BHM The Untouchables (SSBHM, Romance, Karma)

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FleurBleu

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Chapter 11 (3/3). Blanche: Experiment


“Is that OK for you?” I murmured while I glided over each wave and roll gently. “Sorry, I keep forgetting I don't have to ask.”

Again Griffin cleared his throat “It's fine. And yeah, it's OK. For you?”

“Again, more than OK,” I smiled at him, hoping that hearing it in my voice would provide sufficient reassurance, “thank you for letting me do this. It means a lot to me.”

He laughed at that, sending ripples down his vast body and more moisture into my panties. “If gratefulness is what you’re feeling when you touch me, I’m all yours.”

“Clearly you don't believe me but I mean it. When I touch you, it’s as if I’m part of the world again. You have no idea what it’s like to live isolated for so long, connected with other people only through the internet. Sometimes I feel as if there is only a digital version of me, like an avatar.” However, I couldn't allow him to think that this was the only reason. “But that’s not all,” I smiled at his back again, tracing one of his creases with my finger. “You feel good. You have amazing skin.”

“Yeah, only too much of it.”

That was a tricky one. From a health and mobility perspective I had to agree but not when it came to what I felt for him. “I still like it.”

When he didn't respond, I simply blocked out everything but the sensation underneath my fingers. He was here now, willing to let me grab, knead and even kiss, so do that I would. That lower throbbing intensified into a hum as I grabbed fistfuls of Griffin's smooth flesh and alternately kissed, sucked and even bit into the plush mass, my breathing driving out every other sound. No, actually that wasn't true. Griffin' panting was ringing in my ears just as loudly as my own. He was enjoying it! All this time I had assumed he was still pining after Silke, but he certainly wasn’t engaged in any pining at the moment. In fact, he'd told me ‘I’m all yours’, and right now I wanted him to be mine, no matter the consequences. Slowly but with resolve I proceeded by kneading his doughy shoulders and kissing my way up to his neck.

“Blanche?”

He sounded as if my fingers were choking instead of caressing his neck. “Blanche, please stop.” His fingers slipped over mine, holding them in place. “Please, this isn’t what you really want.”

WTF? How would he know what I—

“You’re just overwhelmed. Please, I don’t want you to do anything you might regret. Also, I’m not ready.”

It was that last whispered part that caused my fingers and mouth to abandon their target at once. I had specifically asked him to stop me when he felt uncomfortable, so I had no right to be mad, which didn’t mean I wasn’t entitled to a deep, most likely beet-root-colored mortification instead. If I had thought my actions embarrassing before, I had now ascended – or rather descended – to a whole new level of patheticism. If there was any chance of us remaining housemates with a semblance of dignity and normalcy between us, I had to extricate myself now under the plea of temporary insanity, apologize and let the air cool off between us through an extended walk. However, a soft but unyielding sensation around my wrist forestalled any such extrication effort.

Griffin shifted himself into a sitting position with an effort, his body mass wobbling while he struggled back into his T-shirt, a sight which drew my eyes like a laser pointer a cat. When his head emerged from the hole and his eyes caught mine on his body, he tugged the enormous piece of fabric into place with a crimson face but redirected his gaze to my face while he availed himself of both my hands.

“Don’t be mad and please don’t be embarrassed either. What you just did…” his eyes closed for a moment, “let’s just say if circumstances were different, I would have RSVP’ed to your invitation in a heartbeat.” His phrasing tickled a smile out of me, to which he responded with an utterly endearing one of his own. “I know you were about to head out but please let's go together. No more running away, OK?”

“You're right.”



'If circumstances were different'. Throughout our slow progress through the woods, Griffin's words ricocheted in my mind. What circumstances? If he were thin? If he weren’t still in love with his ex? If I looked more like his ex? If I were normal?

At last we arrived at the chain-link fence that ran along this part of the river because of the dangerous rapids. It had taken us at least twice as long than it would have had I walked by myself but for a man of Griffin's size it was still an admirable feat, and I told him so.

“Thanks,” he panted back at me, wiping his forehead, “you were right, daily walks are a great workout.”

Not another word was exchanged when his arms slid around my waist and he pulled me against him from behind. For a while all we did was stare at the rushing water in its seasonal garb of depressing brown. Also, my eyes kept straying to the bridge increasingly.

“Did you mean to do it?”

While I hadn't intended to blurt out that particular question, I did long to know the answer. At last I heard and felt a deep breath behind me.

“I tried but as it turns out, hypothermia isn’t the best way to go when you’ve got layers and layers of natural padding.”

I turned in his embrace. “Have you always been able to joke about yourself?”

A smile lit up his round face at that and suddenly I struggled to suppress a moan.

“Since I've always been big, yeah, pretty much.”

How enviable. I had never been able to enjoy a laugh at my own expense. It had been hard enough being taken seriously as a woman in a competitive industry, and shaping myself into who I'd believed I had to become hadn’t let any room for self-deprecating humor. I had been an opportunist, plain and simple. Not so Griffin. No matter what mood he was in, he was confident enough to be himself.

“I don’t understand how a funny, confident guy like you would see no other way but suicide.”

“Well,” he began after another protracted moment of silence, “when you watch everything slip out of your control and then lose the person you thought was the most important one in your life, the one you thought would always have your back...”

I failed to suppress a stab of unwarranted jealousy but my mind also snagged on the ‘you thought’ part. Did that mean the – sturdy – pedestal he had so far kept Silke on was vacant or in the process of being vacated? But something else was pressing on my mind even more urgently.

“But did you actually mean to do it? Did you come out to the bridge that day to kill yourself?”

I hated reminding him of his darkest moment but I wanted no more secrets between us. Well, aside from the fact that I was hopelessly in lust with him. If there was a sliver of a chance for something to happen, we needed to trust each other.

“Coming to the bridge wasn’t part of any plan,” Griffin began on a mighty exhale. “When Silke screamed me out of her apartment, I simply took the bus that happened to be waiting by the curb and rode it to the last stop. From there I just stumbled onward, not really seeing where I was going.” He paused. “But yes, once I recognized the opportunity, I meant to take it.”

Reflexively, I pulled his arms closer around me. If I had driven by only thirty minutes later… why though would he choose a public road for a relatively slow suicide method? Griffin, meanwhile, seemed to sense my question.

“Actually, I meant to jump off the bridge but as it turned out, I was too fat to climb over the parapet. How pathetic is that, huh?”

This time his laugh was entirely devoid of humor. It took me a while to process that new bit of information before I turned in his arms again to look at his red-cheeked face. “You’re not pathetic. You have a problem but you’re working on it.”

A slowly unfurling smile was my reward and he raised his chin to kiss my knit-covered forehead. “And so are you. Don't give up. If the bad karma has lifted for me, chances are good it will for other people, too. Maybe it just takes more time or a different person. Or perhaps it'll fade first for people that deserve it,” he added with a grin.

“Perhaps you're right.”

The more I mulled that thought over, the more plausible it seemed. That fat-phobic jerk at the store, who had most likely accumulated enough bad karma of his own, certainly did not belong among the deserving. Already the future looked brighter.

“Thank you.”

I closed my eyes and I leaned back against him, pulling his arms tighter around me still. Why on earth had Silke given up on him? He was a keeper.
 

FleurBleu

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421
Chapter 12 (1/2). Griffin: Choices


Even after Blanche had done as I'd asked her and gone back to the house on her own, I could still feel her imprint on me, the same way I remembered exactly what her hands had done on my back earlier. There had been no doubt about it, she’d been getting ready to jump me and she would have if I hadn’t stopped her. That she would need someone close was understandable after years of isolation but that she would throw herself on me was a whole different story. Granted, she hadn’t had sex in three years but I’d always thought sexual urges weren't as bad for women as for men. Were they, though, and was Blanche’s need so strong that she would even do me? Whenever I thought I understood that woman better, I took a step backwards.

Should I take forward steps with her at all, though? Even with Silke drifting further and further out of my reach – and to be honest, my thoughts as well – this thing between Blanche and me was just temporary, messed-up emotions in an extreme situation. Powerful emotions, though. I’d almost lost it when she’d broken down crying. She always seemed so strong, so in charge, but for all her self-sufficiency she was someone who needed to feel sheltered. That was a first for me. Silke was a tough and confident woman and, except for cuddling with her after a hard day at work, she had rarely needed my protection.

I could so well relate to Blanche’s fear of life in society. For me it wasn't that I was afraid of people but afraid of all the unhealthy food available at every corner. Who knew if I would ever learn to eat right and get down to a decent weight? And if I did, what if I fell back into my old habits? In a way Blanche and I were in the same boat – with her side lifted out of the water, I grinned to myself. Was I a bad person for feeling a tiny bit relieved that her experiment hadn't worked?

If she came on to me again like she had, I might not be able to stop her, especially when chances were high she would spend the night with me on the couch again. Of course I could ask her to sleep in her own bed. Yes, I could do that.

