, welcome the dusk, and watch the fireflies. One of his friends, Jason, once said that he pitied fireflies; that they were the loneliest creatures. Evan wasn’t quite sure what Jason had meant. It disquieted him. What had happened to Jason, anyway? Back then, they were inseparable.

He swiped down on his phone’s message screen to refresh the feed. Nothing. Well, a work email, but nothing from Amy. Evan rubbed his eyes in exhaustion. Maybe Jason had meant that fireflies burn themselves in attempts to be seen. But that’s not how fireflies work.

He hoped she was alright. Depression was corporate law’s most reliable disciple. As an associate, depression either burned you out, or hollowed you out. If it was gracious enough to do the former, you might have a chance at happiness after you quit. The latter? You became a partner. Evan refreshed again. Fireflies also did the same thing over and over, hoping for a spark of connection. He winced. That thought hit too close to home.

It was well into the afternoon, and the trees cast long shadows through the cafe windows. Evan had hoped Amy would show up; that she had meant to respond; that she was running late. He added explanations to keep himself there. She couldn’t be this busy on a Friday afternoon. He should have talked with her last night. Did he betray her vulnerability? Distracted, he grabbed the straw of his second milkshake and drank. Taylor had sensed Evan’s malaise and kept him well-supplied. He was becoming a nervous eater. “We all have to indulge our vices,” Evan absentmindedly muttered, misquoting Mr. Heatherington. He paused before refreshing again. Instead, he clicked on Ms. X’s text message from this morning.

If Evan waited any more, he might be cutting it close. Ms. X’s directions--sent at the witching hour--were painfully direct. So direct, in fact, that in his bleary post-digestive torpor, he had momentarily confused them for a text from a partner. The shock was better than any cup of coffee.

“Step One: Be at your apartment thirty minutes before sundown. Keep your door unlocked.” Simple enough, though he wondered why Ms. X would choose “sundown.” It was archaic and mysterious. Somehow, he thought, it must be a clue to her identity. A poet? A novelist? A vampire? Evan managed a half-hearted smile. Ah, so he could cheer himself up. Even despite disappointing Amy.

“Step Two: Disrobe to your level of comfort. Sit in a chair facing away from the door.” What did that mean? He was almost certain she’d want to see his belly. But he didn’t want to make it weird. He caught himself. She’s blackmailing me, fattening me, and I’m worried about being the one to make it weird? That’s it. Evan resolved to claw back some agency.

“Step Three: Blindfold yourself. Keep your hands behind the chair. Wait for me. Be hungry.” The glint of a plan turned in Evan’s mind. Perhaps, even, a way to even the playing field.


The sun sank, turning a blind eye to Evan’s indiscretion. As directed, he had pulled a sturdy wooden chair into the center of the room, and faced it away from the door. He had taken off his dress shirt and folded it neatly on his table. Next to it, he had suggestively placed a pair of gold-colored handcuffs. You know, just in case Ms. X needed them. They had been gifted to him as a prank. That’s what he told visitors, anyways.

He took his seat, and glanced out his window. The sun was nearly gone. She would be arriving soon. Evan looked down at himself. His belly, soft and round, gently rested on his thick thighs. It rose and fell with his breath. He could faintly see his heartbeat in the jiggle of his cushioned chest. Yes, keeping the slacks on was a good idea. The belt certainly added to his fantastic contrast. As far as Ms. X knew, this was the last thing he’d see that night. Evan had different plans.

In Evan’s line of work, one was encouraged to follow the letter of the law. That was enough to please everybody. The spirit of the law, on the other hand, was up to one’s artistic interpretation. Oh, he’d blindfold himself, all right. He had chosen a silk tie from his wardrobe. Silk, he reasoned, could easily slip. Especially if he tied it loose.

He had to find out who Ms. X was tonight. Some said vengeance is sweet. Others say it’s a dish best served cold. Evan thought that the two points could be reconciled, if you presumed vengeance was a dessert. He’d have to savor his dinner first.

