(Hi all, I suppose everyone is familiar with real life sometime getting in the way of our online pursuits, and sadly in my case this story has been no exception... thankfully, I've now reached a point where I'm able to regularly update again, and hopefully finish this thing off!)
As we stepped outside a welcome blast of cool air hit me. It helped anchor me to the present in my slightly-not-sober state. I realised that my earlier plot to get Charlie to eat more had backfired on me a little, in that I hadn't had enough pasta to really soak up my wine. You may have noticed by now that it takes very little to get me tipsy, and the events of the day weren't helping either.
“Do you mind if we go slowly?” Charlie's food baby was mostly covered up by his coat, but the way his gait had been effected was harder to miss. “I'm kind of…”
“Of course, I don't mind.” I wanted to take his hand, like I had briefly in the restaurant, but there's a significant and delicate difference between walking hand in hand and walking with arms touching. I decided against it. “Do you want to sit somewhere and digest?”
“No, I need to walk it off.” His hands naturally wandered midriff-ways, probing for a way to relieve some pressure. “I usually do fine with a little stroll, it's alright.” Usually, what a lovely sentiment… the idea that he had a routine for overcoming an overfull stomach...
“If you say so.” Dusk was rolling in and the city landscape was changing, different people taking to the streets, lights being switched on. Conversation lulled as we slowly made our way to the theatre, though fortunately not in an awkward way. It was just a different kind of companionship, more simple, quiet. At least it felt that way to me. I had to hope Charlie was enjoying it as much as I was, especially since there was no risk of saying anything embarrassing when conversation wasn’t flowing. The floaty sensation lent to me by the alcohol made the city seem almost dreamlike, and the unbelievable situation I’d found myself in even moreso. I let my shoulder playfully bump into Charlie’s, which got me a smirk.
“What’s up?” I shoulder checked him again,
“No, what is it?” Another nudge,
“No-o-othing…” This time he pushed me back, very gently of course,
“Come on, what’s on your mind?” There was only really one thing on my mind, there could have only been one thing on his mind, but it was obvious to me that it wasn’t the time to embark on the whole food conversation. First, Agatha Christie. Those tickets weren’t cheap. “Alex?”
“We’re here,” I looked up at the theatre’s facade. I felt fun and flirty, almost teasing. Maybe we could discuss things in depth after the show. The thought was still a little scary, but the atmosphere had been de-escalating since we'd left the restaurant and I hoped that by the end of the evening we’d be in a decent position to put more of ourselves out there. We couldn't just leave it.
“Do you wanna go and sit down?”
“Yeah, don't want them starting without us.” It may have been a little childish of me but I relished pulling the all-important tickets out of my bag and brandishing them myself. Felt like I definitely had done my share of the work for this date. The theatre itself was appropriately pokey and intimate, and Charlie didn't have trouble fitting into the seats, which he actually brought up to me - a hushed little admission that he still half expects to get trapped or just not fit at all in such places. I took it as a definite indicator that we were going to be talking weight when the play was over.
I actually had a bit of difficulty focusing on the production itself. I kept looking over at Charlie to try and gauge whether he was enjoying himself or to try and catch a glimpse of his plump little face. So it was only when nearing the end that I realised, I didn't know what ending the play was going to have. Witness for the Prosecution has two endings - one which has the reveal of the spicy twist as the finale (I shan't spoil it don't worry), the other has the murderer brought to justice by rather a deus ex machina. The gambling woman in me was getting more and more sober by this point, and was getting increasingly anxious about the conversation which was almost certainly awaiting her at the end of the play.
So she had a little wager with herself. If the murderer gets stabbed at the end, I would have to expose my biggest neuroses to my childhood crush no matter what. If they did not, I would have permission to postpone it again. When the murderer’s mistress arrived for the final scene, my heart simultaneously jumped, vomited, and was kicked in the bollocks. Facing the reality of the situation without alcohol wasn't the most welcome of prospects. But this was an issue that needed to be confronted with a clear head. And anyway, Christie had won the bet. I couldn't let her down.
“So, what did you think?” I asked as we filed out of the theatre,
“I enjoyed it, I really should go to these kinds of things more often. There's something about live performance that gets you so invested, don't you think?” He had an excited expression on his face, one I'd quickly learnt to associate with a certain slightly pretentious but raptured appreciation for the arts. “Knowing that what's happening is a performance nobody else will ever see again, that bond between actor and viewer…”
“You know the play has two endings?”