Oh, who was I kidding, of course I wouldn't. Dammit, how could something so wrong feel so right?



~~~



Half sitting up, half reclining on the couch was a comfortable position for me, and one in which Blanche could cuddle up next to me perfectly. For once I did what I had excelled at for years and blocked out all thought what she might think about my size. She hadn't stopped smiling since she had curled up on my left and placed one hand on my belly underneath my T-shirt, so who was I to question her decision?

Again, conversation flowed easily between us. What was new, though, was that for the first time we made plans together like me showing her how to use the new car-cleaning products that had arrived the other day, or she teaching me things at the computer. Granted, they were about the smallest plans two people can make but the only ones I could allow myself to consider. The moment of bigger decisions came, though, when Blanche began to yawn and turned to me.

“Uhm, I guess I’m going to bed.”

Her eyes remained on mine, a mute plea to invite her to spend the night next to me again but the fact that she didn’t ask outright meant she was giving me an out. I knew I should take it. I was getting in too deep. So far I had soaked up everything, each touch and each sigh of appreciation, but I couldn’t let myself get used to them, nor delude myself that they stemmed from anything but lack of alternatives for her. I should be grateful she showed no signs of revulsion.

“Want to sleep here again?”

Aw, crap. Apparently my gut had just made the decision, just as it always had over the past years, only its decisions had so far been restricted to food choices. Now it was making life choices. Ten minutes later we lay close together in the dark again like we had the night before, only Blanche's fingertips had slipped underneath my T-shirt, lightly grazing over my fat love handle. Just like on the couch earlier, I let her and chose to enjoy rather than to question it.

“What would you do with your life if your karma got back to normal?”

“I’d like to help people,” Blanche's voice drifted over to me after a moment. “Perhaps become a therapist.”

“I think you'd make a great therapist. You’re a good listener.”

“Thank you.” Silence. “Or maybe a massage therapist or a chiropractor – something where I could make people feel good by touching them.”

Blanche touching other people, other men, for a living – now that I didn't want to picture. I knew I had no right to jealousy, which didn't help one bit, though. Instead I chose to focus on our conversation.

“Whatever you choose, you’ll be amazing at it.”

“Thank you for saying that.”

“What about your plans for your private life?”

“I’d love to travel again.” Again she paused. “What are your plans for when you’re down to a healthy weight?”

‘When’, not ‘if’. For her there seemed to be no doubt about it. Me, I wasn’t so sure.

“Also travel.”

Even though I wasn’t sure I’d ever get down to a size that didn’t require buying two airplane seats, I’d gladly pay for them if it meant not missing out any longer. Silke wasn’t just afraid of flying, she was afraid of heights in general, so for the past five years I’d been missing out on vacations outside of driving or train distance, or even going up on viewing platforms. Being afraid of heights wasn’t her fault and it was wrong to blame her for it, yet I did.

Aargh! Thoughts of her definitely had no place in his bed!

“Where would you go?” Blanche's soft voice interrupted my swirling thoughts, her fingers lightly squeezing my flesh. How was I supposed to carry on a conversation like this?

“Uhm, the U.S.” That country had adapted pretty well to people like me. “My English sucks but I've always wanted to visit San Francisco.”

“Me too!” she gasped and came up on her elbow. “I've explored the east coast pretty well already but I've never been to California.” She paused, her eyes futilely searching for mine in the darkness. “I could come with you and help you out English-wise.”

“You'd want to take a trip with me?”

“Sure, why not?”

This was pure speculation here, right? Right??

“Uh, that is if you could bear a control freak with you for two or three weeks,” she added, her voice shrinking in on itself.

“I'm sure you wouldn't be if the curse were gone,” I smiled at her and pulled her back into her earlier lying position.

“At least less so,” she laughed and snuggled close again. “I’m sure you would like Oman, too, and I bet you’re amazing at bartering on bazaars.”

“I actually am. How did you know?”

“Just a feeling.”

And her hand slipped back underneath my T-shirt with a deep sigh. If she kept this up, her touches and her appreciation of me as a person, there was no way I would resist her the next time she wanted to have her way with me. That just couldn't happen, though, not when I still hadn't worked out how I felt about Silke. We'd been together for five years, dammit, and I couldn't just turn off my feelings. Of course I didn't know Silke's side of the story. Three weeks had passed since our breakup, did she miss me or had she moved on? I almost laughed out loud: me mentally chasing after one woman while another one's hands were groping me, when I probably had a shot with neither.
 

FleurBleu

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421
Chapter 12 (2/2). Griffin: Choices


The next morning after breakfast, Blanche recorded another YouTube video in her room. Normally she would kick me out for that but it was pouring outside and she only nodded when I promised her I would put in my earphones and get busy at the computer. It wasn't a lie. Besides, what was the point of eavesdropping when I would see the results on YouTube soon anyway? As soon as I had booted up my laptop, I clicked on Silke's Facebook page. She hadn't unfriended me even though her relationship status was now set to 'single'. Not taking the time to dwell on those two contradicting facts, I moved on to recent photos. There were some of friends I recognized but also eight pictures of her with a guy I'd never seen before. A chubby guy.

To be honest, I had no clue how I felt right now, I only knew I needed to get out of here, rain or no rain. Somehow the option of raiding the fridge only surfaced briefly in the back of my mind. In that moment, Blanche emerged from her bedroom, her phone in hand and her cheeks pink, the way they only turned when she felt embarrassed. What on earth had that video been about?

“Uh, in case you’d like to get started with video editing, I was going to take a walk anyway.” I raised my hand in a vague waving gesture. “A lot on my mind.”

Her eyes seemed to search my face. “I can tell,” she nodded at last.

Despite my preoccupation I couldn't help but feel touched. However selfish and shallow she may have been in the past, the Blanche I had come to know was intuitive and emphatic like no one else I had ever met.



The act of walking never failed to rub in my face how long and rocky the path to a healthy life still was but at the same time it always put things in perspective, too: whatever my feelings about Silke, it was no use speculating about her side of the story. She'd made it clear she wanted me to concentrate on myself right now and she was right about that. Even Blanche had to take a backseat. I had to do what was best for me. When I entered the house some time later, Blanche was just getting ready to head out herself. Perfect. With any luck, today's video would be online already.

Bingo.



“Have you ever felt as if you’re drying up inside and getting more unattractive by the day? Nobody has touched you in months, not even you? Well, even if you think that you’re the last person to deserve to be touched, you’re not. Pleasuring yourself is something you never have to earn. Do it, and do it as often as you want, without shame. Try as many toys, techniques, perhaps your hands or the shower head, but never stop. Do it at least twice a week and whenever you’re feeling particularly undesirable.

“Also, explore your fantasies, especially those outside the norm. Perhaps you’re into pain, perhaps you’re into threesomes. You might be into women, short guys, bald guys or heavy guys. Dismiss no possibility. Whatever your preference, you don’t have to be ashamed of it. You don’t have to go public with it but you never have to hide it from yourself either. Have you ever considered that sexual preferences might be as colorful as the people around you? Seriously, anything goes, as long as you don’t hurt yourself or other people. Well, unless you’re into SM but even that has healthy limits.”

That last part made me laugh.

“Try it, try everything. And if you’re not on friendly terms with your body, take a shower first and use your favorite products. Make yourself feel as good about yourself as you can before you make yourself feel even better with the greatest gift of nature to us. Even if you have the feeling that you stood last in line for everything good, this is the one thing nobody can take away from you. Be good to yourself, and to others. Remember: Karma is only a bitch if you are.”



WTF? While I'd been sure Blanche's physical reaction to my body was just her being overwhelmed and lonely, now she was giving other single women advice about exploring if they were into ‘heavy guys’? Was that just an example or did it mean something more? I knew I should probably hang an 'off-limits' sign around her neck to remind me but this latest revelation made me question everything since her our first touch.

Blanche noticed, of course. All through lunch preparations I couldn't stop staring at her as if her cryptic YouTube comment was spelled out on her face in plain German.

“Griffin, what is it?”

“Hmm?”

“You’re staring at me.”

“Sorry, just a lot on my mind.”

Those onions did keep me occupied for some time, my eyes more so than I would have wished, but again they kept drifting over to the woman beside me.

“Seriously, what is it?”

“I...” hastily I cleared my throat, “sometimes it's just difficult to take in how you’re coping with all this. I mean, you have no idea what brought on this condition and what can make it go away and yet you’re handling it. In my case it’s all in my hands and still I’m frustrated as hell. I don't know how you do it.”

Although a pretext, it wasn't a lie either. I hated getting out of breath so fast, how much I sweated and how long everything took. I missed the mobility.

Blanche's hands had paused in the act of dicing veggies, and suddenly I heard her gasp. “I’ve just had an idea—uh, no, I haven’t. Never mind.”

“Hey,” I reached out to turn her by the shoulder, “what’s wrong? What was your idea?”

“I… I was thinking the local ice rink might be something for you because skating is easy on the joints, but then I remembered why I can't go: accidents and doctor visits.”

“You think you're the problem?” I scoffed, caught between bitterness and amusement, “what makes you think I can skate?”

“Didn’t you grow up with ice rinks and skates or at least roller blades? Most Germans can skate.”

“Most thin Germans.”

Again she colored. Crap, now I'd made her uncomfortable again when she was one of the few people believing in my abilities at all. Her absolute confidence that I could do anything, even as a super fat guy, still threw me. Again I touched her shoulder.

“I’m sorry. Sometimes I get a little caught up in myself. Uh, how are you at ice-skating?”

“I used to be decent. I even still have a pair of skates.”

“Me too.” In some by now neatly packed and labeled box. “Have you ever broken a bone or twisted an ankle when you skated?”

“No. Fallen on my butt, yes, but not often.”

The more I thought about her idea, the more I warmed to it. “How about it then? We could pick a time when not too many people will be around and the risk of accidents will be minimal. I have no idea if I can still skate or if my skates will hold me but I want to try, and I think you should, too. You need some fun, urgently. I really think it's going to work; everyone will be fully covered except for their faces, so unless you plan on kissing someone other than me, you should be fine.”

No freaking way, where had that last part come from?! Then again, the more I thought about that idea, the more I warmed to it, too.
 

RVGleason

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Thanks for writing this story with such likable and sympathetic characters.
 

FleurBleu

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Thanks for writing this story with such likable and sympathetic characters.
Thank you so much! That means a lot. No offense to all the shorter stories here, but personally, I like to get involved and invested in the characters and it makes me happy to see that's happening for you.
 

FleurBleu

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interesting, you write very well and as already mentioned you have been compassionate in your character development.
I’m enjoying your story thank you
Thank you, bigisland, as well. I noticed you've been giving my story a lot of likes lately and that's really motivating. I'm glad to have you all rooting for my characters.
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 13 (1/2): Blanche: Ice and fire


The local indoor ice rink, which had been modernized three years ago and attracted skaters from a twenty-mile radius, catered to more than just teenage clients: as the website informed me, every Monday they reserved a time slot from 10 to 12 AM to senior citizens, although a call to the management revealed that they would welcome someone younger but with special needs as well.

