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BOTH The Education of Thad Poole - by Big Beautiful Dreamer (~~WG, Both)

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Big Beautiful Dreamer

ridiculously contented
Feb 26, 2006
~BHM, ~BBW, ~~WG, Self-discovery - Set up on a blind date, a publisher finds only good news.

The Education of Thad Poole​
by Big Beautiful Dreamer

If I hadn’t been distracted by a rather knotty couple of paragraphs, I might never have met Karen.

I was poring over the page, blue pencil in hand, trying to figure out how best to disentangle the author’s thoughts, which had taken a turn for the incoherent, when Jared Cashion strolled into my office. He drummed his fingers loudly on the edge of my desk until I looked up over my reading glasses, annoyed at the interruption.

“You know Julie’s got a roommate,” he said. Julie was his fiancée.

“Yeah,” I said, bending my head back over the page.

“Now that we’re engaged, Julie’s got it into her head that any woman who doesn’t have a mate is in deep sh—um, needs one bad. She wants me to fix her roommate up with someone.”

“Yeah,” I said again, more absently. I’d finally found a way into that God-awful first sentence.

“Dude,” Jared said loudly. He stopped drumming.

I looked up. My expression was not welcoming.

“Do me a solid, take her out.” Jared was actually pleading. He never pleaded. Seldom had to. He was handsome, self-assured, engaged, and gainfully employed. Whatever he wanted seemed to fall into his lap, sometimes even before he knew he wanted it.

The tone in his voice got my attention at last. I set down the pencil and took off the glasses. “What’s wrong with her?” I asked. “She gay or something?”

Jared coughed. “No … no …” he looked away, a flush creeping up his throat. I was getting more suspicious by the minute.


Jared looked away, his gaze darting from floor to wall to doorway. Finally he half-shrugged, trying to minimize the impact. “She’s … kind of a big girl.”

“And…” I made a go-on motion with my hand.

Jared shrugged more definitively. “That’s it. Not everyone likes the cows.”

“God, Jared, you’d make a lousy salesman, you know that?” I was laughing at him by now. “So what else aren’t you telling me? She drools? She’s got ten facial piercings? She’s a vegan? ‘She’s kind of a big girl’? Denigrating the product you’re trying to get me to test drive? Seriously. That’s it?”

Jared gave me a puppy-dog look. “Um … I kind of already made plans for you two.”

I rested my forehead in my hand. I hadn’t had a headache until just a second ago.

“Fine,” I said. “Fine. When and where?” I just wanted to get him out of my office. How big could she be?

“The Monte Carlo, Friday at seven.”

“Well fine. Okay,” I said. Then, “… thanks.” Truthfully, he’d probably done me a favor. My girlfriend had dumped me earlier that year and I’d been getting lonely lately. I was ready to hear someone else’s voice for a stretch instead of going home to slow death by silent apartment.

Jared smirked. “Thank me on Monday … if you still want to.”

For the next couple of days, I brooded over Jared’s description. It could have meant anything.

I paid the cab and headed into the restaurant Friday evening, ready for just about anything.

“Thad Poole?” I turned, startled, from the hostess at the desk. A woman was addressing me.


“I’m Karen Woodforde,” she said, extending her hand. “Julie’s roommate.”

“Oh, ah … nice to meet you,” I said, my autopilot manners kicking in. I was checking her out, frankly, but that was okay because she was doing the same to me. I expected she saw a basic-package kind of guy: 5’11” with brown hair neatly combed, hazel eyes, basic-economy-model features, my dad’s broad shoulders without as much of his height, a reasonable waistline – okay, a little soft – and decent clothing: tweed jacket, maroon tie against gray shirt, charcoal trousers, polished loafers.

I saw her pretty hair first (I’m a sucker for the hair). It was dark blonde, a full, almost voluptuous, head of the stuff, softly waving and neatly cut into a shoulder-length pageboy. Ivory skin, a broad brow and heart-shaped face, and Jared was right, she was a big girl. Full cheeks and plump lips softly tinted rose pink. And a second chin, no doubt about it.

Miss Woodforde was unmistakably what I would call plump. She wore a jade green dress with a built-in v-neck jacket over a filmy bodice, and layers of equally filmy skirt floating to her knees.

