BHM The Diet (FFA, BHM, WG, Romance)

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Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
A bookish accountant reconnects with a childhood friend, whose appetite she helps reawaken.

(This is my first attempt at writing fiction for this board. I appreciate feedback, and I'm not 100% on all the details of where this story will go so opinions are much appreciated. Thank you for reading!)

The Diet
by byutane

Part 1:
I grew up in a small town in Staffordshire. I was out of the loop, kind of unpopular, generally unremarkable, and that was the way I liked it. I felt a little othered most of my life, for a variety of reasons, so it was a relief really not to be under the spotlight. I had some verbal communication problems and chronic shyness, preferring books to people and alone time to socialisation. While this changed once I left home for university and my social skills improved, it influenced my formative years heavily - and in one particular area, this alien feeling followed me for a long time.

When I was ten the older boy who lived next door came swimming with me. It was a hot summer that year, for a British one mind you, so I was eager to get into the water. He was nice enough to me and let me tag along with his friends that day. When we all emerged from our respective changing rooms and met next to the pool, I felt a strange tugging in the back of my mind when I caught sight of his rounded tummy sticking out from his body. Weird. I knew it was rude to stare, so I very carefully avoided doing so, then decided that I had to find out why his chubbiness had been so interesting.

That evening I had a private viewing of Only The Lonely (you know, that John Candy romcom), which my parents had on VHS. I usually found a reason to leave if it was on. Like my encounter with my neighbour, the film made me feel strange in a way I couldn't name. So, sat there in the gloom with the TV on low, forcing myself to watch John Candy find love, I made a breakthrough. Fat dudes were just - the best. By far. I couldn't quite articulate why this was the case yet, but I knew it deep in my soul to be true. I also knew that this was something I had to keep in the dark.

This was obvious at the time. The weird feeling had to be a manifestation of my private guilt at having such a strange thought. The comments my mother made about the weight of her friends or their partners, or even celebrities and people on the street, had to be coming from the same place as the rest of her maternal wisdom. The weight loss adverts, giggling gossip overheard in class or on the playground, the sad gaze of my overweight neighbour when he couldn't get a date for his leavers’ dance. It all told me that I was different. Completely different. And it wouldn't be good to reveal my secret.

I can remember, when that neighbour was leaving for uni. I was nervous saying goodbye to him, thinking about when I'd also be leaving the nest in a few years. He'd filled out as we grew up, enough for both of us (I remained an unfortunate beanpole), so his arm pudge wiggled when he waved goodbye to his family as he drove away. I watched, privately hoping that I'd be able to divorce from my preference once he was gone. At the time I theorised that it was born of a crush on that guy specifically, nothing more. It was not.

I avoided dating while still at school. I had crushes on some of my rounder classmates, yes, but I felt sure I would be the last person they'd want asking them out. I didn't have the most confidence in my appearance and I was well aware of my dismal social standing. I wouldn't be helpful. I would get rejected. And even if someone said yes to me, I wouldn't be able to hide how I felt about fat - and Christ knew what kind of awful response that little nugget of information would get.

So. That's how I became slightly neurotic over my preference for fat guys. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, I grant you - possibly you think I'm overly sensitive, making so many assumptions. Consider, however, how hard the world pounds it into us that fat is bad. How alone I felt in my opinion, without access to a kindred spirit or a nonjudgmental outlet. In a way though, I'm glad I developed a repression complex - it's better than a saviour complex. Unfortunately this particular difficulty didn't get patched up by friendly uni mates and class projects and I remained single throughout my time in education.

Okay, we're nearing the end of the exposition. Bear with me.

I enjoyed university, but as previously mentioned I didn't see much success in the romance department. It made sense, at the time anyway, to focus on my course and to use my shiny new social skills to make industry contacts, instead of chat up cuddly blokes at the student union. My life was peaceful. I had an apartment to myself. Landed a job straight out of the gate. Had plenty of money with which to buy video games, and a growing nest egg which promised security. It was good. Life was good.


Back to this neighbour of mine. We met again, purely by coincidence, at a cocktail party (where all the best reunions happen). By this time in my life I was getting ahead in my career, comfortably entrenched in a work-hobby cycle which was working out pretty well for me. Being an accountant comes naturally to me. I like numbers, I like shuffling numbers around, and I like being alone with numbers (especially those prime for shuffling). It's a little strange to my mind that some people consider it a boring job, but then again I'm used to handling people with opinions which differ from mine. As always I was rather plain looking, that never changed. In fact I was at this relatively upscale event in my slate-grey suit from work, with my hair pulled back in its customary bun. It was a good look for giving the impression of a bookish, hardworking demeanour, but I found myself cursing my style choice when I picked him out of the crowd.

At first I just thought I'd seen a handsome guy. There was a little tug of familiarity at the back of my mind when I saw that blonde shock of hair, the ski-slope nose peeking through the throng of people… then he smiled, and something about the sight made things click. I remembered - his name was Charlie. Then, by coincidence, the rabble parted between us and I got a clear view of him. This wasn't the guy I remembered. At all.
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Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
The young man I used to know, now immortalised in my memory as an emblem of my repressed youth, the cute older boy I'd been too shy to approach, the mature (but not too mature) goal to aspire to, the sweet, shy lad I'd nursed that comfortable crush on, had completely disappeared. Sure he still had the cherubic face, the thick hair, the youthful looks, but he was missing a vital part. A big part.

Okay, you know what I'm talking about, he'd lost weight. A depressing amount of it, at that. A little pudginess clung about his neck and cheeks, and maybe he had a tiny little bit of a tummy, but it was a far cry from the big, soft guy I'd grown up next to. Immediately my heart sank. I'd realised a long time ago that it was going to be hard finding a fat partner who wasn't interested in weight loss, and after a long dry period here was this slim spectre come to taunt me. The first fat boy I ever fell for, and here he was, fitting into an expensive charcoal slimline suit.

And then our eyes met. Puddle green, they widened upon seeing me. I imagine I looked largely the same - straight up-and-down, pale, dowdy. I felt a little embarrassed. I wondered if he could see how disappointed I was. Evidently he couldn't, since he broke into another kilowatt grin and excused himself from the man he was talking to. He was coming towards me. Oh god.

“Oh wow, Alex!” He waved. My stomach flipped. “How are you?”

“Charlie, hi!” I forced myself to smile, and keep my eyes on his face. No doubt he was the same guy, even if his diminished size was unbelievably jarring. “I'm doing good, Sheffield treated me well. What about you, I haven't seen you in a long time?” It turned out he worked in PR. Did a little marketing consultancy on the side. That explained his attire, and the Rolex on his wrist. I felt a weird twinge of betrayal, like a pure piece of my childhood had been sullied, poisoned by the relentlessly capitalist, judgemental adult world. I wondered what the girls who rejected him at school would say if they could see him now? I wondered if he thought something similar when he looked in the mirror, and whether he did so with an air of satisfied smugness or self aware disdain.

“So what brings you here?” He waved a hand at our surroundings, a studio apartment with fashionably large windows. High heels and wine glasses clicked around us.

“I'm friends with Portia,” the no nonsense mogul who was trying to merge my company with her own. As, to quote, an indispensable asset, she’d asked me to put in a few public appearances to further justify my not getting the axe when the time came to make cuts, “she's hoping to help me boost my profile a bit.”

“Well, it's working. I actually heard you were coming,” and there it was, the brief look down and a little smile, a cute dip in that veneer of self confidence, a relic from those socially awkward early days showing itself. It made me remind myself that this was Charlie I was talking to. Even if it was odd to see him looking so different, he was still the same guy I'd known, and I should enjoy our conversation for what it was. Despite my feelings in the past, I had to remember that he wasn't an ex. We'd been friends. Maybe we could be friends again.