Evan wrapped the black silk around his head. Darkness. How long could he wait? The turning of a doorknob. A cautious creak.

She was here.

He heard her hang her jacket next to the light switch. Heels clacked across his hardwood floor. His will relinquished itself to the delicious scent of home-cooked food. Lust. Evan had never anticipated such lust.

It seemed like eternity before she touched him. He felt a small, cold hand on his shoulder. A single finger traced its way around the softening nape of his neck, down to his chest. There, it paused, before descending to his fattened gut. It made a small circle around his deep belly button, then smoothly grabbed a handful of his fat. She gave him an approving pat. Somehow, Evan knew he wasn’t supposed to speak. This was going to be an exercise in the senses; a hedonistic dance. She moved behind him and felt the roundness of his ass, slowly squeezing him on both sides. Then, her hands were gone. His wrists, which he obediently held behind the chair, suddenly had leather around them. She pulled. Tightness. He wasn’t going anywhere.

Two hands. He couldn’t help but flinch at the sudden coolness. She hesitated, and then caressed his bulging love handles. That was their language for “I want you to feel safe.” The hands caressed the underside of his belly. She lifted his heft, and put it back down. She gave his belly a soft, lingering pat on the side. That must mean “I’m proud of you.” The hands disappeared for a moment. Evan heard the sound of a serving spoon meeting pyrex. She reappeared at the base of his neck. Her finger drew a flirty line, stopping under his double chin to marvel at his softness. She tilted his head up, and held his chubby cheeks in her hand. She pressed.

That meant “Eat.”
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 9 [Part 2/2]:

There’s a relief to submission. When you’re doing exactly as you’re told--when you’re rewarded for it--you can do no wrong. Evan felt his constant, low-grade anxiety melt with each mouthful of food he devoured for her. Gone was the worry of appeasing clients; He lived to please.

In the moments of lucidity between lust-fueled gluttony, Evan couldn’t help but be impressed with the quality of the cooking. He’d been to Michelin-starred restaurants, and if he was served Ms. X’s cuisine there, he would’ve sent his compliments to the chef. Now, it seemed, the chef was complimenting him. He ate each sumptuous spoonful with greedy desire.

He met his first wall. Ms. X had stuffed him to the point where he sat back in the chair, head lolling, and belly distended. He hiccuped. She did not abate. When he first refused the next mouthful, she daintily brushed his nipple. Evan shivered with the sensation, and bit his lip. Relentlessly, she stimulated him, until he couldn’t help but moan. As soon as he opened his mouth, she had won. More food for him to consume. He swallowed, eager to please her.

Evan couldn’t tell how much longer he could last. After what felt like hours, he felt entirely too full. He took shallow breaths, and his jaw hung slack. But for the silk tie, Ms. X could’ve seen his eyebrows lifted in plaintive exhaustion. Ms. X paused. Evan heard her set the utensil down on the table. Her hands were back. He was too full to flinch. She gently pressed the crest of his bulging stomach. His soft flesh yielded under her. Ms. X's expert hands massaged a weary burp out of him. More room. She kissed him on the forehead.

“Do you need water?” The whisper in his ear was caring, and almost familiar. He nodded. Now was his chance. Time to spring his trap.

Yes, he had positioned his chair to face away from the door. That was the instruction. But he also slightly angled the chair towards his faucet. Any feeder worth her salt , he reasoned, would hydrate her feedee. He heard her turn and walk away.

Now that he was glutted, even slight movement took effort. He shrugged his eyebrows against his blindfold, slowly inching it above his eyes. He saw a crescent of light appear at the bottom of the blackness. There were her heels, facing away from him. Though Evan knew little of fashion, he could tell they were elegant and understated. She was slowly being revealed.