The dress draped a full bosom, covered squashy arms and dimpling elbows, clung to a thick waist and skimmed a pad of tummy. Her calves were round, her ankles sturdy, and from what I could tell her bottom appeared cushy, her hips generous.

I’m not good at guessing, but I suppose my initial estimation might have clocked her in at maybe 225 pounds on maybe five feet six inches. If I hugged her I could just rest my head on hers. Whoa, that was premature! I hastily shoved that thought back into its little box and came out of my trance.

We followed the hostess to a table and ordered drinks: a cosmopolitan for her, vodka tonic for me. We smiled politely at each other and she began.

How did you get into publishing?

And what is it you do for a living? A curator, really, what kind of education does that require?

We shared interests in history, art, and good writing, and conversation was already running smoothly when it came time to order.

Miss Woodforde asked for an appetizer, ordered some kind of trout, and said yes please to a salad as well. She placed her order with calm confidence and, when it came, slowly savored and enjoyed it. I was a little taken aback. I guess I had expected someone of her size on a first date to be a little more discreet. She didn’t pick distastefully at her food or make faces at her entrée for daring to contain calories. She took bites slowly, casually almost, clearly enjoying each taste and giving the mouthfuls their delicious due.

Naturally, since we were eating a good restaurant meal, talk turned to cooking, baking, and food trends. We discovered we both liked Chinese food, though it was quickly apparent she was more expert than I. Somehow, coupled with the conversation, her sheer pleasure in her food stopped being off-putting. I found myself mimicking her behavior. I ate more slowly, pausing to enjoy the subtle combinations of flavors in my mouth with each mouthful, the light, tangy contrast a swallow of wine provided. Suddenly the dinner was an activity in itself instead of a means to an end, like fueling up the car.

Since she ordered dessert, I did too, just to keep her company, and we finished with coffee. I hailed a taxi for her, and as I handed her into it, I asked her out again. We settled on the following Friday. Chinese. I saw the taillights disappear with almost a flash of regret.

I hailed a taxi for myself, and once I’d given my destination, I let my belt out a notch and unhooked my trousers for good measure. I’d eaten too much, and my belly was aching and tender, protesting at unaccustomed amount of rich food. Each bite had been delicious, but taken altogether it had surfeited my stomach, which was full to bursting. Once in my apartment, I let my clothes fall to the floor and climbed into bed in my boxers, propped myself up on pillows, and tuned in to one of the late-night talk shows, watching without any attention.

My mind was on my belly, which I rubbed and prodded, hoping to ease my overfed discomfort enough to catch some sleep, but I also found myself visualizing Karen. Was she home by now? Was she unzipping the dress? Peeling off her pantyhose? Was she as stuffed as I was? Was she in bed as I was, rubbing her pink, rounded tummy and perhaps imagining me? Did she talk with Julie about her date? What had she said about me? What would it feel like, her cushioned body next to mine? What would it feel like to feel those folds of tummy and rolls of hip and thigh pressed to me? What would it feel like to nuzzle that soft nest of a chin, to burrow for her throat, protected as it was by pale flesh?

I closed my eyes, feeling sleep fall over me, but also seeing Karen Woodforde’s naked, rosily plump body snuggled into ice-blue satin sheets. I have a vivid imagination, a typical tic for recovering English majors. I drifted off, almost feeling her soft bottom filling my hands.

By Monday morning, I had decided that I wasn’t going to give Jared the satisfaction. He pounced, of course, as soon as he saw me head into the break room for a cup of coffee.

“Fine,” I said noncommittally.


“Fine,” I repeated, and zipped my mouth shut. I quite enjoyed sensing his agitation, even from the fourth floor, where the art department sequestered itself.

The following Friday, I met Karen at a Chinese buffet she’d recommended when we’d spoken on the phone a couple of days earlier. We both were dressed more casually, and in jeans her bottom was as bodacious as I’d remembered. I found myself wanting to put my arm around her cushioned waist, imagining the gentle reception my hand would get on meeting her squashy tummy – a far different reception my hand had received upon going around the waists of previous girlfriends. I liked hourglass figures, in general, but I’d never gone out with “kind of a big girl,” as Jared had smirkingly described it. Now I found myself curious as hell, afflicted with a wonderment of the unknown.