When Griffin and I made our way out of the locker area where we had changed into our skates, the elderly but nonetheless athletic clientele turned their heads to take in the enormous man stalking awkwardly towards the door in the ice rink wall. I had to hand it to Griffin, though: as opposed to our last experience on the bus, today he took his environment's reaction with good humor, probably due to his excitement at the prospect of a different kind of exercise. What an admirable attitude – back when I still used mirrors on a daily basis, I had always been conscious about every hair out of place. I could tell how tense Griffin was when he placed his first foot on the ice but when he pulled the other one in and immediately began to glide a few feet, he exhaled a sharp breath and shifted again to propel himself forward.

If 'Watching a super obese man ice-skate' isn't on your bucket list, you need to put it there immediately because Griffin skating was a sight to behold. His thick thighs shifting under his impossibly wide rear, propelling his massive body forward while his bulging arms provided the necessary counter-motion reduced my panties to a pool of slick wetness instantly. It was a mouth and nether-region watering spectacle and my feet glided across the ice behind him with a will of their own in order not to miss a beat.

In my early twenties I had once briefly attempted to research my body's inexplicable reaction but had quickly closed the internet browser with a prickling face and hoped whatever organization was creating a user profile on me would chalk it up to general research. Yes, that's how paranoid I used to be. My physical response to Griffin's striptease, however, had roused what had lain dormant for so long and ultimately caused me to engage in more research before I had recorded my latest YouTube video.

A few search terms had quickly led me through articles, forums and videos, and judging by the state of my underwear after only twenty minutes I had my answer. I was an FFA, a Female Fat Admirer. The more I read about like-minded women discovering, coming to terms and ultimately embracing their predilections, the more I felt a weight lift off my shoulders, or more aptly put, a closet door open. Although I wasn’t quite ready yet to push it open all the way, I felt certain that my body would take care of outing myself sooner or later. I knew now what I wanted and that nothing less would ever do. Griffin needed to lose weight urgently, no doubt about that, and I would support him for as long as he let me, but that didn't mean he wasn't attractive to me at his current size.

After two more rounds that reminded me to use a pantyliner next time, Griffin glided over to the wall where I joined him a moment later. Although he was breathing heavily, his face was almost split in two by his radiant smile, and my hands were itching with the urge to hug him close.

“You're doing great!” I beamed at him instead with both thumbs up.

“The last… time I did this was... probably 200 lbs. ago,” he panted back, resting his forearms heavily on the wall, “but I haven't had… this much fun… in years.”

It took him a while to control his breathing and to straighten up again but when he did, he reached out to pull me close. “Thank you.”

I didn't respond. There was no need to.

We agreed to skate individually for a while, each in our own tempo, and I began to dart over the surface as quickly as I dared, over time even in closer proximity to our few fellow skaters, some of whom moved with admirable skill despite their age. Nonetheless I never quite lost sight of the largest figure on the ice who was making increasingly faster progress.

The large digital clock informed me we had been skating for thirty minutes when I joined Griffin at last. “Want to skate together for a bit?” I smiled at him, taking care not to let my eyes wander over his by now jacketless body too obviously.

“I thought you'd never ask.”

For a while we glided side by side, gradually picking up speed, before I noticed Griffin was tiring. As much as the ice enabled even an obese man to glide with relative ease, his large body has unaccustomed to prolonged exercise.

“Coffee break?” I suggested with a nod at the door to the small cafeteria and was met with a grateful nod. “Last one at the door has to treat!” I threw at him, waited until he nodded and sped off.

A quick check over my shoulder informed me that Griffin was quickly falling behind; what it also did, however, was to mess with my precarious anatomical arrangement on the slippery surface. Before I knew what had happened, I was sitting flat on my butt, the sound of my companion's deep laughter echoing in my ears. Again, I had never dealt well with humor at my own expense but in this moment I joined in Griffin's laughter readily, only to close my mouth again a moment later. Every movement, even the act of laughing, caused my tail bone to communicate its displeasure, and the cold wetness didn't exactly help either.

“Well,” Griffin's voice drifted down to me, “first of all, thank you for treating, second: are you OK?”

“Mostly,” I grimaced up into his grinning face and availed myself of his outstretched hands, carefully pulling myself to my feet again. Due to his considerable anatomy I couldn't help but brush along his beckoning midriff, temporarily alleviating the painful throb.

“How’s your butt?”

I couldn't resist. Slightly turning to offer him visual access to my rear assets, I made a show of glancing over my shoulder and probing my cheeks with both hands before I turned back to him to announce my verdict: “Perfect of course.”

Griffin's previously concerned expression eased into a sly smile as he followed my hands' progress. “Can’t say I disagree.”

To this day I can't say who initiated it but all of a sudden I found myself engulfed by pliable warmth and tasted that indescribable taste of someone your body has approved of long before your mind has had a chance to catch up. Everywhere around me there was softness. Homecoming, shelter, but also tingles and the acute need to press skin to skin.

“Hey, young man, careful with that skinny lady of yours!”

Abruptly both of our heads whipped around to the petite white-haired gentleman in the bright green jacket who had just sped by and turned over his shoulder again to grin at us. Although neither his tone nor face conveyed disgust or derision, I jerked away from Griffin as if the curse had returned for him. I caught a glimpse of his falling face before my eyes dropped to my skates.

"Uhm, how about we get coffee another time?” his low voice drifted down to me eventually. “You hurt yourself, we should get out of here.”

“Do you mind? The pain is getting worse and my butt is wet."

I could have pounded my forehead on the ice the instant the words left my mouth. Griffin wasn't an idiot, he knew that was not the main reason for my reaction. Whatever progress I had deluded myself into having made during our last bus ride, to be labeled a morbidly obese man's girlfriend had catapulted me back into my old spineless ways, no matter how much I had enjoyed our kiss.
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 13 (2/2): Blanche: Ice and fire


The silence between us while we waited for and at last entered the bus home seemed to weigh as much as Griffin, and he kept not only his eyes firmly averted from mine but also his thighs as far as he managed to on the three seats we occupied together. I could feel our fellow riders' stares boring into us but they were not what caused my face to prickle and my head to pound. Whereas Griffin had listened, stroked and comforted me through my pain, I had let him down, just like his ex. From what I had gathered, she had been so ashamed of him in the end that she probably didn’t even want to be seen with him anymore. Nobody deserved that, in particularly not since I felt truly attracted to him. Treating myself to a much-needed inhale, I willed my swirling thoughts to focus: did I want something to happen between us?

Well, duh.

OK then. Did I want more than that to happen between us? A long sigh escaped me as my elbows sank into my thighs and my head into my hands. As much as I had sought to keep him at arm's length initially, all the better had I gotten to know him over the past few days, and every day I liked more what I discovered, inside and out. It wasn't the fact that I could touch him or that I felt lonely, it was him I wanted by my side. There was no way to tell whether we were compatible in the long run but then again who knew ever when they met someone new?

What was it that was holding me back then? What could be more personal than physical, emotional and character preferences in a partner, so how insane would I have to be to keep searching for a socially approvable one? Heck, bowing to public opinion was what had earned me my bad karma and ultimately landed me in my current predicament! There, I had my answer.

That left Griffin's side of the story. He was a single heterosexual male, which meant he at least entertained sexual fantasies about me. However, with my body type differing so far from his ex's, what were the chances that he found me attractive enough as a partner? Where overweight guys had once hardly dared to make eye contact with me, here I was doubting my own lack of attraction in the eyes of a super morbidly obese man – did it get any more ironic than that?

Yet I had to try. Slowly I straightened, catching Griffin's troubled gaze darting between me as well as two teenagers with their smartphones not so subtly tilted in our direction. If there ever was a right moment to declare my intentions, at least non-verbally, it was now, despite the very likely risk that mine was not a body type compatible with Griffin's preferences. After another deep inhale I fixed my eyes firmly on his face until he turned to me. Next I scooted forward and gently but firmly pulled at his heavy hand until it dropped onto what was left of the seat cushion behind me. Please, Griffin, I willed him to understand, let me make up for what I did.

Whether it was my gaze boring into his or the teenagers' giggles, at last he lifted his arm and settled it around my shoulders as far as possible while I scooted back into his softness with a barely suppressed sigh of relief and pleasure. One of the two boys lowered his phone, his jaw slightly unhinged as he took in the scene before his bespectacled eyes, and I couldn't resist puckering up my lips at him before I pulled Griffin's heavy arm closer around me and rested my left hand on his plush thigh. However the elderly skater's comment had spooked me earlier, declaring myself this huge man's at least temporarily significant other came naturally once I handed over the reins to my heart and body.



Not one word was exchanged until we exited the bus twenty minutes later, nor when I resolved the predicament of our arms awkwardly dangling between us by slipping my hand in his. Only when we began to tackle the incline and Griffin's breathing and manner of motion revealed his exhaustion, undoubtedly fueled by our previous skating exercise, did I disengage my hand from his so he could use his arms to propel himself forward as I had watched him do several times before.

“B- Blanche?”

Half an hour had passed since I had looked into his face last, and since then large amounts of color and transpiration had added to it.

“You... can go ahead, I will... catch up with you,” he panted, his massive chest heaving, and in the way I had been able to relate to his needs from the beginning, I sensed he wasn't offering but asking, so I only nodded, brushed my hand along his arm and trudged up the path alone. By the time a glistening and splotchy-cheeked Griffin dragged himself inside the house, I was just finishing up my preparations for a potato soup, so I only greeted him over my shoulder and let him rid himself of his clothes in semi-privacy.

“Coffee?” I inquired at last with another smile over my shoulder.

“Definitely. I… I just need to wash up a little first.”

He joined me at the kitchen counter ten minutes later, wearing a fresh T-shirt and droplets in his hair, and I kept my eyes on his with difficulty as I handed him a mug, grazing my fingers along his. Watching Griffin's waddling gait shift his masses under the fabric was quickly turning into an addiction and I felt my breathing deepen as my eyes invariably strayed over what they had been secretly feasting on all day. The motion of his setting down the mug on the counter caused my eyes to dart upwards again and my hands to abandon their drinking utensil as well.

As opposed to our kiss on the ice earlier, this time I knew exactly that it was I who reached out to pull him close for another toe-curling kiss. His response was instant, and suddenly there was softness all around me again, a softness I set out to explore with greedy fingers before his followed suit a moment later. When Griffin's bulk backed me against the kitchen counter, I swiftly hoisted myself up and spread my legs to let his abundant mass nestle between us before I slipped my fingers underneath the hem of his T-shirt. Although Griffin released a sharp gasp, his ensuing breathing bespoke his eagerness for my touch, and a second later I felt his warm hands roam over my exposed waist as well.

“Couch,” managed to pant in between kisses and wiggled against him until he backed away so I could hop off, dart over to the couch and unfold it before I turned to the delicious man behind me and tugged his T-shirt upwards.

“Blanche, wait, I—“

“Do you want this?”

“Y- yes.”

“Then shut up.”

And with another kiss I made sure he did. After all, what was the point of hiding? I had seen all of this before and not only knew what lay beneath but needed it desperately. After I had rid him of his T-shirt, I sent my sweater, top and bra flying before I dove face first into the beckoning mass of blubber. At some point I had to come up for air but kept my hands where they belonged, kneading and lifting as much as I could fit in my hands.

“Uh—”

“Please let me,” I implored the red-cheeked face in front of me, “you once asked me if I wanted to get to know you. I do. This is me getting to know you.”

A chuckle emerged from behind Griffin's lips. “Can’t you get to know my hair instead?”