“Oh, that’s a little embarrassing… she didn’t tell me that. I should’ve dressed up more.” I meant it, the idea that I wasn’t actually anonymous in the room was a little unsettling, especially since I’d been decidedly socially unadventurous that evening. What if people had recognised me and were getting the wrong idea about my attitude at work?

“Don’t worry about that. I, think you look good tonight.”

“Thanks,” I gave him a polite smile, “you too,” then lied through my teeth. It was only courtesy, it didn’t have to mean anything, even if it was a gross abuse of my principles. Charlie grinned hard. “How do you know Portia?”

“She wants me to board ship Archman-Leo. Apparently she’s reserved me a decent position in the PR department too, but…”

“Seems risky, huh?”

“Well, it’s not as though this new venture is unstable, but I have a good thing going where I am. I know the people really well, and I know the customer base, so…”

“From electronics to banking, it’s a pretty big jump.”

“Still, Portia thinks I can hit the ground running. And I have to admit, it’d be really interesting to broaden my experiences.”

“If you can impress her, you’re doing well. You know she’ll write you a good reference if the time comes to move on, too.” Charlie nodded,

“I’m tempted,” bit his lip, “and if you’re definitely going to be there-”

“-which I am-”

“-which you are, then I won’t be totally among strangers.”

“True!” So, he may become a coworker in the future. It’d be nice to be able to introduce him to the team, a cute new face to come with the merger. Maybe I could set him up with someone, new relationships tended to form when there was a reshuffle.

“You know, I almost didn’t recognise you?” My brows went up. “You look - I mean obviously older, not in a bad way, of course, I mean you’re younger than me…”

“Yes, only by a few years.” He’d gone pink all of a sudden, making me nostalgic for his plumper cheeks. Good God, I missed the way they used to bounce when he spoke.

“Yeah, it’s not that much, when you think about it…” for a long time I’d known that eventually the critical four-year age gap that had made teenage rendezvous impossible was going to become immaterial. I was 24, he was 28. Perfectly respectable, and emotionally appropriate. Then again, just because two people are in the right age range doesn’t mean they’ll get along in a relationship. I chalked it up to wishful thinking on my younger self’s part.

“Levels the playing field a bit, huh?” Charlie nodded. He dug around in his pocket for a moment, then produced a smartphone.

“Listen, I’d love to talk some more. I need to leave, but - would it be alright if I ask you for your number?”

“Yes, of course.” I found my own phone and let him type his number in, then I did the same in return. I supposed I’d be a valuable person to know, since I’d been able to call Portia a ‘friend’. He smiled and waved at me as he backed away,

“Talk to you soon, alright Alex?”

“Sure thing,” the smile slid off my face when he turned away. As he walked off he hugged his form fitting suit around his miserably slim waist. What a shame. I looked down at his contact, regardless feeling a little special that I’d gotten a guy’s phone number - even if he was an old friend. I quickly tapped out a text, “looking forward to hearing from you. I’ll tell Portia you’re coming around to the idea of joining team A-L - Alex”. I decided to make tracks, since the party was winding down and most of my contemporaries had left, so I said goodbye to Portia and a few others before making my way out. On the train home I received a reply from Charlie,

“Absolutely. Have a good night :)”, smiley face and all. Initially I thought it was awfully informal, but then I remembered that he’d seen me get ritualistically dunked in a kiddie pool by my older cousins yearly from ages 8-13. Overall, I mused on the ride home, it’d been a good evening. It just would’ve been better if Charlie had been a bit more, well… dateable.


Enjoys lionfish
Jul 29, 2017
New Jersey
Your characters are really compelling and I like where this seems to be going... excited to see what comes next! :D


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
(Thanks so much to Tad and Erestor for the flattering comments! I hope future installments live up to expectations. Speaking of...)

Part 2
For a while, I was conflicted regarding how I should contextualise my sudden reconnection with Charlie. Yes, he was a hell of a longstanding crush, and sure he’d been used as a measuring stick for all crushes since, but I couldn’t go around letting that history rule my adult decision making. Of course he’d changed since we were kids. Hell, I’d changed. I couldn’t keep holding that against him, private as my disappointment was. As though he’d be interested in me anyway, even if he had still been attractive.

So when I got another text a day or two later asking me if I wanted to get coffee, I thought nothing of it. I presumed he wanted to catch up, which I had no doubt would be fun, and maybe talk a little more about the whole Archman-Leo deal. We agreed on a small place near Hyde park, since it was easy enough to get to for either of us - thank you, London underground. Since autumn was creeping in I wore a black peacoat and my usual dark work trousers, enough to keep out the chill. I thought about styling my hair a little bit, but I inevitably got discouraged and fell back on my usual bun. I figured it was just a casual meetup with a childhood friend - it wouldn't do to make too much of an effort.

So imagine my surprise when I turn up to this little open air café and find Charlie once again decked out, like he'd been for Portia's party. I hid my surprise as I shook his hand,

“I’m sorry, did you come from a business meeting or something?” Charlie shook his head, evidently a little embarrassed,

“No, no, I just… like to dress well, I suppose.” He fiddled with his watch. That Rolex again. “You're right, I am a little overdressed…” that made me feel bad.

“Oh hey, don't worry about it. It's a really nice suit,” which it was, even if it was on such a slim body. Pinstripe this time, again dark, with a crisp white shirt. Was he trying to look like a banker? I brushed it off. Not worth worrying about, especially since my compliment had done such a good job of placating him, if his smile was anything to go by.

“Thank you. You look really nice today,” I fiddled self consciously with my lapel as we sat down,

“Thanks, Charlie.” I knew he was being polite, and he probably only meant comments like that as much as I did when I made them about him, but it still felt good in an ego stroking kind of way to be seen with a handsome guy and to be getting told that sort of thing by said handsome guy. Even though he wasn't my type, I was sure he'd caught a few appreciative glances from others since we'd arrived, which was kind of nice. Different from the kinds of stares the boys I like tend to attract. Can't account for most people's bad taste, I suppose.

“No problem,” his cheeks took on some pinkness. I found myself paying attention to the little bit of puppy fat that still clung to him, not very noticeable, but for sure he had to be at least a bit soft under those tailored suits. I wondered if he'd had trouble cutting back from the endless takeaways he'd lived on back when he was in school, or if it was just wired into his body by now that he have some extra padding. He looked like a yuppie who'd just slightly overindulged. “I’m surprised you haven't mentioned it yet, you know,” he chirped.

“Mentioned what?” From the self satisfied grin on his face, I could tell damn well what. I obviously hadn't wanted to talk about it, because then I'd have to slap on a fake smile and compliment him even more for starving himself down to nothing. Awful. I felt a twinge of annoyance that he was, apparently, this much in need of positive feedback about it.

“You know,” he placed two hands flat on his abdomen, miserably flat, God it used to be so round and interesting, “I look pretty different.” So he was even pussyfooting around it? Great, fantastic, wonderful. Couldn't we talk about something else? Anything else?

“Yeah, I guess you do.” I knew I could've placated him, but I just wasn't in the mood for it. He'd probably gotten enough blind praise from everyone else in his life, would it really kill him if just one person was ambivalent towards his weight? “So, what do you wanna get?” I twisted round to look at the drinks list, craving a morning espresso, “do you drink coffee?” There was a little pause.

“I probably shouldn't, as much as I do, but yeah.” I heard his chair scrape against the ground, “shall I go up and order for us? My treat.” I looked back at him,

“Oh, hey, let me pay for my drink. It's not a problem-”

“It's not a problem for me either,” he shook his head. “Please.” I relented,

“Ah, alright, go on. Espresso, please.” He nodded. “Thank you.”

“No problem at all.” I watched him weave through the crowd of other patrons, wondering how long he'd been able to do that so easily. I couldn't twig why he'd gone to such a big effort with his appearance that day… was that seriously just how he left the house all the time? All I could think was he was asking to get mugged, if that was the case. I could see him at the counter, waiting in line. Looking a bit out of place among tourists and families. Then, unmistakably, he looked over and started staring at a coffee cake that was on display. He didn't break eye contact with the thing, even as the queue progressed. I had a little flashback to the way the old Charlie used to look at food, like he'd been presented with a work of art. Charlie 2.0 eventually massaged his stomach absent mindedly, and stopped looking once it was time for him to order.