We heaped our plates and settled in. We talked more about books and paintings we’d enjoyed, Chinese food, thence to their history and culture. She got up for another round and I followed her, since a lot of the stuff on her plate had looked really interesting and I wanted to try some of it. She clearly knew her Chinese cuisine.

After two platefuls, I was getting full, but Karen got up again, and I thought it only polite to follow her. We were both slowing down a little, both to prolong our time together and, if her stomach felt anything like mine, to give ourselves a little time to digest. The evening was ending too soon. My stomach was stuffed to the top, my belly pushing against the waistband of my jeans, I was achingly full and disinclined to swallow another bite – but still I stood decisively and made my way back to the steam tables.

Slowly, slowly, I took bites of prawn, pepper steak, dim sum, lo mein, savored plum sauce and kung pao chicken, swallowed slithery strips of seaweed. I was ready to pop by the time we both let a pause turn into the end of our trips to the buffet.

We both ordered green tea ice cream to cool our throats, and it slipped down so coolly and silkily that I couldn’t imagine it taking up any space in my gorged and distended belly, no space at all. As we slowly made our way to the door, I slid my arm around Karen’s waist as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I let my palm rest on her unmistakable muffin top, a cushion of gentle flesh protecting her bones, and my fingers splayed lightly along the edge of her tummy, distended and firm. I wondered what it would feel like to poke her belly button and feel an absence of give. The hand around the waist felt like a benediction, a welcoming homecoming, soft and warm and unmistakably inviting. I felt a stirring I could not mistake, a stirring I hadn’t experienced in months. Welcome back, Kotter.

We strolled, slowly, for a while, digesting, and enjoying each other’s company, and with Karen’s permission I paused to fill and light my pipe. Karen breathed in the richly scented air, swallowing it greedily.

“Mmm,” she murmured. “My grandpa smoked a pipe.” My arm was again around hers, gently cuddling that pad of waistline, and now hers was around mine; no doubt she could also feel a cushion of full belly above my belt. I stifled a belch, and her fingers gently tightened, instinctively bracing themselves, then relaxed.

Before we parted, we made plans for the next day. We went to the zoo, reveling in the mild temperatures and clear sunshine. We strolled, easily hand in hand, without forethought and without pressure. We gobbled hot dogs, trying not to drip chili on ourselves; we downed soft pretzels with mustard and cardboard cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream and shared a bag of peanuts and finished outside the gates with another round of hot dogs from a vendor, and lukewarm cans of Cherry Coke. We found a bench and sank onto it, footsore and pleasantly replete. I lit my pipe, and in the drawing evening we people-watched, enjoying each other’s clever commentary; and it was full dark before we descended to the subway and went our separate ways.

I was enjoying keeping Jared in the dark, but I’d forgotten that he had a spy. Still, that secret weapon didn’t seem to be doing him much good. It seemed that Karen was being as closemouthed to Julie as I was to Jared – all that he knew via the fiancée grapevine is that we’d gone out no fewer than three times in two weeks. But that’s all he knew.

I could tell it was driving him crazy that he couldn’t suss out my reaction to his fiancée’s “big girl” of a roommate. He clearly wanted confirmation that I agreed with his criticism of her as a cow; he wanted some affirmation of his worldview that looked down on curvaceous women as lesser beings.

I wasn’t giving it to him. One, because my private life was just that, and two, because I frankly found Karen attractive and didn’t think much of his outlook. Humanity comes in all shapes and sizes. If I catalogued former girlfriends, I suppose I’d have to say I’d never given much thought to a potential companion’s figure. Honestly, if a woman had pretty hair, that was about all I noticed until my brain let me know whether she was funny, smart, and honest.

I found myself doing a mental check through former flames. A couple in high school, half a dozen in college, another half dozen or so since then. Most had been of average height and build, most with hourglass figures, all with pretty hair. If you lined them all up, you’d probably be able to sort out a type, some similarity to their features and styles, but only vaguely. Offhand, I suppose I hadn’t ever dated a plus-size woman. Until now.