She still faced away. Tight black slacks. She was petite, with perhaps a hint of chub around her waist. He was enamored. It somehow figured that his maneuver would bite him in the butt. She wore a white dress shirt, still pristine, despite encouraging Evan’s gluttony. Ms. X's sleeves were neatly rolled up to her forearms. For some reason, he found that incredibly hot. The glass Ms. X held was almost full. Furiously, he edged the tie up onto his brow, and out of his vision entirely. He was hungry to expose his captor.

There, in a tight bun: Vivid blue hair.

Even shook his head and looked again. Confusion took him. “Wh… what the fuck?” He managed to say between labored breaths.

Amy spun around and dropped the glass. Her eyes were wide. Panic.

“What the fuck!” Evan choked the words out. Confusion had turned to surprise. He struggled against his restraints, shaking the chair.

“Oh my g… Evan, listen–” Her voice shook as she flew towards him, palms outstretched, like she was trying to calm a caged animal.

“What the fuck.” Surprise matured into betrayal.

“Evan, I’m sorry; I tried to tell you... I thought–” Amy ran around to Evan’s back and undid the leather restraints. He shot up and backed away from her.

“...You? It was you? All this time, and I was–” Evan put a shaking hand to his brow.

“I was going to tell you. Tonight, after d–” She stepped forward, palms still out, slowly approaching him.

“You told me to trust you.” An icy interjection. He was still.

“You can, I promise.” Her voice was soft. She was close to him now.

“–How?!” he spat with vesuvian consternation. The word echoed. The faucet was still running. Evan sank to the floor and covered his face with his hands. “I need to think,” he mumbled through his palms, “Please go.”

“Evan, please.” Amy had the trace of a sob.


She was quiet, and looked small. Then, in a flurry, she was gone. The door clicked. It was dark when Evan removed his hands from his pudgy face. In her haste, she must’ve accidentally hit the light switch while taking her coat.

Evan sat in the dark for a long time before he pulled out his phone. The faint glow was a quiet light, and would not illuminate the room. He missed her with a sinking pit of emotion. He was exhausted. Confused. Alone. So that’s what Jason had meant.
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 10

Fuck, Amy. How could you have been so selfish? You pushed him too far. You should’ve told him when you had the chance.

Amy was accustomed to her self-criticism. Sometimes, the voice sounded just like her mother’s, scolding her that nobody would marry a fat girl. Or, occasionally, it’d borrow the chilly derision of Professor MacDougal; “As a woman in the law, you need to work twice as hard to get noticed. This isn’t good enough.” Right now, and for the first time in a while, the voice was thoroughly her own.

She lay on her back, the crook of her arm covering her tired eyes. Amy’s white dress shirt was crumpled on the bed sheets. She’d somehow managed to not get any of the meal on her shirt. Amy knew he liked things clean. She fucked that up, too. Damn tears. She wondered if they would dry up invisibly, or if they’d be a stain on the shirt forever. It had been so long since she cried.

Crying, she found, was not helpful. Corporate law ground you down into dust. If you added tears into the mix, you’d be nothing but soppy grey paste smeared on the office floor. No, it was better to steel yourself, take what you could, and find other ways to control your life.

Her outlet had been simple enough, before she had gone and muddled it with reality. Yes, Freud might raise his eyebrow at her, but controlling chubby boys felt so damn good. It had started with some self-indulgent writing here, perusing a femmedomme blog there. You know. Entry level stuff. What could she say? She just loved soft boys who followed orders.

Before long, she had a double life. Joining kink websites. Taking risqué photos in between meetings. Oh, certainly, it was self-empowerment. But, in a way, it was nourishment. She loved the feeling of helping people succumb to their desires. Watching them get “healthier around the middle,” as her grandfather used to say. Plus, it gave her a captive audience to enjoy her cooking. The name “Ms. X” was an impulsive decision. She reasoned the pseudonym was an apt expression of her anonymity. And, she thought, it was an assertion of how powerful her chromosomes could be.

When Evan’s picture appeared in her kink inbox, Amy froze. Surely, he must recognize her body. There was no doubt. They had both been to the associate retreat, and she had worn the same two-piece bikini. Her rib tattoo was showing in the profile picture, too. Fuck. Busted.