“Oh?” He left his reverie to hear about my trivia, at this point we were out and approaching the station again,
“Yeah. In one he totally gets away with it.”
“Really? I don't know if I'd have enjoyed it as much if that were the case,” and so on and so forth, with me leading a distracted Charlie towards the line I had to take to get home. I didn't want to leave him behind… and while I was nervous about the prospect of asking him to come home with me and all that implies, I still wanted to. Had to at least try.
“It looks like we have to split here,” I said, knowing full well that we were stood right by my platform and not at all near his, “unless, you want to stick with me.” Nervous little sidle up to him. Charlie was pink.
“As a matter of fact, I, uh,” he stumbled on his line delivery but he got back to it like a champ, “I, I really do.” He gave me a nervous smile, “no pressure, okay?” I nodded,
“No pressure.” We were quiet on the journey home, the darkness and the exhilaration of the date making us sleepy. It felt to me like we were doing something illicit, sneaking away into a private space away from prying eyes. Of course there was no reason why we shouldn't, but I couldn't help but be excited. Knowing we really looked like a couple, sitting together on trains with our heads on each other's shoulders, meant a lot to me. Those quiet moments made me believe in a mutual appreciation for one another that we could share freely.
Soon, not soon enough but kind of all too soon, we were climbing the stairs to my apartment. I clicked the door shut behind us, as Charlie wandered into my living room.
“Do you want something to drink? Tea or anything?”
“I'm alright,” Charlie slipped off his jacket and slumped onto my sofa, “still stuffed.”
“I can see…” his little pot belly was still prominent, pressing against his shirt.
“It always looks a bit like that these days,” he said sheepishly, “I'm turning into a… well, a real…” he fiddled with his shirt. “I'm getting fat.”
“Charlie, you're not fat-”
“You don't mind though, do you.” Not a question. A statement. I processed this. “Sorry, I'm not being too forward, am I?”
“No! No, Charlie, you're fine.” I sat down next to him, close enough that I could feel his body heat. We were alone… “I'm just… still surprised that this is happening to me, I guess.”
“What do you mean?” He twisted round to see me better, and his shirt came just a little bit untucked. I couldn't keep my eyes away, and it just slipped out;
(Bit of a content warning here - nothing super explicit coming up, but definitely sexual. Thanks for reading!)
“You're really hot.” Oh my god it sounded so lame coming out of my mouth, what was I, a teenager, and while I was busy being mortified Charlie was smiling and untucking his shirt,
“I was so relieved,” oh no I could see some tummy fuzz I was so going to be done for, “when you asked me if I was into eating like that, that way. I don't know why, but having a full belly makes me feel so right and secure,” I caught a glimpse of a small fold along his side, “and I don't understand it but. It's erotic, Alex…” It felt as though the world were brighter, somehow. Like I'd been walking with my head down and eyes hooded until that moment. I felt so intensely awake and alive, it was a moment that needed its own swelling orchestra, or a low baseline pumping in time with my heartbeat. It sounds theatrical, but how else can you contextualise your dreams coming true? There was no holding back.
“Oh my god, I know.” That familiar set of eyes shone away at me,
“I feel like you've removed a blockade for me. Look,” he sighed, it was full of so much longing, “I love eating. I love feeling my belly swell up. I can't stop it Alex, I even courted a potentially embarrassing situation with you earlier, I, I half hoped you'd tell me off for being a glutton or something - this part of me feels like it's been reawakened. I feel a hunger inside me that's as strong and broad as a rising tide. I ate how I want to for a couple of weeks, and here I am, getting so fat so quickly. I've struggled for a long time. Now I just want to be me. The real me.”
There was only one reasonable response to that.
I kissed him.