So there you go. Jared had thought he was getting Julie off his back and pranking a colleague at the same time, but it had fizzled. Karen was now going out on dates, and the colleague was showing no response at all to Jared’s fiendishly clever plan. Nuts to Snidely Whiplash, as it were.

I found myself whistling. Karen and I were going to stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then dine in their restaurant. A feast for the eyes, then one for the tongue. She was already waiting for me when I arrived, and we embraced, then exchanged a quick kiss before going up the steps hand in hand.

We took our time. There happened to be an exhibit on of Chinese art in the Yuan Dynasty, which I enjoyed all the more for the expert guide beside me. We strolled through the related exhibits, “The Birthday in Chinese Art” and “The Yuan Revolution,” then for a change of pace visited American Landscapes and the John Baldessari exhibit, finishing with an exhibit of turn-of-the-century photographic cityscapes.

Dinner afterward, not to my taste. The setting was too spare and the food too nouveau, tiny portions artistically presented. Karen didn’t say anything, but afterward when we stopped by a hot dog vendor’s cart, she blurted, “Oh, goodie.”

Silently content in each other’s company, we downed hot dogs, Cherry Cokes, and then stopped for chocolate-dipped cones from another vendor, finishing with soft pretzels for contrast. There, that was better. My stomach had stopped growling and now lay drowsily replete beneath my waistband, which was getting a little snug.

As we clattered down the steps to the subway, I squeezed her arm. “Come back to my place,” I said impulsively.

I opened a bottle of Stag’s Leap Cabernet and we drank wine, talked, munched on yogurt pretzels. She snooped my bookcases, making little noises of approval, and I found myself admiring her rear view: a lyric swoop of hip, a full and rounded womanly bottom, plump calves.

Eventually we moved to the bedroom. Eyes downcast, she silently invited me to tug off her cowl-neck sweater and unhook her gray lace bra, a large and serviceable thing for large and seriously attractive breasts. I paused in my labors to bobble them gently: a generous handful, soft and warm, spilling through and over my fingers and speaking to me of succulence and plenitude.

She tugged off my sweater and languidly undid my shirt buttons, pushing the clothing aside. She ran her hands gently, lightly, ticklishly, along my broad shoulders and decently exercised chest, then down my torso, resting for only a moment on my midriff, a little bloat there at the moment.

I unbuttoned her jeans and slowly ran down the zip. I’d forgotten how sexy the act of undressing a woman could be. I gave the waistband a little push and she wriggled out of the jeans, leaving her in nothing but a scrap of gray lace bikini panties. I was stunned again, and my body wasted no time in responding even as I was processing these new sights.

There Karen was, looking as I’d fantasized about her that first night, all alabaster curve and rosy swell of soft, warm flesh, and she was gorgeous. I released my hold on her breasts long enough to cradle my way down a padded torso to soft handfuls of waist and dared to gently finger her navel, just above where a flap of tummy folded over the panties, playing peekaboo with the lace. As I’d imagined, the navel was firm to the touch, her tummy at the moment roundly full, but with a tantalizing hint of give, a suggestion of surrender.

While I was thus thoroughly dazed, Karen slowly unlatched my belt, then unbuttoned my jeans and pushed them downward. I stepped out of my jeans and boxers, Karen disposed of her panties, and then we were utterly starkers in my bed.

Slowly, cautiously, we explored each other, the only sounds our inarticulate murmurs and occasional advice as to placement and touch. I was staggered by her beauty, rose and cream, warmth and fold, all softness and curve. The effect was gentle, womanly, warm and welcoming, and I burrowed and nuzzled and cuddled, traced and cradled, letting my hands fill up with her bounty.

As she traced me in turn, though, I found myself unaccountably shy.

“Mm,” I made to push her hand away from resting on my belly. “You don’t want to go there,” I said ruefully. “I’m putting on a little weight. Getting a little pot.” I tried to redirect her soft warm fingers.

She shushed me and cradled my softening belly as I had cradled hers. “You do have a little tummy,” she murmured, “and it’s very cute.”