“Not that you don’t have great hair but I want to get to know all of you. Try to relax, you have nothing to worry about.”

Although his eyes remained on mine, no sound emerged. Deliberately I let my gaze wander over his exposed torso, nodding in appreciation, a gesture born as much out of conviction as the need to reassure. At last he answered with a nod and a wobbly smile of his own, which I rewarded with a gentle kiss before I peeled off my jeans to reveal my dark green silk panties. Thank goodness for my karma-induced fondness for high-quality materials, and thank goodness for testosterone as well. Apparently Griffin's body has just decided that it would take what I was offering even though its owner wasn't quite there yet.

“You… you look so beautiful.”

“So do you.”

Before he could open his mouth to argue, I distracted him with a way more enjoyable alternative and a moment later his hands cupped around my face while his lips provided some of the best kissing I had ever experienced. He didn't even fight me when I slipped my hands underneath the elastic waistband of his jeans and laid bare the bulging mass that was his rear end. Since his thighs were too thick for the jeans to simply drop to his ankles, I carefully nudged him back towards the couch so he would sit and I could fully unwrap the delectable package in front of me.

“Wait. What about…”

The almost panicky note in Griffin's voice caused the haze of lust to fade abruptly. Then realization set in. “Protection?”

I dropped onto the couch next to Griffin and let myself fall on my back, glaring at the ceiling. “Son of a bitch. Uh, I didn't mean you.”

Chuckling, Griffin leaned on his left elbow and bent over me to brush my hair off my face, a motion which caused his blubbery belly to partly slosh on top of me, a promising taste of what was to come. And come it would! I pushed myself up and onto my feet again and hurried back into my clothes.

“What are you doing?”

“Heading into town to get the biggest box of condoms there is.”

When I turned, I was met with a dubious but increasingly sly grin. He finally understood that I meant business.

“Don’t you dare take the edge off while I’m gone. I want you so horny you can’t see straight.”
 

Xyantha Reborn

- Actually Very Tame!
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I have wanted to reply for a while but it is such a pain on my phone. I can't express how delighted I am for another epic BHM story to come out. As always, the longer stories really help me get emotionally attached, and I am so so so looking forward to more.
 
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FleurBleu

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Xyantha, thank you!! It's the same for me. While I appreciate short stories, I need epic to get invested in the characters.
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 14 (1/2). Griffin: World end


Blanche's goodbye kiss still lingered on my lips as I laid back on the couch. ‘That you can’t see straight’. Funny she would say that to me. The way she’d been pawing my fat body, it seemed she was the one who couldn’t see straight. Now I could only hope that the twenty-five minutes or so she’d be gone wouldn’t cool her off and make her change her mind.

A knock on the door suddenly yanked me back into reality. Who could that be? Hastily I pulled my T-shirt back on and my pants up before crossing over to the door.

“Who is it?”

“The new neighbor.”

Neighbor? That didn’t bode well for Blanche, no matter how friendly the man had sounded. Slowly I opened the door to an Asian man as tall and skinny as Blanche. His age was impossible to guess, anything from sixteen to forty. A good-looking guy if you were into Asian. Uh, I didn’t mean for that to sound racist. His eyes behind the frameless glasses bulged as he took in all of me but he rallied quickly and held out his hand.

“Uh, hello there, My name is Nguyen Truong Anh but you can call me Max. Are you the owner of this house?”

Huh? First accent-free German, then a bunch of Asian syllables and now ‘Max’? Automatically, though, I shook the guy's hand, instantly liking him despite the threat he posed as a ‘neighbor’. Was he going to build a house here then? I'd thought none of the properties were for sale.

“Griffin. Uh, no, I’m not, my…” what was Blanche to me? Oh, what the heck, I wasn’t going to explain our relationship to a stranger. “My girlfriend is. She isn’t around at the moment, though.”

The man’s eyes widened for a moment but then he smiled. “Well, I’m glad to meet you then. I just came by to introduce myself and to say sorry in advance for all the construction that will be going on over the next months. My aunt, uncle and I are having the old restaurant building torn down and rebuilt from scratch. It’s going to be amazing, have you ever had Vietnamese or Khmer cuisine?”

“Khmer?”

“Cambodian.”

“Uh, no, can’t say I have.”

“You must come when everything is ready then. We’ll even give you a neighbor discount,” he added with a wink. “I might be back with more bad news, such as noise or obstructions you must expect, but the real work isn’t starting until the danger of frost is over.”

“Uh, alright, thanks for letting us know.”

“Sure thing. Sorry, got to go, just wanted to say hi. And bye.”

“Bye.”

Then the guy jogged back along the gravel path to the main road. As if on auto-pilot, I trudged over to the couch again and fell back, letting the news sink in. Whether Blanche would change her mind about sex with me while she was gone was the least of my worries now. A new restaurant and therefore a steady stream of people if business went well meant that Blanche’s carefully built world was coming to an end. What was she going to do? There was no question how she would take the news. Was there a solution, a way to soften the blow for her?



By the time I heard her key in the door, I was still lying there with an arm over my eyes, having come up with exactly nothing. I had just struggled into a sitting position when she stepped in with a mischievous smile and her gloved hand curled around a box of promising size.

“Hey there, look, I got enough to last us for a while.” Next she pulled a giant tube of lube out of her coat pocket before she hurried out of her coat and boots. For once she didn't put them into their assigned places but left the boots in the entry and her coat on the kitchen table, which for her was as good as flinging them left and right. Then she actually did fling her jeans and sweater left and right before she turned around to me. Her eagerness died away at once.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I couldn’t tell her now. I needed to think it through how I was going to break the news to her. “Just processing. It's all happening pretty fast.”

“Actually,” she climbed onto my lap as best as she could manage, “it was about time something happened. We’re both shamefully overdue.”

And she planted her lips back on mine. For a second I berated myself that I really should tell her but… well, I was shamefully overdue, and here I had this scaldingly hot girl in mouth-watering underwear on my lap. No-brainer.

“Griffin? I can't wait any longer.”

“Neither can I.”

Even though I’d never done it at my current size, I knew which positions worked, and if I hadn't grossed her out until now, she wouldn't object to my belly resting on her back while I entered her from behind. At any rate it beat laying her down at the edge of the bed with me standing up and burying her under my gut.



As it turned out, my worries were unwarranted. If Blanche wasn’t a master faker, I made her come in record time. Good thing, too, since I didn’t last long either. In fact, hearing her moan the way she did when I entered her almost made me come on the spot. Afterwards we lay there drenched, she mostly in my sweat. Almost instantly, her hands were back on my body, grabbing and kneading handfuls. She was like a kid at a petting zoo.

“Sorry, is this OK for you?” Her apologetic eyes met mine across the ocean of flesh her hands had disappeared in.

“If it is OK for you.”

“I keep repeating myself: more than OK.”

Why did she keep saying that, and with a smile, too? Coupled with that ‘heavy guys’ bit from her video, that could actually be interpreted as her being... into me? Of course there were plenty of skinny FFAs but Blanche had admitted to putting down people she thought beneath her, and there was no doubt I fell into that category. There could be no other explanation for her behavior other than the fact that she was lonely and I was available, although I would never have thought those two things to be so powerful that she would not only touch but have sex with what Silke had refused to touch.

“Griffin?” a pink-cheeked Blanche put an abrupt stop to my inner debate, her hands kneading my body with increased urgency now, “can you… I mean, would you…?”

“… like to go again?” I finished softly when a blush crept into her cheeks, which deepened when she nodded.

“Yes. If not, I can—”

“Shh,” I silenced her by brushing my thumb gently across her full lips. “Yeah, I’d be up for another round.”

“Good. Can I… can I be on top this time?”

Wow. It’s like I didn’t know the woman at all that I had lived with for three and a half weeks. How many sides could one person have? At any rate I intended to explore all of them as long as she let me. Wordlessly I stuffed some pillows under my lower back so that my belly sloshed towards me a bit and she could seat herself better. I could have felt embarrassment that she had to lift that large apron of fat to find what she was searching for but looking at her I just couldn’t. She wanted me just as much as I wanted her, and that was all that counted.
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 14 (2/2). Griffin: World end


After our amazing second time even that woman with her never-still hands was exhausted and I held her close against me while I felt her breathing deepen and her beautiful body relax. Later that day – I had drifted off, too – Blanche was the first to take a shower. It was as if we both sensed we were not ready to take one together yet, if there even was a ‘yet’. While Blanche was in the bathroom, I changed the bedding, causing her to smile widely and hug me with another deep kiss when she saw the neat couch.

“Your turn,” she murmured, gently squeezing the largest roll bulging over the waistband of my sweats while she leaned into another drawn-out kiss. Her time alone in the bathroom clearly hadn’t given her any regrets about what we had done. Still, I reflected as I stepped into the shower, it couldn’t possibly have meant more to her than sex. Blanche might not belong to those people who believed fat equaled ugly, but there were many kinds of fat and I was hardly the attractive kind. Silke was a big girl but she was in great shape, a good dresser and always groomed. Me, on the other hand…

Skinny people have no idea what it means to keep several square feet and countless skin folds clean and dry. As I scrubbed my armpits around the bulks of flab, I had to face the facts: I could take care of myself as much as I wanted to but there wasn’t much I could do to make myself attractive. I’d gained weight so quickly over the past year that my body had become doughy and saggy. No matter how many pounds I dropped, only a skin-removal surgery would get me back into shape. As for dressing well, the best thing that could be said about my clothes these days was that they covered everything and weren’t too snug. It was no wonder Silke had become more and more ashamed of me. Was Blanche? She had certainly looked it on the ice rink but then she’d snuggled close to me on the bus, marking me as hers for everyone to see. I just couldn't make sense of her. The best I could hope for were patience and acceptance but probably never attraction. The chances of stumbling across another FFA directly after Silke were simply too minute.

And that was not the only question here. Assuming this thing between us was more than sex and we did become a couple, where would we live? We couldn’t stay in this small house but Blanche would only be willing to move if her curse/bad karma lifted. That, or if the stream of restaurant patrons would become too much for her, but that was yet another problem to be solved. How, and in particular when would I break the news to her?



When we were lying on the couch again together twenty minutes later and her hands had slipped under my fresh T-shirt again, I couldn’t hold back anymore:

“Uhm, Blanche? The old restaurant down the road, what kind of cuisine was it?”

“Ethiopian,” she murmured while her fingers were doing the kind of things on my chest that made you forget whatever thoughts or words you had lined up.

“I… I’ve never had Ethiopian food,” I managed to get out when she pinched my left moob.

“Neither have the Ethiopians.”

Abruptly her hands withdrew and her white face came up with both hands clapped over her mouth. “Oh my gosh, that was a terrible thing to say!”

“On the contrary,” I chuckled at her while I peeled her fingers off her mouth in order to claim it, “that was a hilarious thing to say. Relax, I’m sure Karma won’t decide on an extension.” I kissed her. “See?” I kissed her again, feeling her return it this time. “I love your humor. In fact, I love everything I’m discovering about you lately.”

Her smile didn’t look entirely convinced but she relaxed enough for me to pull her against me and to place her hands under my T-shirt again.

“But seriously,” she began again while tracing one of my many creases, “I don’t know what kind of restaurant it was. They were already closed when I moved here. Why do you ask?”

“No reason. Just wondering who would open up a business out here.” I just couldn’t ruin the moment.

“Well, as you can see, it was a bad idea. Lucky for me,” she smirked and snuggled closer. The terrible secret I carried with me suddenly seemed to weigh more than even I did.