It took her a moment to realize that--if Evan was on the same kink website--she had just as much leverage as he did. Cautious relief eased her paranoia. How’d she let herself lose her cool? Professor MacDougal would’ve shaken her head at Amy’s panic. Evan’s message was innocuous enough: “Hi, Ms. X: I’m a big fan of your writing. Do you take commissions? If you do, I’d love to hire you to write a story involving me….”

He sounded older when he wrote. She had a hard time reconciling the tone with his wide-eyed, sometimes goofy face. Maybe it was a front? A trap? Was she being catfished? Yes, the two had chemistry. This, though, was too good to be true. Amy clenched her jaw and stared at her phone. If it was true, though... Evan must be establishing plausible deniability.

Alright. So it was to be pseudonyms. Pretending they didn’t know each other. Cloak and dagger. Amy found a smile spreading across her face. This was exciting. She drafted her reply, but stopped before sending it. It’d be better to let him wait. It’d be more fun to flirt with him while he simmered.

Evan’s acting at the Myanmar meeting impressed Amy. Feigning ignorance, in her opinion, was a valuable skill in negotiation. You know, he’d probably make a good partner some day. Amy winced, suddenly feeling guilty for wishing that ill upon him. The butterflies in her stomach helped her feel better. Yes, the way he asked for blackmail roleplay was unorthodox. She couldn’t deny that. But they both knew what they were doing. The coquettish request for a “story” about “himself”, and “basing it around blackmail” made it all too clear. Amy found his shy submissiveness as adorable as his softening tum. She could do this. She could put on an act; do a voice. She could become Ms. X to fulfill both their fantasies.

Realization came slowly, like a sickly dawn before a battle. Amy couldn’t pinpoint exactly when she knew there had been a horrible misunderstanding. The week after Evan came back from his “sickness”--considerably plumper, she’d proudly note--should’ve found them both rolling on her desk in hot lust. But Evan had pulled away, instead. Amy cast her mind back through their interactions, and started to doubt herself. Fear, after all, can smell like excitement. Before long, she somehow knew: Evan didn’t know it was her.

That month had hit her hard. She’d been chewed out for falling asleep before a 3:00 am conference call. She got a stern email for being offline on a Saturday. The worst was Eliza Chang’s gutting disappointment in her. Amy had missed a deadline. As the only female partner in the office, Eliza was the closest thing that Amy’d probably get to having a mother figure. Amy’s failure felt intimate and personal. Maybe she should’ve just quit the firm. That’s what she’d tell herself every month, anyway, before she looked at her finances. Between rent, utilities, student loans, and health insurance, that was out of the question. She was trapped.

Amy started to treat Ms. X like a loathsome, but helpful, roommate. She missed Evan desperately, and hated Ms. X for that. But, at the same time, Ms. X gave Amy control over something. Over someone. Someone she really cared about. Fuck, thinking about it that way scared her. She was no better than the partners. It’d be unethical to not tell him. She’d do it that day, if she could. At the cafe.

In her defense, she tried to broach the subject. Evan, damn it, had been too good at listening, and was genuinely concerned for her. She found herself venting about the wan futility of her life. She spilled her guts while he stuffed his with milkshakes. As she saw him drink fattening glass after fattening glass, she felt Ms. X goading her, warming her insides. He stuffed himself. The way he stifled that adorable little burp. She was going to let him have it tonight.

The month’s weigh-in aroused both of them. Amy had slipped. She had let lust speak, and Ms. X’s voice came out. When she caught herself, she felt ashamed. She muted the microphone. She’d tell Evan there, over text. His non-response frustrated her, but excited Ms. X. Amy couldn’t tell which one of them had sent Evan the composite image. When she came that night, it was the guiltiest--but most intense--she’d ever felt.