Well, that’s one I hadn’t heard. I didn’t know what to say, so I shut up, and we continued our languid exploration, sliding slowly and naturally into coupling, and it felt like coming home. The aftermath might have gone on for all time, except my stomach growled, which spoiled the mood somewhat.

Karen giggled. “Pizza or Chinese?” she asked.

“Oh … pizza,” I said, but when she reached for the phone I hooked her around her temptingly squashy tummy and drew her back in. Eventually, she got the order placed and we went back to where we’d been.

Still naked, we sat up in bed and fed each other slices, licking sauce from each other’s lips, plucking pepperonis, stealing crusts, swallowing straight from the bottle of Coke, until finally all that was left was two empty boxes and a drained bottle littering the floor.

“Oof.” I leaned back and hiccupped. My stomach was round and firm, tightly bloated and warmly heavy. Karen rested her fingertip on my belly button and gave it the gentlest of prods.

“Cute,” she repeated.

“Did I just eat a whole pizza?” I grunted. My stomach ached dully, pulled taut by a load of Coke and pepperoni atop pretzels and Cabernet atop street food atop that nouveau museum-restaurant crap.

“Mmm,” Karen agreed. “Somehow those boxes got emptied.” She snuggled against my chest, and I lightly traced the firm swell of her own bloated tummy, resting my hand protectively on the rosy bulge and toggling her belly button, temporarily an outie. We were both replete, glutted in stomach and soul, drowsily brimful of pizza and each other, and the aftermath was warm and welcoming. I don’t think I had ever been happier.

Jared knew that I was seeing Karen – he had to know that much, at least – but I derived an indecent amount of pleasure from not giving him any information. I calmly refused to gossip with him about my girlfriend, and it was clearly making him antsy. His and Julie’s invitation to Thanksgiving dinner was delivered almost explosively, as though he couldn’t wait to see us together.

Julie greeted me warmly, thanked me for the bottles of wine I had brought, and ushered me into the living room. I gave Jared no satisfaction, merely giving Karen a kiss on the cheek and choosing a chair by the window rather than a seat next to her on the sofa. Jared’s gaze darted back and forth, and I could tell our games were amusing Karen as much as they were me. She played right along, very casually avoiding giving any hint of wanting to jump my bones.

There were eight of us altogether, crowded around the table, and we entered into the spirit of the holiday, heaping our plates and teasing each other. We all stuffed ourselves to the brim, but this was different from other Thanksgiving feasts I had enjoyed. Previously I had simply eaten my fill and then some, vaguely taking pleasure in the once-atypical sensation of feeling overfull and heavy, but now, having learned from Karen, I found myself slowly contemplating and savoring each mouthful’s complex and flavorful taste. I was enjoying and interacting with food, not just shoving heedless forkfuls down my gullet too fast for taste.

And, more, I found I was getting a distinct pleasure from watching Karen enjoy her meal. As she slowly and with pleasure ate her dinner, refilled her plate with favorites, savored some more, I was entranced and unmistakably aroused. Her lips moist with traces of gravy, her chest swelling each time she breathed, occasional glimpses of her tummy, encased in lavender cotton, slowly and steadily ballooning. I imagined the sensation of that full belly beneath my hand in bed, the familiar distended warmth and soft supple folds of hip and thigh. Between the pleasure I was taking from the visual of my love across the table and the pleasure I was discovering in the physical of my belly swelling and tightening, drawing taut, beginning to pull and ache with the tender distention of satiation, I was beside myself with desire. I only hoped Jared didn’t notice.

Eventually, the huge feast Julie and Karen had prepared was reduced to empty bowls, dribbles of gravy, traces of cranberry, a few crumbs. Slowly we hoisted ourselves upright and staggered into the living room, where we lay around and recovered. I had unbuttoned my jeans well before the appearance of pumpkin chiffon pie and butter pecan ice cream and now was sprawled on the sofa with my feet stretched out and my belly stretched to bursting. I was so full it hurt to breathe, and I could actually feel my eyelids fluttering shut. I rested my hands on my gorged and swollen midriff, feeling my distended gut rise and fall shallowly, enjoying the warmth, the repletion, the dopey satisfied socked-out sensation of being positively awash in food, stuffed to the tip top and with no need to do anything but slide into hibernation. I was so profoundly bloated and so heavily stupefied that the sensations I’d been experiencing so sharply over dinner dulled temporarily, lulled into submission, at least for the moment.