~~~



As I had for the past few days, I woke up to the scent of Blanche, but the pair of eager hands under my T-shirt was a new addition. I still couldn’t believe we had slept together, although judging by the motion underneath the duvet I was about to get another piece of proof. Indeed a few minutes later we were both panting hard and slick with sweat again. At that rate we would go through a set of bed sheets every day but Blanche seemed as if she couldn’t care less.

All throughout the breakfast preparations she kept brushing, patting or pressing kisses on my skin in passing, but as much as I would have liked to lose myself in the feeling, the Asian-restaurant matter increasingly bore down on me.

My preoccupation wasn't lost to an observant person like Blanche.

“Griffin, what's wrong?” she finally laid her hand over mine on the breakfast table, forcing me to look at her.

“I...” God, how was I going to say this?

“Do you… I mean, should we not have—”

“No!” Instantly I grabbed her right hand with both of mine. “I don't regret a second, do you hear me? It's… it's something else.”

“Griffin, you're freaking me out,” she prodded when I swallowed but no sound came out.

Another gulp and then, bit by bit, the events from the day before tumbled out. I would never have suspected a Snow-white lookalike could pale even more, but she did, at least until her arms shot out and shoved me hard.

“You bastard, you waited until I’d slept with you to tell me that?!”

While her hands had sunk too deep into my blubber to inflict actual damage, she was now on her feet and pummeling her fists into my right upper arm. I barely managed to push myself to my feet under her pelting punches but at last succeeded in throwing my arms around her and keeping them by her side.