How could a guy like Charlie stand to deprive himself like that? When he was younger you couldn't stop him from eating. Even when he hit 17 or 18, he still had a massive sweet tooth. Had it totally disappeared?

A tray soon descended onto the table, interrupting my thoughts. It held no coffee cake. “Here we go…” Charlie gently lowered himself down opposite me. He'd ordered a latte.

“Thanks again, I do appreciate it,” I said, indicating my drink.

“Don't worry about it Alex, really.” He watched me down my coffee in one fell swoop. Espresso appeal to my affection for efficiency. “So, how are you keeping these days?”

“I have a flat a little out of the way, Hammersmith kind of area. It's pretty good, the commute isn't half bad and all, plus Archman is pretty slack about my working hours,” I grinned, “dunno if that'll continue when Portia is in charge, though.”

“How do you know her then?”

“I met her, uh,” online, on tinder to be more exact, “in a bar.” It was kind of a funny story, actually. We'd wined and dined each other over fluffy conversation until it clicked who we actually were and what we did for a living, at which point the date became incredibly awkward because I knew for a fact that she was close to my boss and capable of having me fired with a snap of her fingers. It seemed wrong, like I'd be making her feel obligated to me, even if all we ended up as was a one night stand. Not to mention I was kind of intimidated. So I promptly decided to ignore her enticing curves (and she elected to ignore my… I don't know, nice hair maybe?) in favour of a more businesslike relationship. But we didn't tell people that version if they asked. “We got on well, and it just happened she was, you know, who she was.” Charlie's eyebrows went up.

“That's a pretty lucky coincidence.” I nodded,

“Yeah, it helps. But I like to think she wouldn't be treating me so well if I wasn't genuinely good at my job.”

“No, no, of course you are - I've seriously heard good things about you, you know, your reputation is very solid.” I smirked teasingly,

“Have you been asking around about me, Charlie?” Unexpectedly, he blushed, and stammered out,

“Only a, a little. I heard your name by coincidence too.” He quickly took a sip of his coffee, eyes cast down into his cup. He had long eyelashes, I realised, really pale ones. If his face had been plumper, I'd almost think he was being coquettish.

“Okay, we've talked enough about me, what about you?” Still holding onto his coffee cup, Charlie started to talk. He started to talk, and he didn't stop. I heard about his big apartment in Kensington, his Mercedes, his lucrative consultancy work, the stuff he did for charity. Alright for some, I supposed. Aside from the whole sponsoring kids through school and internship programs thing, that was seriously pretty cool, throughout his speech he managed this strange blend of oblivious bragging and genuine wide eyed enjoyment of life that was really hard to get a bead on. I couldn't decide if he was being obnoxious or innocent, but still I found I couldn't get annoyed at him for any of it. He was too genuine to be all that frustrating, and I found myself getting swept up in some of his stories.

“So, Alex, can I ask you something?”


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
“Of course.” We'd been hanging out in the cafe for a while by this point.

“Umm,” just for a moment, he looked nervous, “would you like to walk around the park?”

“Sounds nice,” it was a clear day and there was still a little bit of nice weather left over from summer, so the park still had some green to see with only a little autumn brown creeping in. We talked and walked, swapping stories about mutual contacts. I was actually surprised we hadn't run into each other earlier, considering we knew a few of the same people. Fran, Georgia, Damien… even if Damien was a bit of a bellend…

“Okay, Alex?”

“Yes.” His tone had changed all of a sudden. We were stood just by the serpentine. I suddenly got an inkling he was about to say something significant.

“I was thinking… what do you want to call this?”

“What do you mean?” I tried not to sound cagey.

“Well, I mean… we've met up, I've had a pretty good time, and I really hope you have too… I was just thinking, do you want to call this a date?” I had absolutely no response for that. A date? Really? Why would he want to call it a date?

“I don't, uh… why do you ask?” He looked a little crestfallen,

“Well, I like you, Alex.” Different parts of my brain were still processing this information. I was dealing with unbridled exasperation that he couldn't have left himself as he was figure wise for this moment. A good helping of confusion that this was happening at all. The suspicion that I was, in fact, dreaming. “I'm sorry, you're not already seeing someone, are you?” Okay, a direct question, I could handle that,

“No, I'm not…”

“It's okay if you're not comfortable. I don't want to pressure you…” I didn't have all that much time on my hands, and I was still struggling to process all this. It occurred to me that a potential reason why he'd dressed up and talked about his achievements so much had been to impress me. It was an odd thought. Had I been missing signals this entire time?

“Charlie, I…” I must've looked truly gormless, because I was still struggling to form sentences. I told myself that I was being a little shallow. Maybe more than a little. This was Charlie we were talking about. By all accounts he seemed to still be a sweet guy, good at what he does, interesting. Worth getting to know better. Just not fat any more. My stomach twisted inside me as I tried to make a decision. “Can I think about it? Please?” Charlie was obviously relieved I hadn't rejected him, a smile breaking out over his face, tempered with the lingering uncertainty of such a non-answer. “I'm sorry, that's not very helpful of me, is it.”

“Not at all, it's fine.” He looked about, like a nervous intern undergoing a performance review, “so, can I ask you why you're not sure? I mean I understand if it's not something I can do anything about, of course you don't have to tell me your reasoning, you don't owe me that or anything, I just think if it's something I can help with then I'd rather know, you know, so I can… yeah.” His voice gradually slid down his register, ending in a self conscious mumble. I wondered if anybody had rejected him since he became Charlie 2.0, handsome and successful businessman. I couldn't stereotype him though. This was Charlie. And he still made me feel kind of warm inside. Didn't I owe him the truth?


“-if you're worried about this,” he touched two fingers to the sliver of tummy chub that was evident under his clothes, “it'll be gone soon, I promise.” I blinked, privately astounded at how one man could be so drastically, tragically off the mark.

“Charlie, when we were younger-”

“Yeah.” He was obviously nervous, so I forgave his interrupting me, and started again,

“When we were-”



“I'm a different guy, Alex. I've-”

“Alright, let me finish please.” He backed down at my tone. Firm but polite. “When we were younger, I had, a crush. On you.” His eyebrows went up. “You seem like you're still a good guy. I like you Charlie, I do, but let me get reacquainted with you. And…” oh God, why did this have to be so hard, “you…”

“Alex, you keep going back and forth. What's on your mind?” He reached out, slowly so I could avoid it if I liked, and touched my shoulder. “Is that okay?” I nodded. “I really want to get to know you better. So, tell me what you're thinking, and we can sort it out, okay?” And against my better judgement, I believed him. I took a deep breath.

“You brought up earlier that you used to look… different.”

“Yeah, I know most of the time you've known me I've been fat.” He bit his lip, “is that a problem?” I shook my head,

“No, of course not.” An awkward moment of silence passed between us. “I just… miss it.” This failed to compute for Charlie.

“You're like… nostalgic?” He took his hand off my shoulder. “I don't understand.” Evidently, I thought.

“I don't… usually… date thin men.” That, in retrospect, may have been too much information too soon. Charlie's face froze.

“You think I'm too thin?” His tone wasn't great, incredulous, maybe a little angry, “I don't get it Alex, I'm still heavier than I should be, and-”

“Seriously dude, what's with that phrase? What do you mean should be?” I was blurting, I knew, but I couldn't stop myself once I'd started, “what’s the point in starving yourself for other people's benefit? What do you think, Charlie?” He just looked at me. “Maybe I'm off the mark here. But the Charlie I remember loved to cook, and eat, and engage with people through food. If your priorities have changed all that much, that's alright, I'm not trying to bully you…” I sighed, “but, you definitely give me the impression that you've forced yourself to change how you act.” Charlie looked away. Internal conflict was scribbled all over his face, though of what kind I couldn't tell you. I felt exhausted, like I'd undergone an exorcism. Frustration I'd been hiding for years had bubbled up in front of my first crush. It seemed significant somehow. Cathartic?