I suppose I dozed off a little, because next I knew it was just the four of us: Karen and Julie in the kitchen, Jared and me in the living room, a football game playing.

Jared smirked at me but reserved comment. At the time, I thought it uncommonly restrained. Of course, he’d downed his share of the feast himself and his own belly was swollen over his jeans. I took childish pleasure in noticing that he had had to unbutton the top button and rather hoped he would wind up with indigestion.

He was saving it for Monday. He waited until I came in and got myself some coffee and a doughnut.

“See it’s contagious, dude,” was his greeting. I raised an eyebrow. Jared jerked his head toward my belly, unmistakably straining the button of my trousers. In the month or so since I’d started seeing Karen, there had been an uptick in my intake, and coupled with the Thanksgiving feast at their apartment had been my visit to my parents in Delaware over the weekend, complete with another whole holiday feast and supplemented with my mom’s holiday baking. The trousers I was wearing were my loosest, at least in theory, but they were unmistakably straining at the waistband. My belt was on its next-to-last notch, and my shirt tugged at its buttons from ribcage downward.

I gave him a stony look. He shrugged.

“You date a fat girl, you’re gonna pork up,” he declared, then beat a hasty retreat. My expression was unwelcoming.

I was starting to weary of Jared, though it was in my interest to stay on good terms with him, since his fiancée was my girlfriend’s roommate. Until recently, I had had no reason to know Jared’s uncouth side, which he was showing me more and more openly. The smirks, the glances, the comments, which were becoming less subtle by the minute. “You date a fat girl, you’re gonna pork up.” That was offensive on several levels. I didn’t much care for anyone describing Karen as “a fat girl,” for one.

Karen was plus size. Deluxe was the term I’d begun to use. To me, it suggested just what I had discovered: that with her lushness of body she bore a lushness of heart. To be with her gave me all I’d hoped for in a relationship, plus more. Deluxe: all the basic features, and a few options as a real treat. I found her form lovely and an unexpected treasure. All of me, body, mind, and spirit, responded tenderly to her curves and valleys, her nooks and her softness, her warm cushiony welcome. My heart skipped a beat and the rest of me responded as well every time I was around her. Holding hands made my arm tingle, and a simple embrace nearly laid me flat out. She was breathtaking, literally, and I was starting to be ready to direct a clip to the jaw of the next person who was crude enough to disparage her. They had no idea, and I found myself actually pitying those foolish enough to cast a sideways, sneering glance at my beloved on sidewalks or restaurants. They had absolutely no idea, poor benighted peasants.

Then there was the caboose of Jared’s comment: “You’re gonna pork up.” I knew full well I’d put on a few pounds. It was winter, it was the holidays, and I was in a relationship: all aspects inclined to thicken one’s waistline. So what if I was getting pudgy? It was none of Jared’s, or anyone’s, business. Besides, I was discovering, to my mild shock, that I liked a little padding on myself. I enjoyed the sensation of heft, the newfound sturdiness of my own thighs and backside, the generous expansion of chest when I breathed, the sturdy, well-constructed feeling of my belly stuffed full, tender and stretched and sensitive to the lightest brush of Karen’s fingers.

And – we were officially on Holiday Snack Time. Some wintry trigger had been set off. Every day, foil-wrapped plates or Tupperware containers were appearing in the break room, brimming with pumpkin roll, filled cookies, jam bars, frosted sugar cookies, pinwheels, dark chocolate fudge, sugar cake. Editorial had a party, the art department had a party, marketing had a party; on several occasions I found myself propping my head up sluggishly on my hand, awash in eggnog and sodden with sausage balls.

I knew for a fact I wasn’t the only one with a seasonally thickening waist. I was on the lookout for Jared’s beltline as a barometer, but in passing noted that any number of colleagues were opting for sweaters tugged over skirts that no longer quite did up and trousers worn without belts. More than a few jackets tugged across the shoulders and blouses grew snug across chests. Those snack containers weren’t emptying themselves.

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