And then I kissed him some more. His lips we so soft, yielding, gentle, I felt like I'd had some barrier broken down for me too, as my hands roamed to his midsection and felt a layer of unmistakable softness. He mumbled to me through shallow breaths,
“You - loved it - when I called - myself - a pig, earlier, didn't you..?” I came up for air,
“You fucking bet I did,” shooting him the biggest, cheekiest grin I could muster. Charlie practically threw his arms around me, stealing more kisses, and I let my hands slide under his shirt to knead and fondle his soft body, find the extra flab clinging to his ribcage, the chest that was starting to yield warm soft mounds of fat, the cuddly upper arms that held me… it was as though we'd become one mind, both knowing exactly what the other wanted, and in a flash of inspiration I banished my shyness with one beautiful phrase;
“You're getting fat, piggy…” he moaned, the most perfect sound I'd ever heard, and pressed his fat into me further. I completely forgot my worries about our relationship. It seemed like there was nothing in the whole world that could ruin this for us. “You should watch out. If you keep eating like this - you'll be more than just chubby.” I felt his tongue touch my lips, plaintive, so I let my own gently nudge against his. We kissed long and low and deeply, gradually shedding clothes, migrating to my bed. Charlie was in the process of removing his trousers when I asked,
“Charlie, what - what do you want to happen now?” He looked up at me,
“I want to make you feel amazing. How that happens, or… if you don't want something to happen, that's up to you.”
“I don't want to go all the way-”
“Of course, that's okay.” He'd revealed those beautiful, chubby legs. They had stretch marks snaking delicately across his soft inner thighs. I had the overwhelming urge to bite them. “What about if I eat you out?” A smirk found its way onto his face. He knew what joke was coming.
“You should be good at that,” I quipped, wriggling out of my underwear, “Lord knows you've the appetite for it, fat boy.” He grinned, then took my hips gently and started to pleasure me with his tongue. To put none too fine a point on it, he was sensational. I goaded him on with comments such as, “come on, show me your appetite,” and, “aren’t you hungry for more? I know you are, the way you eat you'd think your belly is never full,” arousing us both. I thought about the massive amounts I knew he could put away, imagined his dazed expression after getting absolutely stuffed full. I was close to orgasm when he inserted a finger, and carefully he brought me there. I came with an incredibly intense shudder, collapsing afterwards. I hadn't even been touching him…
“Did you enjoy that?” He asked, knowing the answer full well. The cheeky sod.
“Fuck yeah, I did.” His smug expression grew all the more satisfied. “I just thought of something,” I said, maneuvering myself such that I could get my hands on his body again, “do you remember when I told you that I had a crush on you? When we were young?” Charlie blushed,
“Our first date, yeah.”
“You told me soon after, that at one time you'd weighed twenty five stone…” this frazzled him a little, caught him between embarrassment and pleasure.
“I used to be really, really fat…” I reached over and jiggled his modest belly,
“What say we get you another step closer to your old self tonight?” Charlie's eyes went wide.
“More food?” His voice was hesitant, but it still held a distinct kernel of intrepidity, “I have digested quite a lot since the restaurant, but…”
“I've seen how much you can eat.” Another encouraging little pat to his belly, “you're more of a pig than a man. So I'm going to feed you up properly.”
“Hang on, Alex, wait. Wait a minute…” my stomach dropped. Charlie sat back on his haunches, expression suddenly serious, “I don't know if I'm ready for that yet. I appreciate the dirty talk, I really do, but, I'm blowing up like crazy as is and I don't want to give you unrealistic expectations of what I can handle…”
“Shit, Charlie, it's fine-!” I scrambled to pull him into a hug, my coordination a bit sloppy from our activities, “of course, of course… please don't feel obligated to do anything. Honestly, just being able to say these things out loud feels like-”
“Like an exorcism!” Charlie blurted, enthusiastic, “like something primal bursting out, something we've pushed down!”
“Yeah, that's it…”
“Oh lord, come here…” we wrapped ourselves in the sheets, sharing body heat and nonsense whispers. We lay there in the aftermath of our outburst, and Charlie said,
“I've never had this with someone else before, you know.” He grasped my hand. “Do you feel it, Alex? I feel such a connection with you, and not just over the fat and food thing, I think you're so, just, really-”
“I know, Charlie.” I kissed his cheek. Now, an important moment had come. Could I, in good conscience, considering everything that had led up to this, say what he obviously wanted to hear? “I feel the same way.” Absolutely. I'd never been able to say the things I'd said to him out loud. This miracle, this show stopper - so what if he was a little oblivious sometimes? Charlie. Charlie was lying there, with me. I felt a wave of warm, soft feelings rising in my chest. It was unique.
“I really,” he took my hand, “really like you.”
“I want to see where this goes,” I wriggled closer to him, “what do you think?”