“Maybe,” he mumbled. “But I can't go back to how I was before…” he looked at me again, embarrassed, “I got up to almost twenty five stone. That's ridiculous.” He blushed, hard. I feverishly imagined him at thirty. “I'll think about what you've said, alright?” He folded his hands over his midsection. “I'm sorry I put you on the spot.”

“No, no… it's fine.” My eyes darted about nervously, “I'm actually glad you're not angry or freaked out or - something.”

“I still like you, Alex.” He looked a little unsure about something, just for a moment, then he unbuttoned his jacket, took my hand and placed it gently on his midsection. The only thing separating our skin was his thin linen shirt.. “Here…” and he relaxed his abdominal muscles, letting a tiny, soft pot belly press into my hand, “I'm still me.” I could feel myself going totally red. It may have been small, but Charlie's belly really was cute… “So, do you, um. Want to see me again?” I leaned in closer, and gave him a gentle peck on the cheek.

Dec 30, 2008
This is really fantastic! I love your authorial voice, and the characters are compelling and natural. I can’t wait to see where you take this, it’s exceptional so far!


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
(Thanks so much again to clockworklove and Erestor, and also fat hiker for being so generous with likes! This part may be a little thin on the ground chub wise, but stick with it fellas... it's coming...)

Part 3:

Okay, let's take a step back. None of this was happening in a vacuum.

Charlie's suddenly re-entering my life, and the fact that he'd immediately shaken things up, had come as a surprise. It dug up a lot of old feelings, and some old insecurities to a certain extent. He was flashy, important, exciting, and all the more enticing for not seeming to know it. I wasn't entirely sure how I should handle the situation, really. Once I was home, alone, and able to think, I couldn't shake the feeling that pursuing a relationship with him was seriously unrealistic. Sure, I probably felt that way partly because of my hopeless history with him, but also, what had actually happened at the end of our coffee maybe-date? What exactly had any of that meant? Even in these acts of overanalysis it felt as though I was treating his actions with too much significance, putting him on too high a pedestal. As though I was starstruck, another unfortunate holdover from my youth.

We'd parted ways very soon after he let me touch his stomach. Watching him go, I was surprised at how much softness a good suit could conceal. He had to have zero muscle mass, or maybe a completely tiny frame, or possibly both. Probably both. It was a weird thought, that big cuddly Charlie had been hiding the bone structure of a ballet dancer underneath all that fat. It was kind of enticing too. What if he got that big again? What had he said, 25 stone? Fuck yeah.

But again, that was unlikely. Now, Tetris helps me think, so over the weekend I played a lot of Tetris (slightly abandoning Tekken practice), and by Monday I had it solid in my mind; that as of yet things were inconclusive, and I would need to see how they went before I made any big decisions. Laugh at me if you will for postponing any real decisions but I didn't have a lot of information to go on at the time.

A quick aside for the uninitiated - Tekken is a fighting game, of the kind for which a competitive scene exists. I know the more famous eSports these days tend to lean in a more Overwatch/DOTA/CSGO sort of direction, but you can bet fighting game fans still have plenty of tournaments to choose from. And if you wanna be good, like anything in life, you have to practice. Sure, it's a bit lame (or very lame depending on your outlook), but it's a fun hobby and it's mine, damn it. I adopted it at uni, since I often hung out with people I'd met through the eSports society and Tekken was a favoured series for game nights, though naturally it's been through a few incarnations since back then. I sorely missed those rowdy meetups once I emerged, butterfly-like (or maybe more moth-like), into the adult world. So it was nice being able to recreate that a little, to attend events where you automatically have something relatable to talk about with everyone else, and you're not there for work. Plus there always tended to be a decent amount of eye candy at said events, though I'd never found a date at one or anything.

Anyway, enough of that-

Actually, no, wait. Come to think of it, if I did end up getting closer to Charlie, I had absolutely no idea how he would react to the fact that I was so into fighting games. And video games in general, really. Yeah, he'd liked them when he was a kid, but he'd been a socially awkward, overweight teenager. It's basically a prerequisite that you like video games when that's what you've got to work with. Now, though? Would suave businessman Charlie be able to jive with the fact that the straight laced woman he'd asked on a date (for some reason, I still didn't really get it to be honest) swore like a sailor at a PS4 for hours every day? In her pyjamas?

This roadblock should have been obvious. My aspirations in the world of competitive gaming had never clashed with my professional life, I fail to see how they possibly could, and many of my friends had been made through the scene itself, so I’d always presumed it wouldn’t be an issue in any other area of my life either. There wasn’t anyone who really knew me who didn’t also know which characters I mained. But then Charlie, ever the wild card, enters the scene and begs the crucial question - would his opinion change if I let him see that side of me? Would he still like a yelling, trash talking, tracksuit wearing Alex? If he didn’t, then was anything of great value truly lost? You can’t hide things if you’re in a relationship. But then were we even on that track? What had anything we’d done so far meant?

And so you see it loops round, back to the beginning.

I realised all that stuff just as I was pulling into work on Monday, despite the fact that I'd had a whole weekend to consider that my hobby was a bit unorthodox for a grown woman. As a result I spent the first half hour of the work day staring at my computer screen and sipping cold coffee, processing this massive, massive oversight, and trying to think of a way to deal with it. There was always the off chance that Charlie would find it quirky and cute, maybe even that he'd be interested in it, but it seemed there was a much greater likelihood that he'd be confused and put off. And which one of those reactions was I looking for anyway? Once again I found myself wanting in the information department.

This is why you go on dates, I reminded myself. To figure these things out. In my typical style I wanted to be able to plan everything out ahead of time and control the outcome… that desire to see everything laid out in a spreadsheet, to fine tune my muscle memory to repeat combos perfectly… there was just no way this approach would work with Charlie. Couldn't let my nerves get the better of me.

So after a morning of being utterly unproductive, the guy who works a desk over from me, Larry, got my attention.

“You doing alright today, Al?”

“Yeah, just…” I looked over at Larry's earnest little face. He was a tad younger than me, even newer to the company, and rather cute to boot. He had chestnut brown hair, wide eyes, a beaky nose and a small paunch that was sometimes visible when he sat back. Nothing to write home about, but I got the feeling he'd plump up quickly in the coming years given his sedentary office-based lifestyle. “Personal stuff.” He wasn’t exactly my best-mate-at-work (that role was occupied by Helen, who was out of the office in my time of need), so I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to get into it with him.

“Bloke trouble?” He scooted over on his desk chair like a conspiratorial roomba.


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
“You know I don’t date,” despite my instinctive privacy, this opportunity to gossip about relationships did have a certain allure to it. I’d only been able to listen in on such conversations before. “What makes you say that, anyway?”

“I heard you were chatting with that Lyndham fella at Portia’s shindig last week,” he raised his eyebrows, the absolute comedian.

“I know him from, you know, a while back,” Larry leaned in, expectant. He wasn’t all that much of a gossip, and I was kind of dying to get some of this stuff outside of my own head, so I decided to divulge a little, “we lived next to each other growing up.”

“Oh, how long?” Larry was absolutely interested. Felt good.

“From when I was maybe, four, until he moved away when I was fourteen.”

“Nothing to sneeze at.”


“And..? You didn’t just let him go.”

“And how do you know?” I challenged him, leaning back with a smirk on my face.

“Come on, you wouldn’t be talking about it if you wasn’t excited.”

“You got me there.” I shrugged, “maybe I got his number.”

“Oi, bravo you!” Larry nudged me, grinning all the while, “a spinster no more, eh?”