Amy and Ms. X reached a detente. The negotiations were tough, but fair. They’d go together to meet Evan; to reveal themselves. Amy would be the one to cook for him, expressing her care and desire to make him happy. Ms. X would blindfold him, restrain him, and feed him until the fat boy couldn’t take any more. Amy, then, would caress him, ease his suffering, and take off his blindfold. The confusion would wear off, and Evan could decide which of them he wanted.

Fuck. It had been a stupid plan. Amy removed her arm from over her eyes, and stared at the ceiling. Anything to keep her from thinking about the betrayal on Evan’s face. The entire thing was fucked. And she fucked it. She sighed slowly, letting sorrow puff out her cheeks. Evan’s cheeks were adorably puffy. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

She lay in silence for a long time.

Amy looked over at the mess she had made while cooking. Normally, she’d clean it up after a meal. Cooking, to her, was literature and love wrapped up together. Words fall short, but a meal can change a person. It must’ve been nearly three in the morning at that point. Cleaning up now would mean admitting that this night happened. That it--no, that she--failed. She wasn’t sure if she had the stomach for that.

A buzz.

Evan. Amy was afraid to open the text message. She almost wished that Ms. X hadn’t been torn to shreds by Evan’s dismay. Then she’d have someone to blame. Or, at least, someone with the courage to open the message. Damn it, she needed to grow a spine. She’d have to face him, after what she put him through.

“Can we talk?”

It took an hour for her to understand what that meant. Even longer to draft her reply.

Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 11:

Neither of them were sure whether the meeting was supposed to be a negotiation or a reconciliation. Amy rued the fact that Evan probably thought it was the former. He must be following the first unwritten rule of negotiations: Don’t be the first one to speak. That’d explain the silence.

They had seen each other that morning, at a distance, in the firm’s lobby. Amy had given a cautious wave, barely raising her arm above her waist. Evan was blowing on a travel mug of hot liquid. Judging by the bags under his eyes, he hadn’t slept either. It must be coffee. Then again, after the sheer volume of food he had eaten, perhaps it was peppermint tea. Amy was incredulous that he was even able to stand after last night. His suit was surely too strained to button over the sizable paunch that he was sporting. The seams of the pants were struggling. She caught his eye. He had looked her way, and his embouchure changed into a set of pursed lips. He nodded. See you on the battlefield.

A buzz.

“The plaza outside the firm. Noon.”

Evan’s text, on a happier day, would’ve made Amy break out in laughter. There was a spaghetti-western ridiculousness to it. Or, maybe, the coded nonsense of a cold-war spy flick. She wanted to text him a joke, or smile at him. Guilty emptiness soon reminded her of reality. Amy restrained her response.

“Works for me.” The period at the end of her text didn’t seem right. It was too final. Too chilly. Then again, you reap what you sow.

High noon. If there were any tumbleweeds in the city, one should’ve deigned to make an appearance. The firm’s glass doors slid open with a cryogenic hiss, and Amy walked out into the sunlight. She squinted, and scanned the plaza. She was too tired to put in her contacts that morning, and had misplaced her glasses again. There, at a table near the fountain, was a chubby blur that could’ve been Evan. Amy controlled her gait, and steadied the click of her heels against pavement.

Evan had chosen to sit at one of the concrete tables that doubled as a chess-board. She felt a little hurt at the entendre. If Ms. X had been there, she might’ve thought that the poor boy had played himself. Queens, after all, are more dangerous than kings. Now that Amy thought about it, Evan looked kind of regal with the extra weight. His handsome cheeks had a pinkish, princely glow to them, and the way his thighs folded over the chair gave the impression of stately healthiness. Something else was different too. Yes, there was more of him. But there was also more to him. Amy took her seat like a diplomat visiting an Emir’s court. Don’t fuck this up. Be restrained. Make Professor MacDougal proud. Remember the first rule of negotiations.