“Definitely.” He glanced at his suit, which was strewn about my meagre bedroom, the general aftermath of the night, “you don't mind if I sleep here tonight?” I placed my head solidly on his chest,
Well everyone, I'm afraid to say the buck stops here. When I began this story, I was just starting possibly the worst relationship of my life, which (without providing the gory details) is saying something. As this relationship drew all my time, energy, happiness and creative drive from me, helped along by other life events, updating this story got harder and harder. Now that six months have passed since I escaped that situation and things are finally stable and really looking up, naturally I want to start posting again. But I find it extremely difficult to pick this story up, due to the association built between it and maybe the hardest year and a half of my life so far.
So I'm afraid I'll have to end it with this, somewhat rambling chapter that was begun in line with the others and not really finished or polished. Let me leave you with this little slice of kind, relaxing domesticity, and the knowledge that all would have gotten a happy ending eventually. Alex would go to EVO with Tekken 7, and her hobby would not come between herself and Charlie. Charlie would settle into his new position at Alex's company, despite accompanying gossip, and he would not let material possessions or the opinions of those who don't know him determine his self worth.
So, apologies - hopefully my next attempt will live up to its potential a little better ^^; and finally, thanks to everyone who took the time to read my scribblings. Hopefully I'll see you next time!
The next morning, we were almost embarrassed. To be found out by another person, to be sharing a unified understanding of such an unusual experience, to be daring to touch and hold - from the moment we woke it was a silent exchange of gradually escalating touches, fuzzy and barely awake, unconsciously stumbling into a morning kiss that lasted a good few minutes.
“Hello,” said Charlie. I looked at him, those green eyes sparkling away, and I said with a smile,
“Your breath stinks.”
“Oh my god!” He laughed, hard, creasing up his double chin beautifully, “sorry, I didn't think to pack my toothbrush!”
“I accept your apology,” I said, with not an insignificant dose of sarcasm. Rolling onto my back, I continued, more seriously this time, “you know, I can hardly believe all the things that came out of my mouth last night…”
“I was thinking maybe I should try to be more direct in general. Save some confusion.”
“For sure.” Charlie took my hand. “Directness has its uses... for example,” he shifted into his side, facing me, and said in a matter of fact tone, “I would love to spend the day with you, and I don't particularly want to pretend I'm happy to leave while hoping you invite me to stay.” It was Sunday. Usually I was practicing Tekken from 11 til 3 at the least. But wow, screw that bollocks… how long had I been fantasising about this very scenario?
“And I think that's a top notch idea,” I said, copying his formal affect, “spiffing.” Charlie mimed adjusting a monocle,
“What ho and pip.” He paused, trying to think of something else vaguely Victorian to say, “cranberry tarts.”
“Speaking of, are you hungry?”
“Always,” he smirked. “Bring me a fine roast chicken.”
“I'm afraid a fried egg and toast will have to do…” I wriggled out of bed, throwing a dressing gown on as I left the room, “is that okay, is there anything else you'd like?”
“I'll do tea, if you want any…” he followed me, only in his boxers. His tummy jiggled slightly with each step he took. One, two, one, two… “mesmerised, are we?” I looked up, “my eyes are up here, you know.” Charlie was grinning, happy to have caught me out,
“No, it's… it's nice to be appreciated. It does feel funny, having a bigger body, though…” he ran a hand over his torso as he made his way towards the kitchen. “I jiggle again,” he mused. My throat felt dry.
“Sto-op, or you'll distract me...” I busied myself with pans and toasters and eggs, trying to at least get him fed before I jumped on him again. Charlie busied himself with my kettle.
“Apologies. It's just, really novel to be able to say these things out loud. It feels like we've been telling each other how we feel about these things all along, only in hints. Don't you feel liberated?”
“Very… very much so.” I broke four eggs into the pan. No shell, perfect. “I’m glad we picked up on those hints, is all… I think we've proven we can both be a bit dense about these things.”
“Probably,” said Charlie, still trying to figure out how to use my kettle. After wiping the egg white from my fingers, I tapped the required button and flipped a switch, bringing it to life,
“Huh.” Charlie stared at it for a few seconds. “I definitely can be.”
“No, you're fine,” I assured him, “you pick up on signals pretty well, I'd say.”
“Thanks.” He looked back at the bedroom, “I don't suppose you've got anything I could wear? It's a bit chilly.”
“Sure, just look after the eggs for a second…” I passed him the spatula before going in search of an oversized t-shirt. I own quite a few, for sleeping in - enough that they have their own drawer. I sifted through, picking out the largest. Hopefully it would fit Charlie.