“I’m yet to marry the guy, Larry,” I chuckled, “we’ve only been on one date.” I delivered the punchline with a little flourish.

“A date already!” He pointed a pair of finger guns at me, “so long as you invite me to the wedding, alright?” I snorted,

“As if.” Larry winked at me as he rolled back to his computer, grin still on his face. It was a nice thought that other people would be excited for me, but it put some pressure on me too. Now he’d be asking me follow up questions no doubt, innocently hopeful that things are going well but adding an extra layer of disappointment if they don't. And I hadn’t even brought up my insecurity about my hobby. Then again, it was already kind of strange that Charlie was interested in me in the first place - maybe my strange good fortune would hold out a little further.

A few days passed in much the same manner, my anxiety gradually subsiding as I got used to the idea of seeing Charlie again. By Thursday I was staring at our last few texts (my thanking him for a good time and his grateful request to see me again soon), planning what to say next. Eventually, after a little research, I settled on, “hey charlie, witness for the prosecution is on at the gate theatre. fancy going to see it?” lack of capitalisation and all. Hopefully it’d make me seem casual. Unfortunately it was the evening, so I soon started on Tekken and only noticed that Charlie had replied to me near instantly a couple of hours later. Maybe that was too casual. He’d written,

“I’d love to :) do you already have tickets? Which days should I keep clear?” more emoticons. Maybe I was being a little paranoid assuming he’d think I was lame.

“it’s running from the 14th to the 8th of next month. how’s the 26th?” which was a little over a couple of weeks from then. That would allow me some prep time. I got a reply, again a few minutes later,

“Good for me. Let me know how much my ticket is and I’ll pay you back.”

“no way, you paid for my coffee, it’s my turn now”

“At least let me buy you dinner before the show?” That came as a bit of a surprise. He didn’t hang about. Initially I wanted to give him a noncommittal ‘we’ll see’, but the benefit of texting is you can rethink your initial reactions before making a bad impression.

“oh alright then. see you at notting hill station at 5?”

“Perfect :)” I somehow got the impression he was smiling on the other end. It was a nice thought.

During the wait, we texted a little more. Just the odd “off from work, what are you up to?” and one “I’m in london for the evening, fancy a drink?” from Charlie. Unfortunately I had overtime that day and had to turn him down. I felt a little guilty for it, and slightly frustrated that I was being made to choose - for the first time in a long time - between two things that were important to me. I’d have to make some progress on the 26th, make some steps towards understanding what we had, were, or at least were in the general area of being. Charlie seemed to be pretty relaxed still. Maybe he was trying not to scare me off. Or possibly he thought there was no way I’d turn him down.

I really had to stop thinking like that, trying to read Charlie’s mind. A lot of the time you can predict an opponent’s strategy, if you read up on the moveset and test out what’s most effective for yourself, but you can’t treat everything in life like that. There’s no strategy guide for dating, at least not one that works.

Doesn’t mean you can’t ask for advice, though.

I decided to make full use of the friday night before the 26th to gather some mates and see if I could get some help. In a move that was a little overdue anyhow, I asked Helen, Celia, James and Lily over for a game night. Just because Helen is my designated best-mate-at-work doesn’t mean she doesn't count as a best mate in general, I met Celia at university, James was a uni mate from the eSports society, and Lily is James’ wife. Those two met at a SSB Brawl tournament. They’re all good lads.

That friday we watched match of the day and played a few rounds of Smash (Lily isn’t allowed to play Diddy Kong because she slaughters the rest of us every time), ordered a chinese takeaway, braided each others’ hair, etc. I decided to break the news during a lull in activity, when the beer had kicked in and most of those in attendance were quiet.

“So, fellas.” Helen and Celia looked up, while Lily appeared to be asleep on James’ shoulder.

“The reason you’ve gathered us here this evening,” said Celia, steepling her fingers, grinning, and putting on her best Vincent Price,

“The reason! You have been gathered,” I shot back, in a passable but giggly Poirot, “is so I may ask for your… assistance.” There I dropped the accent.

“What’s up?” Lily roused herself from her position on her husband’s shoulder. Hopefully those two would be my most useful source of information.

“Have I ever mentioned a bloke called Charlie Lyndham to any of you?”

“Nah.” All but Helen shook their heads.

“Isn’t he the one Larry said was flirting with you the other week?” There was a fair explosion of laughs and cheers, leaving me to yell over my mates,

“How do you know about that! You are the worst gossip,” I smirked away at her, glad she took the pressure of the reveal off me,

“It’s Larry, he said he gave you his number at that fucken’, finger food party you went to,”

“You’re such a hoe,” I laughed, already feeling more liberated, “so if you know so much about the situation -”

“He wouldn’t tell me everything! I’ve been waiting on this, you know!” Celia clapped her hands once,

“We haven’t even heard about this! Reveal all, you!” She was sat on a beanbag chair, in great Celia fashion, which she scooted over so she could elbow me more effectively, “I can’t believe you’re keeping this good shit from us!”

“Go on Alex, what’s he like?” James leaned forward, his tone a lot more gentle. Lily was quiet beside him, but her eyes belied how excited she was too.

“He's a good lad. We knew each other when we were young, it's really nice to see him again in general to be honest -”

“Does he have a good job!” Celia heckled,

“Yell yeah he does,” Helen answered, “you show up to a Portia party you damn well better,” this got another hoot from Celia.

“He's in PR!”

“Boring,” groaned Lily, “have you shagged him yet?” James gave her arm a playful nudge during the laughter,


“We've been on one date…”


“And, we're going to see a show…” I let them sit in suspense for a moment, “tomorrow…” there was another slightly tipsy roar,

“Get in, Allie!”

“You're in there, no question,”

“Did you propose the date or did he?” I grinned from the positive feedback,

“He invited me out the first time, then I did this one and he said he'd love to…” the room was full of knowing, extremely encouraging grins. I was definitely feeling more confident about the next day. Then Celia asked a question, an innocent enough one, they all knew about my preference so why wouldn't she ask, just in good fun-

“So how much does he weigh?” I bit my lip. That was something I hadn't wanted to go into.


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
Part 4:

In the end I didn't tell the lads that Charlie was actually quite slim. It was a childish thing really, but I ducked the question until it was dropped. This behaviour only put more of a question mark over that side of things in my mind, and got me thinking again about Charlie's soft little belly. He'd said he'd think about what I'd said. Was it stewing away in his head, waiting to boil over at the worst moment, or had he forgotten about it? Had he missed the point of what I was trying to say? I tried to compartmentalise these questions as things I'd have to find out on our trip to the theatre, but it was hard to get them out of my head.

I spent an anxious hour getting ready before taking the train to Notting Hill, desperately trying to find the right mix of classy and accessible. Helen and Lily had been very helpful in picking a dress (a modest mid-thigh length black number, paired with a soft leather jacket) and giving me a little tutorial on how to apply primer, then foundation, then some other things I forgot the names of… I mucked up royally trying to recreate the effect for myself the next day, so I went with light makeup, a peach lipstick and a little bit of eyeshadow. It was the most makeup I’d worn in a long time. It felt like I was jinxing the situation just a bit, by putting that much effort in, but it was definitely fun dressing myself up like that. I even wore heels.

The train ride was uneventful enough, but my nerves started building up when I left the house. All of a sudden I was locked in, no more prep, just go-time. And then, when I arrived, I got a text saying he’d be late. I wasn’t angry at him, per se, still I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable stood at the top of the tube steps. Waiting. Thankfully he arrived quite soon afterwards - I’d been on my phone so a tap on the shoulder had been necessary.

“Alex!” I looked up. It was definitely Charlie, though I think he’d been jogging since his face had a distinct shine to it. “I’m-” he paused to catch his breath. Yeah, he’d been running to try and arrive on time… “I’m so sorry I’m late.”