“Let go of me, you jerk! Leave me alone, just leave me alone!”

As strong as she was, she was no match against me, of course, and after some more useless struggling, she suddenly broke down crying and slumped in my arms like a deflated balloon. It was as if all life had suddenly gone out of her and she clung to me while she sobbed as hard as she had done after the failed grocery-store experiment. It was so unfair. Even if she had been as shallow and mean as she had insisted, nobody deserved what she had to go through. I mean, how much suffering could one person take, even one as strong as Blanche?

At last the earthquake of sobs abated and the battered beautiful woman in my arms went still. Only for a moment, though. I could practically feel the cogs turning in her admirable head.

“There has to be something I can do to stop the construction.”

I couldn't help it, a small chuckle escaped me at that. “Short of monkey-wrenching or contaminating the ground, I don’t see how.”

I ran my fingers through her hair, massaging her scalp and finally moved down to her chin, turning her face gently up to mine.

“Blanche, you have to face it: things are changing. Construction crews and machinery are going to invade your space and then the patrons of the restaurant will take over. Life as you have built and known it is over. And perhaps that’s a good thing,” I added when I saw her eyebrows contract and her mouth open.

“How can that be a good thing?”

“Because you weren’t living when we met. You were existing. One more year on your own and I think you would have fallen apart.” Her first YouTube video had made that all too clear.

“What’s the alternative?” she threw at me, struggling out of my arms, “move to Oman?”

“Not a bad idea,” I grinned at her before I sobered. “But how about if you try rejoining German society first?”

“No way. You were there at the store, my karma is still bad.”

“Again,” I raised both palms, “it didn’t work with that one guy but maybe it will with other people. But that’s not what I’m getting at: I think you should try how you can live among people again, no matter if you can touch them or not. For instance, I’d really like introduce you to my friends Lars and Evelyn – the ones I visited a while ago – and make you see what it feels like to be in good company. And they are. They would respect your personal space and not pester you with questions. I mean, you’d have to give them some explanation why you’re keeping your distance, trauma for instance or a skin condition, but they’d respect that. Those two are amazing and I’m positive they’d like you, too.”

I could practically her mind race. Meeting my friends would come with great risks for both them and her. Then again, she knew I was right: she had been existing, not living. My entering her lonely, silent world had shown her how much she needed the presence of other people.

At last looked back at me. “Do they have any pets or kids? I can come up with some sort of explanation to adults but a child or animal might hurl itself on me unasked.”

“No, they have neither but… Evelyn is pregnant.”

“The clock is ticking then.”

I hated to agree with her but it was a fact. At last she nodded. “Alright.”

“I’m proud of you.” She let herself be pulled into a hug. “And I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you right away. The whole time since yesterday I tried to think of the best way to break the news to you, but then you came home all smiling and with this huge box of condoms…”

Her giggle caused me to release my hold on her and face her. “I didn’t know if I would have another chance with you, so I took this one. It was low, I know.”

“It’s OK. And I’m sorry for lashing out at you. You were only the messenger.”

“Don't worry about it.”

Then her arms tightened around me again and I felt her lips on my neck. It was settled then, I would introduce her to Lars and Ev. The million-euro question was, though: as what would I introduce her?
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 15 (1/2). Blanche: Opening


“You drive like an old lady.”

I gunned down the cheerful face in the rear-view mirror. “Given you’re the most useless passenger ever, I don't see why you're entitled to an opinion.”

That made Griffin grin even more broadly. “I’m not a passenger.”

“Useless cargo then.”

He snickered and I let myself join in. Since I wasn't hurting Griffin with my words, surely I could crack such jokes without accumulating more bad karma, right? At least he took the transportation arrangements in good humor since we had decided to drive due to the pelting rain and the considerable distance from the bus station to Lars and Evelyn’s house. Humor, however, was the furthest thing from my mind. What if some uptight law-abiding neighbor would alert the police that I was transporting a person in the back of my van? Also, the psychological-trauma excuse I had permitted Griffin to convey to his friends as a heads-up sounded plausible in theory, but what if something happened that caused them to touch me after all?

I simply had to believe I could pull this off today. Perhaps then there was a chance for me to rejoin society, which was what I had hoped for ever since I moved here, only I had grown too comfortable with my sheltered existence. I had to try, and as fate or Karma would have it, I had someone by my side to help me.

However, what if Griffin's friends asked if we were together? As far as I was concerned, I knew what I wanted. With each new bedsheet encounter I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to face the facts. How many others were out there who weren’t even aware they were into big people because it was so counter-cultural? How many who never questioned their choice in skinny partners while secretly wondering why they couldn’t get excited about their bodies? And there was Griffin as a person: this strong, witty, passionate and tenacious man I just couldn't picture my life without anymore. Bottom line, I was his for the taking, but would he want to take me?



At last I pulled up to the curb of the last house on the left. Around a dozen two-story homes from the 1930s with a sandstone base and old-fashioned roofing tiles lined this part of the long street that eventually widened and lead through fields to another, more rural part of town.

By the time we approached the wide sandstone steps, a lanky brunette our age with thinning hair had appeared in the doorway next to a short, curvy woman with a honey-colored bob and a bulging baby belly. Griffin hugged the man first before his wide grin morphed into a gentle smile and he embraced the short woman carefully.

"You look terrific!” she beamed up at him, running her eyes all over his body, “it is so good to see you again.”

No, I did not count down the seconds until the woman's body and eyes finally unfastened themselves from Griffin's. I didn't. OK, fine, it was six.

“Guys, this is Blanche,” Griffin now smiled at me and pulled me close in a gentle, one-armed hug.

“Hey.”

The couple's genuine smile and the fact that they kept their hands to themselves brought my blood pressure down to a reasonable value, and it was with a lighter heart that I followed them into the kitchen where whole-wheat pasta with a promising-smelling sauce awaited gustatory recognition. Despite the modern appliances, the couple had preserved the historic flair of the kitchen, and the broad scuffed bench offered a secure and comfortable seat even to Griffin's wide bottom, which I couldn't help but watch spread in appreciation.

Thankfully the men availed themselves of the conversational oars at once, with Evelyn occasionally adding her own small paddle, while I contented myself with floating and bobbing along. Clearly Griffin had asked his friends to stay away from personal topics in order to ease me back into the company of people. My hero.

When the conversation turned to computers, well, actually to Lars teasing Griffin about being a computer illiterate, I couldn't help but hurry to his defense, and soon he and his wife managed to coax more information out of me than I had initially planned to volunteer. I also noticed Evelyn's eyes commuting increasingly between Griffin and me. Although I had honed my skill of emotional concealment over the years, the novel sensation of tingles at the sight of Griffin's shifting body mass apparently infused my face with sufficient color for an observant person to deduce their origin.

“Are you guys ready for dessert yet?” Evelyn asked at some point, “fruit salad,” she added with a meaningful look at Griffin, causing his cheeks to comment instantly.

“I'd say we let this settle for a while, Ev,” Lars patted his minuscule paunch, "and in the meantime Griff could take a look at that rust spot under the rear window you mentioned."

“I'd love to, but let's help clear the table first, OK?”

The look the couple exchanged at Griffin's comment spoke volumes and explained why he hadn't turned to them for help despite the available space in their home. Clearly his erstwhile nonexistent cleanliness would have put a too severe strain on their friendship.

“Are you a car person, too, Blanche,” Evelyn put in while Griffin hefted himself to his feet, “or would you like a tour of the house in the meantime?”

I barely caught Griffin's encouraging smile, my mind already tangled in the ramifications of Evelyn’s seemingly innocuous suggestion. Exposing myself to the grilling she was about to unleash on me without Griffin’s protective presence? Then again, I had come here today to test how I functioned among people.

"Sure," I replied at last and rose, my eyes conveying to Griffin it was OK for him to go ahead. Evelyn motioned to me to enter the rooms on the first floor before her, each one equipped with original hardwood floors and high ceilings. The slightly crooked stairs in the same wood, well-worn in the middle and smooth from where generations of hands had polished the banister were what drew my eye especially, and I wished I could have sat down on them for a while and run my hands over the historic wood.

“You have a soft spot for old houses, don't you?”

Evelyn smiled at me when we had reached the upper level, a little breathless from the exertion of carrying a tiny extra person up the stairs.

“I didn't use to think so but I guess I do. Uh, shall we sit for a while?”

“That would be good, thank you,” she chuckled, leading us on towards the bedroom where she gratefully sank down on the metal double bed. “Goodness, that feels so much better. Sometimes this little guy – or girl – feels as heavy as a beer keg. Honestly, hats off to Griffin for getting around as well as he does.”

Naturally my cheeks turned into a white-hot inferno at my companion's innocuous comment and I braced myself on the bedspread, bending forward so my hair would shield my face.

"You know, I think it’s incredible that you took Griffin in. Not just putting him up for one night but letting him stay. We both know he isn’t easy to live with.”