On my way back into the kitchen, I took a moment to just stand and look at him preparing our eggs. The toast popped up. He briefly left the eggs to plate the toast, humming to himself all the way. It seemed so domestic and natural. I could hardly stand to break the silence.
“Got one here, hope it's okay…” I passed him the shirt.
“Yeah, this looks alright,” said Charlie, pulling it on, “much better. Thanks.” It was a black number, generally shapeless, but it covered him well enough. For sure it was nice to have him wandering around shirtless, but it wouldn't do to make him cold, now would it?
“No problem.” After a little more preparation I finally plated the eggs. We sat down at my little round table, eating our breakfast. The strange new atmosphere of total openness was distracting enough that I didn't make a voyeur of myself over watching Charlie eat. There were more important things to think about.
“So, speaking of signals,” said Charlie, dipping some toast in an egg yolk, “I'd really like to know… what do you want to call this? Us?” I blinked.
“Isn't it obvious?” He shrugged, taking a bite of his toast. “I'd like us to be, you know… a thing. An item. Exclusive.” I made myself look a little smaller, felt the blush encroaching on my face, but there was no other way I could say it, “you know… boyfriend and girlfriend.” Putting it like that made me feel infinitely childish. But nothing could argue with the broad smile on Charlie's face.
“B-Brilliant!” He crowed, taking another large bite of his breakfast, “oh wow, that's so amazing to hear, I… that's perfect.”
“C’mere,” I said, leaning forward to give him a kiss on the cheek, “I think you're great. I know we still have stuff to learn and re-learn about one another, and I don't want to put too much pressure on the whole thing, but. I don't want to have to hold back.”
“Of course, I completely agree. No pressure. You know, we made a big leap last night. I'm proud of us,” he mused, eyes on my toast. His own plate had been mysteriously cleaned. “Are you going to finish that?” I grinned, passing him my plate,
“Thank you,” he mumbled through his first bites of my leftovers. We were interrupted by the kettle boiling.
“One sec,” I got up to make us some tea. “How do you like it?”
“One sugar, no milk,” came the muffled reply. Opening an overhead cupboard, I retrieved the required tea making apparatus and chose our mugs - I gave him the one with a rabbit painted onto the side. The Pokémon mug was mine, as a rule. I mixed our respective brews, reflecting on how light everything felt...
“Oh, that's cute,” said Charlie, pointing at the Pikachu adorning my tea, “I used to watch that show.” I paused. Was this the time to tell him about how I'd attempted to break into the competitive scene back when generation 5 was new and failed miserably? Probably not.
“Yeah,” I settled myself back down, “me too.” Charlie slapped his forehead,
“Oh my god, of course, you used to come over to watch at my house…”
“It was Pokémon and Batman the Animated Series that we liked,” I said between sips.
“Of course…” Charlie developed a nostalgic smile, “I always wondered why you liked the Penguin episodes better than the Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy ones…”
“Stop!” I laughed, “he's a good villain!”
“And you're sure there's no other reason you like him?” Charlie teased, “no other reason at all?”
“No other reason at all!” I punctuated with a defiant sip of tea. Charlie giggled,
“Okay then, if you say so.” He'd finished eating by this point and was now nursing his brew.
“I don't see why not.” So we did, tea warming our hands. Initially we settled a polite distance from each other, until I realised that I didn't have to put up a front anymore and wriggled towards Charlie to sit more affectionately. We sipped our drinks. It was blissful. “So, Alex… what do you want to do today?” I rested my head on his shoulder,
“Sounds like a plan…” he scratched his chin, “what do we think of a movie or two?”
“Good idea, there are also pringles in the cupboard.” His ears pricked up,
“Pringles, you say?”
“Pringles,” I nodded. “Shall I fetch them?”
“If you don't mind.” I bounded off, dropping my mug in the sink as I went. If this was Charlie just following his appetite, I couldn't wait to see him in another few weeks. Where would he plateau, I wondered?
“Hey Charlie,” I asked from the other room, “should I go dig through my DVDs or are we doing Netflix?”
“Umm,” he replied as I returned with pringles in hand, “I don't mind…”
“Well, we haven't really talked movies before… what floats your boat?”
“I don't know, I suppose… I prefer it when characters are the focus, not spectacle. I like,” he shifted a little as he said it, almost as though it were a confession, “I like romcoms. Even bad ones.” The thought of sitting through How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days didn't sound particularly appetising, I had to admit. Then I had a brainwave.