“That’s okay, it’s only a few minutes.” I smiled, hopefully in a reassuring manner. He bent over slightly, still breathing a bit heavily. His coat was open, so when he bent he revealed a light blue shirt with - wait, wait wait, was his stomach always that prominent?

“I’m so sorry,” he straightened up again, pulling his coat around himself, “do you want to go get a drink?” The fact that his chest was still visibly bobbing told me he very much wished I’d say yes.

“Yeah, sure thing.” After a quick look on google, we found and ducked into a nearby pub. It wasn’t too busy, there was just a nice buzz going, and there was plenty of space at the bar for myself and Charlie. Nice decor too, traditional but not antiquated. Good.

“So, what would you like?”

“Uhh, a cider for me.”

“Are you going to let me pay?” I considered this.

“So long as you don’t mention your ticket again.” He grinned,

“Deal.” That grin was interesting. I could swear there was something different about it. And then we sat down, and here’s the kicker, Charlie took his coat off. His figure as well was definitely… definitely different. “Uh, hi,” I could tell he’d started ordering our drinks, but from my perspective it was as though all sound had been blocked out. I was only focused on one thing.

Charlie had... more than the little tummy I’d felt that day in the park, I’ll say that much. His pot belly had softened noticeably, to the point that it was threatening to hang over his belt when he was sat down like that. To make matters worse, his shirt was just the slightest bit too small to hide the fact that his body had gotten thicker, the softer flesh of his chest and his faint love handles pressing against the fabric. He wasn’t falling out of it or anything, but I could tell he’d put on some weight since I’d last seen him. That’s what had been different about his face, I realised. When he smiled, his chubbier cheeks became all the more evident.

“Alex?” I blinked, coming back to the present. “Cider, right?” I looked over to the bartender, who was waiting for my say.

“Uhhh, yes. Thank you,” I said, annoyed at myself for getting distracted. Had I been staring? I wasn’t sure. Charlie didn’t seem upset, so I assumed he hadn’t noticed.

“So, what’s been happening to you?” We talked work while we had our drinks, a little bit of gossip, rehashed Charlie’s concerns over the merger and his place in it all. I reiterated that he was very welcome. The whole time, I had to take great pains not to look at his body. Even his arms had puffed up noticeably, and occasionally a tiny little double chin was visible on him. He’d think about what I’d said…

“Charlie, uh…” He looked at me expectantly. I went with the safer topic, “we’ve been here a while, and the play is at eight-thirty.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Were we going to eat before, or -” His eyes widened,

“Oh, didn’t I say? I made us a reservation…” My eyebrows went up. Nice forward planning. “It’s an italian place. I figured, you know, everybody likes italian, and we can always cancel...” I nodded,

“Yeah, sounds good. Close?” He nodded.

“It is in…” He checked his watch. The Rolex. “A little under half an hour. Do you want to get moving now? Are you hungry?” Privately I thought he was the one who looked hungry, but I said,

“I like to be in plenty of time is all. I don’t mind.”

“No, that’s good, we can get going now.” He stood up, giving me a slightly clearer view of his midsection. It was rounder than the last time I’d seen it, no question… he stretched, and I could see a slight imprint of his belly button through the fabric. I composed myself while he put his coat back on. I really wanted to touch that stomach again. We left the pub and he quickly got his bearings, before saying, “follow me?”

“Nah,” I said, striding ahead of him, “you be navigator, I’m the captain.” In a bolder move, I lightly grabbed his arm and strode in what I assumed was the right direction. My whimsy got me a laugh from Charlie,

“Alright Captain Alex, starboard at the next junction.” Within a few minutes we got bored of the game, so I defaulted to just walking beside him with my arm resting comfortably around his, and our damn coats blocking me from feeling how soft his side was. I cursed the weather for making it so necessary we cover up. Chit chat continued, about places we liked in London, books we’d read, films we’d seen. I enjoyed the way he talked about this stuff - in depth, like he was always paying attention. Thinking about things. It was nice. “And, here we are.” We came to a stop outside a small, modern looking restaurant, quite airy and open inside but not too spartan. We were seated (they didn’t mind that we were ten minutes early), and soon we were looking at the menu. This, I realised, would almost certainly be a telling experience. Was it the right time to bring up food with Charlie? He’d think about it…


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
“Hey, Alex?” I realised I’d buried my face in my menu while I was deep in thought. I peeked over the top at Charlie.

“Yeah?” His expression wasn’t what I’d expected to see. Way more serious. I felt cold, then hot, as I silently panicked over the possibility of him saying something bad.

“So I know this is the second time I’ve said this to you.” I nodded. “But uh… once again, I look different from the last time you saw me.” I put my menu down. This sounded important. Charlie placed one tentative hand on his tummy.

“A little bit, yeah…” he blushed,

“Alex, I can tell you’ve noticed, it’s okay.” He shifted in his seat, “like I said, I’ve been thinking, quite a lot actually… about what you said to me the last time we met.” Brows up. Expectant. Hardly thinking. “And it’s the first time someone’s, given me that perspective. And, honestly, you repeated, well… it was like you read my mind. Or at least, you reminded me of the kinds of opinions I’ve been pushing down for a long time.” My mouth was so dry. Oh my god. Was he getting embarrassed? Yeah, I thought he was, “A few years ago I lost a lot of weight and it wasn’t, easy, at all, but there were circumstances in my life that… added up, and…” he looked at me with big eyes, big, gentle, green eyes, and I had no idea what to say. It eventually hit me that he wanted some feedback, not to be just throwing these ideas out into the ether, but for the life of me I couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say. Eventually I mustered an,

“Oh.” No, wait. That was terrible. He looked so discouraged. Crunch time, Alex. Don’t fuck it up. “Wait, fuck. Let me try again.” I took a breath. Okay. Time to talk. “From the sound of things, that was something you needed to hear. And I’m glad, if that’s the case, that I could give it to you. I don’t, think? You’ve been brainwashed by my opinion?” I tilted my head, getting a small smile from Charlie for my trouble, “I mean hell, society at large is so fatphobic, the only way it makes sense for you to be agreeing with me right now is if you already agreed on some level.” He nodded. Looked like he was preparing to open his mouth again. I shoved in a little disclaimer, “but you don’t have to justify anything you’ve done with your body to anyone, least of all me. It’s only coincidence that what I thought is coinciding with your current feelings. Again... What matters is what you think.”

I saw that his hand was just lying there on the table. It was a cheesy thing to do, yeah. But I decided, fuck it, and I reached out to touch it. Charlie swallowed.

“I really want to talk to you about this.” I nodded.

“That’s perfectly fine with me.” Deep breath, for both of us.

“I know we’re only just getting to know the adult versions of each other, but. I really like you, Alex.” My cheeks were going pink, I could tell. You’re an idiot, I thought, he puts some weight on and all of a sudden you can’t help yourself.

“I like you too, Charlie,” and that was true, in fact, though I wasn’t about to commit or anything...

“Good!” A smile, yes, that was positive, “not to get ahead of ourselves or anything.”

“No -”

“But that's why I want to tell you, this,” he patted his stomach, “was kind of intentional.” I blinked. Because no fucking way. “I’ve gone on a diet. Or rather, maybe you'd call it an anti-diet. Whatever,” he nudged his hand just a little more under mine, “I decided to stop counting calories and worrying about all that stuff, for a while. I was really struggling to maintain my old weight, as you could probably see, so this is reducing my stress levels a lot, and I think if I keep it up I'll definitely be able to handle the jump to Archman-Leo. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not planning to outgrow my wardrobe or anything…” he looked down, a touch embarrassed at the idea.

“That…” no, no, definitely shouldn't say that would be hot. No. Not the time.

“Look, the point of all this is, I feel like I can be genuine around you, and it makes me feel like I want to be more genuine in other parts of my life too. That's, what all that was leading up to,” he let out a self conscious chuckle, “a little anticlimactic.”