“Evan, I am so, so sorry.” So much for that. “When you first messaged me, I thought you knew who I was. I thought that we were roleplaying, and I went along with it. By the time I realized what had happened, you had already gained so much, and I didn’t know how to come clean. I tried to tell you so many times. I should’ve. I should’ve fucking told you, and I have no excus–”

Evan held up a chubby hand. The distant sound of the fountain gave Amy uncomfortable memories of running faucets. He thought, processing the information. Time passed.

“Was I in any danger?” The words were deliberate and quiet.

“God, fuck, no. I know you love your job.” Silence.

Evan’s glare softened, and the corners of his eyes started to smile. His stern face showed kindness around the edges. He started to laugh. So did Amy. Fuck this stupid fucking firm and the demon it rode in on.

“I meant, I know you love being a lawyer,” Amy managed over the remnants of laughter, “and I’d never take that away from you.” There was a sad sort of sincerity in her voice.

“I know, I know.” Evan composed himself, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Man, all this has been a shock.”

“For what it’s worth, I really was going to tell you last night.” Amy leaned forward and put her elbows on the table. “After dessert, I was going to take the blindfold off, and let you choose between Amy and Ms. X.”

Evan’s eyebrows showed genuine puzzlement.

“I mean, whether you wanted approval and comfort, or if you wanted something a little more... disciplinarian.” Amy blushed as she clarified.

“I like you.” His response was quick and raw, like a first kiss. “Both of you. All of you. Whichever you you’d like to be.” He took her hand. “I forgive you. I trust you.”

Amy’s heart pounded. His hands were soft and warm, and she knew he must be able to feel her heartbeat. “Thank you.” Despite her best efforts, she was getting a little misty. “I really like you too.”

The fountain sounded far less intimidating now. Amy could see Evan’s posture relax.

“Can I ask one question?” Evan’s cheeks somehow got rosier and he looked down at the checkered table. “How… how fat were you going to make me?”

Hot excitement crept up through Amy. She half-smiled, half-opened her mouth at the scandalous question. They were in public, after all. She looked around to see if anyone was eavesdropping on their little secret. She leaned in and seductively tilted her head.

“You’re a lawyer. I thought you were better at grammar than that.” Her eyes twinkled roguishly.


“You got the tense wrong. It’s not ‘how fat was I going to make you,’“ She smiled, biting her lip. “It’s ‘how fat am I going to make you.’”

It was Evan’s turn to be flustered. He blushed, his pink cheeks contrasting with the sky blue of his tight dress shirt.

She seized the opportunity. “It’s my turn to ask a question.”

“Hm?” Evan nodded, apparently finding it hard to formulate words.

“You haven’t re-zeroed out the scale, have you?” Amy’s voice was a whisper.

“...No?” Voilá. The gift of speech.

“That’s a pity. I kinda wanted to see you gain the first thirty pounds again.” She lifted an eyebrow and made a pointed stare at his pudgy middle.

“That’s not how it works!”

“I say how it works.” She grinned. “Now, let’s go get lunch.”
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Nov 12, 2020
New York, NY
Chapter 12:

Time–in the world of corporate law–is measured by holidays. No, not Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, or the Fourth of July. Though one’s family might be opening gifts in festive sweaters, young attorneys would sit quietly in the corner of the family room, drafting emails to the festive crooning of Nat King Cole. Bob Cratchit might sympathize. Nor, for that matter, did the firm celebrate those “holidays” one might take with one’s family to the beach. If you brought that up, you’d be laughed out of the office. The Firm’s holidays were more unspoken rituals--both bad and good--which punctuated the manic numbness of one’s professional life. All feared the hallowed End of the Billing Cycle: a tithing time in late November; an old testament holiday full of wailing, gnashing of teeth, and, occasionally, human sacrifice. But even the most nervous attorneys could endure it, if it meant they could go on the Associate Retreat. Capital A, Capital R. The bacchanalia of bacchanalias. The eve of ascension.