“Hold on…” discarding my bounty, I lifted the lid of my DVD chest. It lived next to the TV and usually spent its days gathering dust - but not today. “Where is it…” Probably somewhere under the X Files box sets.
“What are you looking for?”
“You'll see…” at last, it turned up. “Have you ever seen this film..?” I asked, holding up my DVD of Only the Lonely. The original VHS had gone missing at some point, so I felt the need to replace it with something a little more modern.
“No. Any good?”
“I think it's, pretty alright... it fits the romantic comedy bill, at least.”
“Ah, sure then.” Charlie had taken the pringles can for himself by this point, and was happily munching his way through it. “I know it's a bit lame…”
“Not at all, you like what you like,” I assured him, ejecting the Tekken disc from my PS4. It basically lived there, so it felt a bit strange to be actually handling the disc. I carefully popped it into the now empty DVD case, like a mother swaddling a vulnerable child. I hoped Charlie wouldn't think my hobby was lame…
“Oh, I didn't realise you had a PS4,” he chirped. “I don't have much time for that stuff these days.” I'm sure he had an active social life and everything. Once upon a time there'd been a Charlie who played the newly released GTA 4 every night for months…
“You can take a look if you want,” I somehow doubted he would, “I have two player stuff.”
“Maybe later,” he eviscerated another pringle. So, no. I supposed that was okay. I fiddled with my well loved controller, starting the movie. Charlie tentatively put his arm around me when I joined him back on the sofa. “Is that alright?”
“Yeah.” I leaned into him.
“Brilliant.” Within minutes, John Candy had made his first appearance. “This is nothing if not thematically appropriate.”
“Shush!” I wasn't quite ready to tell him why the film was so important to me, though maybe I would at the end - regardless I wanted to share it with him no matter what. If you want my honest review, it's a cute little movie that doesn't exactly shoot for the moon, but there's something so comforting about it because of that. No lofty aspirations. Just... comfy. I let my head fall onto Charlie's chest. Comfy. We were somewhere around the middle mark when Charlie jostled me,
“Hey, were you falling asleep on me?”
“Hmm?” I blinked. I knew the goddamn movie so well, I couldn't be sure if I'd missed any. My brain would just fill in the gaps around any scene I might view. “Iunno.” John Candy was hiding Ally Sheedy's presence in his bedroom from Maureen O'Hara. Cool, they were about to all have an incredibly awkward dinner together. “You make a good pillow.” I realised that the pringles were conspicuously absent. I could've gotten him some more, but I was too comfortable to move.
“Do you remember, you used to ask me if you could do this?” I flushed beet red within milliseconds,
“I - I what?” I legitimately had no recollection of such a thing. How young had I been when this happened?
“Yeah, I can remember you asking me if you could use me as a pillow. I didn't let you, because… well, we weren't family. And I thought maybe you were making fun of me. But, I always supposed you were too young to understand.” Charlie shifted. “I guess you just, liked soft things, huh?’
“Guess so,” I murmured back, still tied up with embarrassment. “I don't - I don't remember at all, how old were we?”
“Oh, you were only nine. I'd just started senior school, and that was as much fun as you could expect, and as I remember I was only still around you because our mums would get together at mine. And you needed someone to watch you.”
“Shit, I must've been so annoying. You don't think about these things when you're in the single digits,” I groaned.
“Don't worry about it,” he gave my head a gentle pat, “you were only little.”
“I missed hanging out with you, y'know. Once you became a teenager I only really saw you for neighborhood events and stuff. Or if you let me tag along for something.”
“I was a bit of a dick,” he chuckled, “my mum had to make me bring you to things.”
“Then once I became a teenager…”
“Was that when you developed a crush on me?” I snuck a look at Charlie's face. His turn to blush.
“I didn't… I didn't think about you that way, for one. Nowhere even remotely close. I mean - the oldest I knew you back then, you were fourteen.”
“Yeah. Would've been bad if you did,” I chuckled. “You were hard headed enough not to notice my crush anyway.”
“Well. I thought nobody could have a crush on me.” Charlie stroked my upper arm absently, “I was too fat and antisocial for that kind of thing.”
“Man, I was obsessed with you,” I laughed. “And you never noticed.”
“I'm sure I would've been flattered.” Charlie grinned, “I'm pretty happy about it now, though. I guess being fat and antisocial pays off sometimes.”