“No, not at all.” Genuine. Maybe I should tell him, I thought. That he's not nearly fat enough. But then again, I had some idea of what his appetite was like. If he was gonna live a true-to-Charlie life, he'd definitely be gaining more weight no matter what I said. Better to stay quiet for now and not put any pressure on him. “That's great, actually.” Maybe I should tell him just one thing, for the sake of fairness, “you know, when you took me out for coffee... I couldn't believe it when you asked me if we should call it a date?” Charlie's mouth made an O,

“Is that why you went so quiet?”

“Yeah. I thought you just wanted to catch up. It was kind of unbelievable… I still don't really understand, to be honest...”

“Alex, I don't want to come on too strong on only the second date…” he leaned forward. I wished I'd be able to see what his gut looked like when he did that, “but, as far as I can tell, you're a sweet, charming, funny, intelligent…” his turn to blush, “attractive woman. And as a bonus you don't even seem to mind that I'm a bit fat at the moment.” No you aren't a bit fat, I thought. Chubby at most. Not nearly enough. Patience, Alex. Focus on the fact that he just complimented you really hard. I think that part just slid right off my mind without sticking, as compliments tended to. No way was I all that great.

“Very nice of you to say,” I mumbled. That little admission got me a stunning kilowatt smile. Cute. “I think, you know… you're a lot of fun, and, I really like talking to you, I like that you're good at what you do, and attentive, and…” okay okay okay time to take the plunge if only part way, dip your toe in Alex, “I kind of can't believe I haven't already made this obvious enough, but I prefer men with some meat on their bones.” I cursed myself for using such a weak, broad simile for 'fat blokes’, but if I told him I wished he'd pack on at least 8 stone, there was no way that would go down well.

“Good for me, then.” He gingerly opened his menu, “I'm glad we came here. It's made me bring that stuff up.” He paused briefly to closer inspect his options, “because this restaurant is amazing, and I've been restricting myself for far, far too long. So, if you don't mind?” I looked up at him. “I plan to eat like a pig."


Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
(Oh my gosh, thank you so much everybody <3 I was never expecting this much attention! The reason I haven't updated for a couple of weeks is I've been pretty busy with exam season, so I've had less writing time. It is a relaxing study break activity though, so luckily I do have another instalment to offer...)

Part 5:
It was meant to be a joke.

Of course, of course it was meant to be a joke. He was right there, waiting for me to react to the punchline, intending it to have been an exaggeration, and all I could do was stare and go an intense beet red. Truth is, it was all getting to be a bit too much. I hadn't had a reality check in a while. Was I seriously on a date with an attractive man who was happily letting his weight tick up, calling himself a pig right in front of me? A cartoonish suggestion that I was being pranked surfaced in my mind. Was his earnest expression going to suddenly crease up with laughter?

“Not literally.” He clarified himself uncomfortably in my silence. Ah crap, it had to have looked like I was having a bad reaction to the idea. “I just mean… I was going to order two mains…” he looked down at his menu, evidently a little ashamed of himself behind those eyelashes, “the lobster dish here is actually really small, more of a, side, really…” I couldn't keep doing this, I thought. Can't fix every situation with retroactive sweet talk. I had to get tougher.

“Charlie, don't go making excuses, it's fine. You just surprised me, that's all.” His brow was furrowed, too many lines for my liking showing up between his fine eyebrows. “Go on. Eat like a pig.” I came so close to stumbling over the ‘p’ in pig. So close. Still, Charlie regained his smile (even if it was a little crooked), so it was definitely worth it. I could hardly pay attention to the menu I was so dizzy and overstimulated by the whole thing. The revelations regarding Charlie's outlook, the amount of weight he'd already put on (though, I reasoned, it was probably accelerated by being a rebound gain), the way his neck fat bunched when he looked down at his menu. Amazing.

“Are you guys ready to order?” I hadn't noticed that the waiter had come over. That seemed to be a running theme for the day, getting absorbed in analysis and missing the finer details. Our server was a tall, slim young man with a ponytail and a polite smile on his face.

“Umm…” I quickly scanned the menu, “I’d like the chicken pesto pasta, please.”

“No starter?” I was about to shake my head, then considered that Charlie probably wanted one (or two) and it wouldn't be kind to leave him eating alone.

“Uh, yeah actually, the tomato bruschetta, please. And, could I have a glass of the house rosé? Thanks.” The waiter nodded graciously at me, then turned his attention to Charlie.

“Hi, uh… could I get the lobster in butter sauce, the la reine pizza…” there was a pause, a critical pause, “the uh, lasagna, and for my starter the leek and potato soup, thanks. And some water.”

“Great, thank you,” as we handed over our menus. Damn, nothing to hide behind now. It was just me and Charlie.

“Enough alcohol for one day?”

“I have a pretty low tolerance,” he thought of something, then chuckled, “especially for a fat guy.” Why did he have to keep dropping the f word? Was it supposed to make me laugh? What!

“I can, uh… drink okay.” I needed to get better with being flustered. I may as well have tried to communicate in a series of rhythmic grunts. “It's good to pace yourself though.”

“I just don't want to get sloppy this evening…” our drinks were brought to us, water poured, my glass of wine set in front of me. In retrospect, I'd probably benefited somewhat from my earlier cider, but it wouldn't be smart to get too tipsy either. So would this wine help me or harm me? I opted to drink some water and wait for the food to arrive first. “I'm really looking forward to the show. I haven't seen a Christie play in person before.”

“It's gotten good reviews. I saw And Then There Were None when I was a lot younger, but no Christie since then.”

“Do you go to the theatre a lot?” I'd already finished my glass of water. I poured myself some more,

“I wish I could. It gets a bit expensive,” and at that moment, my eye was caught by a glint of light bouncing off his Rolex. That stupid watch. It said, this guy could afford front row seats as many nights as he wanted. An unbearably well meaning look crossed his expression,

“Are you sure you're okay with paying for -”

“Yes.” Firm tone. Charlie nodded,

“I'm sorry, we agreed I wouldn't bring that up.”

“No worries.”

There was a part of me that wanted to clarify, very insistently, that I didn’t live like a churchmouse. I was doing well for myself. Even if my flat was in a crappy area and his most decidedly was not, even if he dressed in a much flashier way than I did. I couldn’t let myself get insecure about our obvious disparity. He was older than me, I reasoned, it’s not strange that he should be earning more than me.

“I suppose I’ve been indoctrinated to assume that the man should pay, which isn't all that great, is it? Splitting things is much more balanced.”

“I just don’t like owing people money…” I shrugged.

“Accountant’s instinct?”

“Maybe.” The small talk continued until our starters arrived. I could appreciate how fresh and vibrant everything looked, and I found the sharp, juicy tomato on my bruschetta sobering, which was helpful. Charlie fair hoovered down his soup, making enthusiastic noises about how rich it was the whole way, finishing before most of my starter had even been touched. It didn't take long for him to start making eyes at it. As though unprompted, I asked casually, “would you like to try a piece?” His eyes darted, guilty at being caught looking at my food,

“Only if you don't mind.”

“Of course I don’t,” I had a very strong impulse to straight up offer him the piece I was holding, like I was about to hand feed him the thing. I wish. Instead, after a moment to restrain myself, I slid the plate across the table towards him. Charlie happily munched on a piece, again eating with adorable abandon. Everything disappeared down his throat, giving the impression of a man giving in to a recklessness he'd been burying for a long time. And recklessness it was, because he actually started eating another piece, then another. I'd had enough bruschetta, I decided, so I didn't stop him from blissfully finishing them off for me. “What do you think?”

“Really great!” There was a moment. Then his demeanor quickly turned from a sparkly-eyed, oblivious happiness, to intense embarrassment. Had it been mean of me to let him finish my bruschetta? “Oh, shit.” Eyes dart down, up, down again. “Did you want..?”

“No, don't worry about it,” I showed him my very best reassuring smile, “it's absolutely fine. You looked like you were enjoying yourself, so.” He squirmed.