It’s unfortunate that the gravity of the word “bacchanalia” has suffered from overuse. Certainly, it could be used to describe any of Amy and Evan’s fattening flings in the two months since their reconciliation. Or the daily overstuffings, ending with Evan’s groans of overindulgence. Or Amy’s small hands furtively squeezing his belly on the subway. Or the “light” bondage. Evan’s body, too, had started to take on a distinctly Bacchus-like appearance. His belly--bulging with abundance--permanently hung over the top of his slacks. When he sat, it would rest lazily in his widened thighs. His ass, too, had grown bountiful from Amy’s attention. Evan’s face had kept its elven brow, but his cheeks filled with magisterial plumpness. And to think, it had only been eighty pounds ago that he had secreted his message to Ms. X, too afraid to actually gain weight. He was happier now. Sure, to the philistines, he might be “fat.” But to Amy, he was her finest sculpture; her fiercest lover. She might be living in a modern Pig-malion situation, she had once said. Evan groaned at the pun.

The yacht was a fitting backdrop to showcase Evan’s magnificent gain. He stood on the prow, a beer in his hand, and took in the revelry. It had been whispered that--this year, anyway--the firm would be renting a party boat for the Associate Retreat. That’d make sense. Splurging would be appropriate. For some, it’d be their last party as associates: the Retreat was the time when the Firm revealed which of them would become partners that year. The rumors had spiraled, until hushed mumblings of “an all-expenses paid cruise” and “tickets to Cabo” had reached the ears of the partners. It had to be addressed.


The Partnership is writing to address recent misconceptions with regards to this year’s Associate Retreat. As we are all aware, associate morale is vital to the Firm’s success. The Firm does not, however, have unlimited resources. This year’s Retreat will be an austere showing: We have booked rooms at the Hotel Médaille, and we have made arrangements for meals to be catered by Jacques Toussaint of Symphonie. Eliza Chang has graciously offered her yacht for Saturday’s festivities. We apologize if this does not meet expectations.

Austere his fat ass. He took off his sunglasses and tucked them neatly away in the pocket of his linen shirt. The warm, salt breeze was almost enough to distract him from the hubbub of associates thronging the deck. There was an intoxicating freedom to the group. Who’d’ve thought; when neurotic, stressed lawyers get to cut loose, they tend to go a bit overboard. Thankfully, not literally. Well, Aaron from the Bankruptcy group might take it literally, but that’s just because the man can’t hold his liquor. If Aaron was going to be made a partner, the firm would have to invest in smaller wine glasses.

He waited for Amy. She had waded into the celebrating crowd to refresh their drinks. Amy had gone with a wink and a gentle pat of Evan’s belly. Her blue hair--she had decided to keep it that way; it “felt more her”--vanished in the sea of swimsuits and repressed mania. The past two months had been as transformative for her as it was for Evan. Ever since the reconciliation, she had brimmed with confidence. Amy carried herself taller, prouder; more certain that she was taking her rightful place in the world. From board meetings to bedroom meetings, she knew she was on top. She was getting recognized, too. Amy had been tapped to work on a high-profile appellate case; the epitome of prestige with a cursive f. She’d been going to the firm’s happy hour, socializing with partners, and even snagged a minor client. Confidence, Evan thought, is a heady cocktail. Two parts self-assurance, one part control.

In almost-too-perfect a recreation of the Birth of Venus, the crowd parted, and Amy rose. There was a twinkle in her eye, and she held three drinks: Something clear in a martini glass, and two bottles of beer. Ah, so she was going to bloat him again today. Amy had been working on Evan’s capacity for food, as he had “slowed down a bit” in the past week. She wasn’t one for plateaus. Amy made a beeline for him. Venus and Bacchus were a striking pair. Evan stopped himself. No, despite her beauty, she was becoming more like Minerva. Goddess of knowledge, strategy, and war.

“And here you go!” Amy clinked the two beer bottles into Evan’s pudgy hands.

“Thanks. But it’s a little early for two, no?” He raised an eyebrow.

“C’mon, live a little. Plus, think of it as a good investment strategy.”