“Hmm.” I could feel myself drifting again. He was just too comfortable for his own good. I half watched the rest of the film, half daydreamed about Charlie, lost in a daze. I barely noticed when it was over.
“You're right, it was pretty good. I liked it.”
“Mm,” I buried my face in him, “mm glad.”
“Oh, you are cute,” said Charlie, putting his arms around me, “didn't get enough sleep, huh?”
“You just relax me, that's all,” I replied. “I am glad you liked the film. I know it's not the best, but, it's kind of important to me.”
“Why's that?” Charlie asked, brushing a few stray hairs out of my face.
“Well, um.” I hadn't really planned this far. “So. I figured out I liked the way fat people look early on, though I didn't really know why. Then when I got older I did my research, filled in the gaps. That movie was, an early part of that. So there you go.” Charlie nodded,
“Right, okay. I guess it's less involved when you're not the one doing the eating.”
“Well, how did you... figure it all out?”
“It took me a surprisingly long time. You know I was like a rubbish truck, I ate like crazy even when I was at home, but it wasn't deliberately too much. I mean - I did eat too much, but to my mind it was just what I needed to be full. Then when I went away I started not only eating what I wanted, but actively overeating. That's when I started putting on weight quickly, figured out how good it felt… that's how I got to my biggest. It happened pretty fast, just over maybe two years.”
“So…” I shifted round so I could look him in the face, “what happened?”
“Um.” He didn't look 100% comfortable.
“You don't have to tell me.”
“No, it's okay, it's just -” he swallowed, “it has to do with, someone else. A girlfriend.”
“Yeah?” I blinked, “that's fine dude. Like I said, if you don't feel comfortable you don't have to tell me.”
“The point is more whether you feel comfortable,” he spluttered, “I mean I did date this girl-”
“I don't mind, man. Everyone has a history. I know you're not comparing me to someone else or whatever, don't even worry about it. And I won't judge you, either.” Charlie looked pretty relieved. Maybe he'd had some bad experiences with jealous people.
“Great. The same goes from me, by the way.”
“Cool,” I snuggled my head back down on his chest, not looking at him directly. I figured maybe that would help.
“So, uh. I was dating this girl for a while, and she was pretty great, it was a big confidence booster for me - I hadn't really dated anyone properly before, not for a sustained period. And she didn't seem to mind that I was putting on so much weight.”
“Seem being the key word here.” I felt Charlie shift. He'd probably nodded.
“In hindsight - we weren't really the best match anyway. It didn't, she didn't actually tell me that I was getting too fat. I mean, that was when I was, I was getting closer to twenty six stone really, I uh, I rounded it down when I told you - and I should've guessed most girls wouldn't have liked it. So one day she told me she was sick of me and she pinned a lot of that on my weight, I guess it was easier that way, and - that was it.”
“Oh dear,” I put my hand on his leg. “That sounds like it hurt.”
“I mean I was definitely too clingy and, our interests didn't really match up, so I'm not trying to demonise her, but it was a knock. That confidence I'd been getting from my weight gain and having a girlfriend and doing well in my course just, fell away. I felt like such a loser.”
“So you decided to slim down?”
“Yeah.” He rubbed his middle defensively, “it was the fucking worst.” I giggled at his deadpan delivery,
“It sounds like it.”
“Yep. Absolute crap. But, I did get more attention from the opposite sex. People in general were very positive about it. So. I thought it was for the best if I just pushed down what I really wanted.”
“You wanna know something funny?”
“Earlier, when you tried to bring attention to your weight loss-”
“Oh, jeez,” Charlie groaned, “you must've hated that.”
“I thought you were trying to get me to gush about it. I was thinking like, haven't you heard that enough?” He shook his head enthusiastically,
“I just wanted - I have no idea what I wanted. I guess I still hoped you'd be impressed.”
“At the time I thought you were a bit conceited. In hindsight, I was being pretty judgy, though. I get why you felt like you needed that feedback.”
“Thanks, Alex.” Charlie stroked my hair, “it's really great to know that. That you understand.” He sighed, “I can't believe how long it's been. Something like - maybe seven years now, since I went on my diet. And sure my weight has gone up and down, but. I haven't been fat in a long time.”
“Are you nervous about it at all?” I asked, taking his hand.
“Nah,” he grinned, “it's my choice. I'm a little older and wiser now - I like to think I can handle it if some people disagree with what I'm doing.”