“Thank you. Even if I didn't ask beforehand.” He kept deferring to me, ever so cutely. Don't worry Charlie, I forgave you for eating my food.

“It was good, huh? This restaurant was a really good pick,” hopefully that would boost his ego a little. I got a proud, devilish little smile for my trouble,

“Wait until the main course arrives.” Indeed I was bursting with anticipation, though not so much for myself. I wanted to see Charlie eat again. When he found something he liked, I realised, he almost went into a fugue state, eyes closed, cheeks bulging, just. Lost in bliss. The speed at which he could put it away was familiar, but I'd never seen that look on his face before. “Alex, I just want to say something,” and then he was coming over all sincere again, “thanks for coming out with me today.”

“I'm enjoying myself,” a smile to go along with that, “you're good company.” He continued to be so, chatting away amicably with me, eventually bringing up an art auction he'd been to recently. Apparently he'd watched some people bid on a Jackson Pollock in a warehouse. It turned out there'd been a disagreement as to whether the piece in question was a reproduction or an original, and a fistfight had broken out. Even so it sounded classier than anything I'd done in the last year, especially when Charlie started talking about how a genuine Pollock is a free expression of emotion, and one can tell when it's a reproduction because it's been made by someone who's just following the dots, and something about authorial intent and the soul of a painting. Before I could risk embarrassment by bringing up a tourney story which also involved a fistfight, our main course arrived.
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Grabby Hands Sr.
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2017
“Alright, I've been looking forward to this forever,” he mused, that shiny look back in his eyes. My legs tingled as three generous plates were set down before him, one a little more modest than the others, and a helping of pasta was given to me. I had to have his lobster dish (which really didn't look like a 'side’ to me) sat on my end of the table just to make room for everything he'd ordered. On second thought, I was actually really glad I wasn't the one paying for all this - I could just kick back, relax, and enjoy watching Charlie pig out.

“It looks great…” I picked up my fork and it was like I'd set off a starting pistol. He dug in almost instantly, delicately sliding forkfuls of lasagna into his mouth, then pizza, then gingerly leaning over for a portion of lobster and then back again, lost in a combination of different flavours and textures. I slowly chewed my own meal (which was good by the way, very good), fascinated with him. I had to be staring but he couldn't have cared, probably didn't even notice considering how dead to the world he was. The restaurant could have collapsed around us and he'd still be making love to that lasagna.

“This is amazing,” he managed to mumble out, once most of the lobster was demolished and his lasagna only had a few bites to go, “I can't believe the last time I was here I ordered a salad. I mean the salads are good, sure, but,” he indicated his nearly empty plates lazily, “this stuff is unbelievable.”

“Mine is really good too,” I'd only gotten halfway through my plate and I was getting slower and slower. I hadn't set out with the intent to do so, bit with a glass of wine in me I already knew in my heart of hearts which move I was going to pull. Though it would need to wait until Charlie was almost done with his food. I started picking at mine, dawdling over each mouthful. Eventually, while he was mopping up any excess butter with some bread, he noticed my little show.

“Alex, are you alright?” He looked at me with big, genuine eyes. There was a slight glisten of butter around his cute, plump mouth. He'd lain back just a little, to make room for his big meal to sit comfortably. Words failed me. “Alex?” I couldn't stop. My throat was absolutely dry, a lump the size of Newcastle was stuck in it, my mind was in a fog. His tongue flicked out to lick away the butter.

“I, I'm just…” my voice absolutely betrayed me. I may as well have screamed my lust over an intercom. Our eyes locked. On autopilot, I finished my sentence, “I'm getting full.” Another tense moment passed between us. Charlie's face flushed.

“Alex.” His eyes darted down then around, then back to me. His voice was similarly dry. I was gripped with intense uncertainty. What was this reaction meant to be? “Are you sure?” His flush was fading somewhat. “You haven't eaten much…”

“No, really,” it wasn't going as well as I'd imagined, damn it, “I was just wondering if you wanted to try some…” again there was that nervous flicking about of the eyes, revisiting the evidence of his binge, then gazing longingly at my pasta.

“Only if you don't mind.” Again with whether I minded. Couldn't he just take it? He slid my plate over to his side, piling his old plates up to make room. I couldn't take my eyes off him. He was eating a little slower now, more methodically. After a few mouthfuls, his eyes once again met mine. He lowered his forkful of pasta. “Alex.” I tensed. “Why do you keep looking at me like that?” He spoke slowly, carefully.

I had to be blowing this.

Maybe I should say something. Alcohol powers, don't fail me now.

“You're very attractive.” Eyes down.

“Thank you.” More silence. That pasta had to be getting cold. “You've been looking at me while I'm eating.” And then he wasn't looking at me. Shit, shit. “And, look…” he bit his lip. He was panicking. Oh good lord did he think I was judging him? I could tell he was about to launch into a babble, some awful tirade that I'd have to coquettishly correct. Screw that.

“Charlie, are you into this?” You see the thing is, I could swear he was turned on too. You can just tell. You know what kind of energy I mean. I'm talking two faces drifting towards each other after a series of space-invading giggles and elbow touches. The few seconds of being hesitant, unsure, then the mutual relief of reciprocation. Of course I was missing that last part as of then, but the vibe was unmistakable. Or at least, I hoped so. The resurgence of Charlie's tomato-blush seemed to agree with me, anyway.

“What do you mean.” That look, like he had a guilty secret I'd just uncovered. I gave him a meaningful up and down glance.

“That way.” He blinked. “You know. That way.”

“Alex, it…” his eyebrows had bunched themselves up, worry distinct on his face,

“I'm not judging you,” I whispered. This was a poor choice of words.

“Alex, I’m sorry, if you think I’m being gross -” Oh, hell no. Time to be direct.

“I am.” Silence. Hang on, that didn't sound right. “Into, it. That is. I'm not judging you.” Charlie squirmed. Couldn't decide where to look.

“Is that why you've been,” he adjusted his clothing self consciously, “looking at me?” I was starting to get frustrated. The conversation was getting way too bogged down in uncertainty.

“Charlie, how about this.” I leant forward. “Let's take it as read, for now, that we have a similar thing about, food.” Damn it, this was no time to delve into euphemisms, “maybe more of a, two sides of the same coin deal. Either way. We can talk about it later. Don't worry. Just know that I don't think any differently of you.” He nodded.

“Okay.” I felt like a coward for delaying the conversation. It was just, what if I'd actually misread him? I still had some backpedal room if it didn't turn out to be the case, yeah, but what would it mean for us if he turned out to be into, well. Everything I was, pretty much. My head instantly filled with images of a much heavier Charlie licking butter off his lips.

I wouldn't be able to resist getting closer to him. Is that healthy, to put that kind of pressure on a fledgling relationship? Needed to get to know the bloke better.

“Isn’t your pasta getting cold?” He looked at it like he'd forgotten it was there. Took a bite.

“Nah, not quite.”

“Go on, then.” He happily shoveled down the rest, but some of the spark was gone. He was too self conscious to really lose himself in his food like before. We paid - well, he paid - and I was soon treated again when Charlie stood up. At some point he'd loosened his belt a couple of notches to make room for his expanded tummy, which was now pressing against his shirt proper. He stood clumsily, one hand on his gut to soothe it.

“Maybe I ate a bit too much…” he mumbled, fumbling for his coat. I knew he didn't regret it, though. I longed to give him a belly rub. It looked as though he had a generous layer of pudge over his stomach, which helped give it that cute, round shape that was now so much more visible through his clothes. I could've wept when he covered it up with his coat. “Ready?” I nodded.

“To the theatre then?”

“Sounds good.” Talking to Charlie felt different, somehow. There was a constant, cloudy sense of something being left unsaid. Namely the fact that I was being practically tortured by Charlie and his newfound hedonism. Maybe leaving the restaurant would clear my head. The whole place just felt too, charged.

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