At last I dared to turn to her, finding that her eyes were resting on me in warm curiosity. “Neither am I,” I grimaced at her, “I’m sure he gave you an earful about how much I was on his case in the beginning.”

“I’ll admit he did but he does need a kick in his big butt on a regular basis. Seriously, you’re good for him. I’ve never seen him look so well."

“Uh, Evelyn, Griffin and I are not together.” At least as far as I knew. “Besides, I thought he and his ex were perfect for each other.”

Evelyn tilted her head. “In a way,” she began after a moment, “but his weight problem started when he met her. I mean, he has always been a big guy but Silke… she preferred him even bigger.” I chose not to comment on that and hopefully my face didn't either. Where Griffin was concerned, it never checked back with me. “Anyway, in the beginning I was glad for Griffin that she didn't try to put him on a diet but then it turned out she happily watched him pile on pound after pound instead.” Her face suddenly looked as if its owner was undergoing an extended lemon-tasting experience. “Well, until it got too much even for her and she dropped him.”

From what I had gathered about Griffin’s ex, she appeared to be a kind, loving person, yet the little black – or green – part of me couldn't help but rejoice in Evelyn's low opinion of her. Had Griffin meanwhile come to the same conclusion or was he still planning to win Silke back? While I had surrendered to him heart and body, to him it might have been just sex.

Evelyn, meanwhile, had regained her cheerful countenance. “Silke never had him in hand like you do. I couldn’t believe it when he took off his shoes and cleared the table unasked, also the last time he visited.”

A grin tugged at my mouth at the memory of our first fight. “It took a lot of hard work, and hard words. Initially I thought him about as trainable as a cat.”

Evelyn laughed, moving as if to nudge me but quickly pulled back when I flinched.

“Sorry.” After a protracted period of tense silence Evelyn drew breath. “Blanche? Whatever it is, you don’t have to be ashamed of it or feel pressured to explain yourself. I’m just glad Griffin managed to convince you to come, and I hope we’ll see you again.”

“Thanks.”

“And who knows, maybe you’ll change your mind someday about you two just being friends. I know he’s a lot to look at right now but he’s a keeper.”

My thoughts exactly, although I would deem 'and' the more appropriate conjunction rather than 'but'. His size was part of his being a keeper – not his current, unhealthy size but his tendency to be heavy. I refused to revert back to shame for my newly discovered preferences, but after hearing about Silke’s part in Griffin's condition, how could I ever tell him I was attracted to his figure? Wasn’t that a guarantee for his abandoning his diet sooner or later?
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 15 (2/2). Blanche: Opening


“Sorry, hon,” a sigh to my right pierced through the swirling mist of my reflections, “I need to use the bathroom. Junior is using my bladder as a trampoline again. Uh, are you ready for dessert yet?”

“Sounds good.”

“Would you get the guys?”

“Sure.”



Minuscule snowflakes were lazily drifting down onto the fabric of my coat as I hurried towards the narrow garage attached to the right of the house. Despite the biting cold, the men had left the corrugated-metal door slightly ajar.

“So, you and Blanche, huh?”

I knew I should make my presence known but who wouldn't pause to eavesdrop when they heard their name?

“Geez, what did I tell you fifteen minutes ago?”

“I don't remember,” Lars declared with an audible grin.

“That I didn't know and didn't want to talk about it.”

“I think you do know. You and me both know, as does Ev.”

“It's not that simple! Even if she feels the same way, I can't take her at face value.”

“What do you mean? She seems pretty straightforward to me.”

Ditto! Except for my omission of my preference for his size, I had never lied to Griffin.

“She… she's dealing with some pretty tough shit and for some reason I'm the only one she can open up to.”

I had to hand it to him, phrased like that I sounded almost normal.

“Whatever she may feel towards me, it's just because she's feeling vulnerable. Plus, we're cooped up at her place pretty much 24/7, so it was only a matter of time before something happened.”

“Aha, so you did close the deal!”

“Seriously, cut it out, Lars! It doesn't mean anything. We'd never work out in real life. And now please just let it go, OK?”

I'd heard enough, especially the 'It doesn't mean anything' part. Griffin was doing a good deed for the sex-deprived cursee, a deed that got him some much-needed action in bed as long he was still too big to be with someone normal. Automatically I felt my sense of preservation engage. I needed to make it through this afternoon, and once home, I would break the news to Griffin: he had to leave. Every time I laid eyes on him, it would remind me of what he saw in me and that he would fade from my life eventually.

Perhaps he even had a point about our unusual circumstances and enforced proximity being responsible for our attraction to one another. While I would never again doubt my appreciation for his body type, I might be deluding myself about my feelings for him as a person. After all, we still hardly knew one another. The worst part, however, was that even if my feelings were true and Griffin reciprocated, my preference for his size would ruin his health in the long run. Once I confided in him, there would be no reason for him to follow his diet anymore.

After a deep breath and some noise for effect I poked my head inside the garage and informed the men that dessert was ready, keeping my eyes mostly on Lars. Back in the house I subtly maneuvered myself next to Evelyn instead of Griffin and managed to steer the conversation to any topic but Griffin and myself.

Only after the two had, respectively, hugged and waved goodbye to us and we had driven in silence for a while did I catch a hint of concern in the eyes that met mine in the rear-view mirror.

“Blanche? Is everything alright?”

“Meeting your friends has given me a lot of food for thought is all.”

Although not technically a lie, it was the first time I had chosen to mislead Griffin, who now nodded in misplaced understanding before he turned back around. By the time I pulled into the garage, not one word had been exchanged and my little speech was ready. I would sit him down on the couch, explain calmly and—

“Blanche?” Griffin's voice and hand stopped me in my tracks before I could leave the garage, and a gentle but firm pressure around my wrist forced me to turn and face their author. “Talk to me. I can tell something is wrong.” True, everything was wrong. “We agreed we wouldn't hide from each other anymore,” he reminded me, taking hold of my other hand, his motion automatically causing his belly to brush against mine.

A deep inhale finally dispelled the shower of tingles and coaxed out my first words. “We need to talk.”

“Great, the four words that unleash hell.”

“Not hell but the truth,” I told my boots, gently disengaging my hands from his before I looked back at him. “Griffin, it’s time you move on.”

When I saw him open his mouth, I pressed on lest he deter me from what every fiber of my being was struggling against in the first place. “Our little world here, it’s a bubble. It's not real. What we think we're feeling isn't real. You're doing great with your diet but nobody knows how long my condition will last. Maybe it will last forever. If you don't get out soon, each day you'll feel more obligated to stay with me because you're the only one immune and I can't let you do that. You deserve a normal life and a normal partner. You should get out while you can.”

Another swallow dislodged more words I wished I didn't have to utter. “You mentioned once that your boss would take you back on whenever you're ready, even at the office until you can work in the shop again. I'd say with your computer skills you stand a good chance now. You can stay here until you have that job and can afford an apartment but it would be best if we stayed out of each other's way until then. We did a pretty good job of that before.”

“You've been listening to me and Lars talking, haven't you?” Griffin finally demanded when my gaze had dropped to my boots again.

“I didn’t mean to but yes. And you were entirely right. What we have isn't real and it wouldn't be fair to keep you here.”

“Blanche, I thought we had talked about this. We were going to find out if the condition has changed for more people than me. Lars and Ev think you’re awesome and I believe there’s a good chance you'll be able to touch people that like you and that you like back. Let me do this. You helped me and now I'm helping you.”

“But you shouldn't.” My eyes dared to fix themselves on his at last. “What if the key is not finding likable people but helping others? After all, I helped you and could suddenly touch you. If I start taking again instead of giving, Karma will strike with a vengeance.”

The force with which Griffin expelled his next words could have knocked over a person of my former friend Denise's stature. “It all comes down to karma for you, doesn't it? You don't want me to leave because you're so selfless and want me to have a normal life but because you need a new project, a new challenge and therefore a chance for more good karma!”

He shook his head as mirthless chuckles filled the stillness of the garage. “That's all I ever was to you, a project! Is that the reason you slept with me, besides taking the edge off? Show the fat guy a food time and earn some more good karma?”

“No, it's not like that!”

“It's exactly like that!” he roared, abruptly causing my feet to opt for spatial change. “Don't worry, I'll start packing right away. Now that you've house-trained me, I'm sure Lars and Ev will let me stay and you'll have your perfect fat-free life back.”

“This is not about your weight!” At least not only.

“Isn't it? Admit it, Blanche: Ev asked you if we were together, didn't she?”

“Some… something to that effect.”

“I knew it!” he spat at me, “and now you're panicking just like you did at the ice rink. You're ashamed of being taken for a super fat guy's girlfriend! Using me as your boy toy is fine as long as nobody else knows!”

“No, I…”

“If I’m wrong, then why are you blushing? Why, huh? What aren't you telling me?”