“The way I see it, you’re adding to your stomach capacity, and putting back some carbs for the day. Oh, and it’s also a good head-start; regardless of which of these schmucks gets promoted,” she gestured at the revelers with her non-martini hand, “you’re going to want to be good and drunk.”

Evan smirked. “Yeah, if Aaron’s going to be made partner, I’m going to need to get on his level.”

“Aaron?! No fucking way.” Amy sidled up to her co-conspirator and lowered her voice. “My money’s on Monica Fink. Eighth year associate, she’s been tight with Brucey forever, and she pulled in that Pharma client.”

“And she went to Yale.” Evan added, helpfully.

“Oh, did she not mention that today?” Amy’s eyebrows shot up in feigned surprise over top of her martini glass.

“Give her a chance. I mean, it’s only eleven.” He finished the first beer.

“Speaking of which; slow down, big boy!” Amy laughed, and put her hand on the softness of one of Evan’s love handles. A slight squeeze. A perennial favorite.

“Hughes. Ferrera.” Evan couldn’t tell whether he was more taken aback by the oleaginousness of the southern drawl, or the speed with which Amy retracted her hand. “How y’all been? Evan, you’re looking mighty comfortable.” There was a healthy, and deliberate, pause between his last two words.

Rich Grady. His business cards–if you were unfortunate enough to receive one–read “Richmond Montgomery Grady IV, Esq.” Evan bit his tongue, realizing that Rich had probably paid by the letter for the embossing. That’s what you get when your family had run a plantation: Roman numerals, Medici money, and a Machiavellian lack of guilt. He looked exactly like you’d imagine.

“Rich!” Amy smiled sourly. No one was going to insult her feedee and get away with it. “We’re just celebrating. You’ve been to what, nine of these retreats now? How does this one compare?” A shot across the bow. Nine years an associate, and still not a partner? What would R.M. Grady III think?

“Feeling a bit like I’m always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” Rich chuckled, but didn’t miss a beat. “But, I ‘spose you know what I mean, Ferrera.” Oily venom.

“To be frank,” Evan took a cool sip of his beer, “I think the firm needs some more diversity in leadership.”

“Somehow, I’m not surprised to hear you say that.” Rich nodded, casting his eyes at Evan’s belly. “And, while there is a certain je ne sais quois to a woman’s touch,” the French dripped like rotten honey from his lips, “we’ve already got Eliza Chang. By the looks of it, she’s doing pretty well for herself.” He made a limp-wristed gesture to the yacht.

Amy was calculating exactly how to call this motherfucker out on his white-ass, sexist-ass, seersucker-ass arrogance. Like any died-in-the-gray-wool southerner, though, Rich was well-acquainted with delivering a parting shot, pretending to concede, and making sickening promises of “rising again” later.

“Y’all take care now. And bless your heart for wearing that linen shirt, Evan.” With a magnolia-scented flourish, he was gone.

Amy fumed. Apoplexy did not become her. Evan placed his free hand on her shoulder and felt tiger-taught tension.

“You know, I don’t much care for that guy.” Evan sighed, a study in litotes.

Amy whipped around. “Where does fucking asshole get off? We have one female partner in this office, and she’s old money. Just like him.”

“I think there’s some aphorism that the best revenge is living happily and successfully.” Evan offered.

“Spoken like a white boy.” Amy frowned. “Bullies like that need to be put in their place.”

“When you’re partner, Rich’d better beware.” Evan gave her a warm, but diffusing smile. Amy didn’t take the bait.

“Yeah, right.” Her frustration turned to mischievousness. “Make fun of your weight, did he? Well, I’ll give him something to comment on. I’m going to stuff you senseless today, fuck you senseless this afternoon, and stuff you senseless again at the partnership banquet tonight.”

“I’d like to preserve a modicum of sense, if you don’t mind.” Flirting on the defensive was a move Evan was becoming accustomed to.

“Oh, I most certainly do mind.” She traced a finger gingerly around the curve of his gut, before looking out over the crowd. “Now, where is that caterer?”

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