That I'm attracted to the man inside the hottest body I have ever laid eyes, fingers and teeth on, and that I want to be with him! Only I couldn't permit any of these words to even peek out of my mouth, not after what I now knew about Silke's role in Griffin's predicament.

With each silent second, his reddened, contorted features sagged like sluggish molasses. “Yeah, thought so,” he finally nodded when the last facial muscle had slipped into place, “I’m out.”

It took me a while to convince my mental and physical faculties to deal with the situation at hand, and by the time I finally let myself inside the house, Griffin was already transferring the contents of his chest of drawers into a big backpack with the same measure of care and gentleness he probably felt like applying to me.

“Griffin,” I addressed his broad back at last, “please don’t leave like this.”

“Why not?” he glared over his shoulder, “you want me to leave, so what does it matter if I do it now or in a week?”

“I meant, please don’t leave mad. It’s not what you’re thinking.”

The current fistful of voluminous fabric dropped back into the drawer as their owner slowly turned on the spot. “Then what am I supposed to think?”

As opposed to our showdown in the garage, his voice held no trace of judgment, only hopeful curiosity. This was my last chance to come clean and yet I could offer him just as little as a few minutes before.

Until now I never knew with how much contempt a man could infuse a nod. A moment later he resumed packing while I stood rooted to the spot, helplessly following the terrible events unfurl.

By the time Griffin had shouldered the backpack and turned to me in the open doorway one last time, not one muscle in his usually so readable face stooped to communicate with me. Even if I found the courage to confide in him now, my words would undoubtedly fall on hard, icy ground with no hope of credulity taking root.

“Lars will come for my stuff within the next days. Don’t worry,” he flashed me a derisive grin, “he will keep your address to yourself, not that you’ll live here much longer anyway. Good luck finding your next karma project.”

The bang of the door left his words and a few dead leaves scattering in his wide wake.
 

RVGleason

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I’ve really grown fond of these characters and I hope this story doesn’t end on a down note. :(
 

FleurBleu

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Never feat. It'll end soon but I promise you'll have a contented sigh :) Thank you for being such a faithful reader.
 

Starling

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Thanks so much for sharing this story with us! Loved it from beginning to end!
 

FleurBleu

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Chapter 16 (1/3). Blanche: Courage


Dead leaves on my impeccable floor. Even when Griffin walked out of my life, he did so leaving a mess behind. See, we would never have worked out in the real world. We'd been thrown together by extreme circumstances and that was all there was to it. Truly. Then why could I picture picking him up from work, checking apartment ads and… introducing him to my… my mom? If voices can crack on a word, so can thoughts. It was as if I physically felt something snap.

The next things that slowly penetrated my overtaxed mind were a sodden mattress beneath me and the near impossibility of raising my pounding head, a suitable complement to the sensation in my chest. Creeping despair twisted its fingers around my chest, infusing each breath with a pain I felt would be my constant companion from now on instead of the one that had walked out on me earlier.

I'd never believed I would one day revert to my collegiate habit of dragging myself out of bed feet, knees and rear end first, but somehow I managed to convey myself back into the other room. What now? 8:20. The mere notion of composing dinner was met by a sulky silence on my stomach's part. Sweep away the leaves? What for, it was not as if I expected guests anytime soon. Or ever again. Perhaps I could record a video? Nope, I was all out of advice.

A mightly yawn suddenly tore from my throat, painfully stretching skin coated with a layer of dried tears. With my back to the mirror, I slowly dragged an icy cold washcloth across my face until I felt myself shiver from the copious number of drops that had trickled underneath my sweater and joined their dried-up lachrymal cousins. Blindly I turned and reached for the first towel my fingers brushed against.

Oh God. The instant my nostrils picked up Griffin's scent, my knees buckled and I slumped onto the floor, some residual wetness from the shower instantly soaking the bottom of my jeans. With their reservoirs literally drained, my overtaxed eyes only contracted a few times before throwing in the figurative towel. Suddenly a non-figurative one, a green one, slowly came into focus: Griffin's. Having accompanied my fall, it was lying next to me in a crumpled heap, almost like in our early days.

No, the image wasn't quite right yet. Gratefully catching a second wind, I heaved myself to my feet and yanked open the mirror cabinet, the force sending a small packet of cotton swabs falling and a few spilling out over the floor. Perfect. Next I balled up four tissues and sent them flying before I opened the toilet seat and surveyed my handiwork. It was as if he'd be back any moment for me to yell at him for making such a mess.

The hysterical giggle ricocheting off the tiled walls would have done a sorceress proud. One hour without Griffin and I was already well on my way to insanity.



~~~



A new day fluttered its eyelids. I didn't. If mirrors and I ever decided to work through our dysfunctional relationship, a day that arrived with what felt like a Titanic's cargo area worth of suitcases under my eyes was not the right time to start therapy. This was a day meant to be spent in bed. Burying my aching face and bare skin deeper in the plush mass next to me on the couch, I greeted my favorite scent.

No. No, no, no, no! The scent was almost gone and the plushness was all wrong, too. Forcing open my leaden eyelids at last, I glared at Griffin's oversize duvet case I had stuffed with everything I could find the day before and rearranged into the shape I would never forget.

No, off! Out!

All my limbs simultaneously fought off the offending bundle I had hugged close only moments ago. After taking care to kick and stampede over it to punish it properly for its outrageous non-Griffin-ness, I marched into the bathroom with marginally warmer feelings about this day, only to stop dead in my tracks in the open doorway at the sight of last night's mess.

Have you ever peed, drunk and cried at the same time? It works. Sitting on the toilet, I gulped water from my toothbrush cup, fueling the fresh stream of tears trickling down my cheeks and onto my bare torso. Only when every square inch of my skin featured goosebumps the size of goose eggs, did I drag myself to the bedroom and changed into sweats and a hoodie. Next, I watched my hands reach for my coat and my feet slip into my boots before I caught my fingers grab my car keys and my feet trudge over to the van. The folded-up beige blanket in the cargo area still bore the imprint of Griffin's literally impressive rear. After having slid the door shut, I lowered myself onto the fabric gently, leaned against the back rests of the driver and passenger seat and hugged my knees close to me.



Just like in the bathroom earlier, the cold that had tiptoed in and wormed its way underneath my clothing caused me to abandon my location, my stiff limbs imparting their discontent instantly. Two mugs of scalding tea later, I was finally ready to contemplate my new existence at last.

Although Griffin had only been part of my small world for a month, he had irrevocably altered it. How was I to resume where I had left off when every square foot of this house reminded me that he was no longer part of it? What was the point of carrying on like I had when the construction of the new restaurant was looming on the horizon like Godzilla? Griffin was right, my world was coming to an end. I had to follow his advice and try if I could touch other people, and if I couldn't, figure out how to function in normal society anyway.

If I could, I would be able to consider new career paths. The therapist idea resurfaced that had first poked its head in at Griffin's question. Perhaps I could work as a diet coach – obviously not for adults given my physical preferences, but perhaps for teenagers. They were particularly prone to eating disorders and should receive help early in their lives, not only through healthy dieting but also through a positive body image. Who would be better suited for that than me? It would mean starting from scratch but I knew I possessed the necessary skill set: resourcefulness, empathy and the ability to bear silences and outrage, just to name a few.

Although each of my thoughts was precariously grounded on the premise that the curse/bad karma would lift, a cluster of giggles escaped from my throat as I rose and spun in a circle with my arms outstretched the way I had done as a kid. A new life. I could do this! And part of my new life would be reaching out to everyone I had left behind in horror and panic, starting with Luciana and her now eight-year-old daughter Emmy. Had her hands fully healed? Did she even remember the incident?



Although I could never explain the truth to my friends, by the time I had composed and sent off the email to an address that hopefully still existed, I felt that my socially acceptable version might actually give her closure. I had written to her that, although I still didn't know what had happened to cause the burns, I had been dealing with severe psychological problems at the time, and seeing her daughter hurt had caused me to snap and run. I hadn't been able to break out of it until recently but now I was starting over and wished to make amends. I hoped she would forgive me. Next I emailed Denise in similar words, which left only my mom. I would go and meet her, no matter the outcome of the experiment. I would hug her with gloves if necessary and take a risk by explaining the truth.

Something else trailed in the wake of that particular thought. Actually, not 'trailed' as much as 'trudged': Griffin. That image that had swum in the lake of my tears yesterday, the one of introducing him to my mother, washed up on shore again. It was because of him that I would see her again and he deserved all the credit for it.

Then again, he deserved even more a normal life with a normal partner. Telling Griffin how I felt in order to keep him with me would have been nothing but selfish, and my selfishness was what had caused me to end up in my current situation in the first place. If I hoped to start a new phase of my life with my sanity intact, I had to strive to give, not to take.

However, what if I had taken? What if Griffin felt something for me, too, only I had never let him get a word in edgewise? Had I misconstrued what I had overheard in Lars and Evelyn's garage? Oh God, in that case I would have hurt him more than I'd ever had before.
 

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