BBW Turkish delight

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Swordfish

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TURKISH DELIGHT

by

Swordfish



BBW, weight gain. A bookish male forms an unlikely friendship with a Turkish girl who works at the local fruit and veg store. Their relationship friendship blossoms; but so does her waistline...




When I moved into my London flat in the area five years ago, the nearest place to get fresh fruit and veg – although fresh in this case isn’t quite the word - was a dingy little store several streets away that specialised in selling items that looked as if they had fallen off the back of a lorry or were scrounged from supermarket dustbins. Bruised carrots. Yellowing lettuces. Oranges about to turn into penicillin. The English couple that ran it didn’t inspire confidence either, being about as dishevelled as their stock. I can’t remember what the store’s official name was; I just thought of it as ‘The Place of Last Resort’.

After about a year of trying to avoid their services, I was encouraged to find the premises one day under new management. It was now run by a Turkish guy, and he seemed to know what he was doing, actually getting vegetables and fruit that people might want to eat. Week after week, the stock of items seemed to grow larger, fresher, and better. The new owner worked really hard turning the place around, and it obviously paid off financially. When the premises next door became vacant, he rented that space as well, using it as his store room for what had become quite an exotic and imaginative array of food suitable for all kinds of cuisines. As the business grew, so did his number of employees, all of them Turkish, all male, bantering with each other in the usual masculine way. Eventually a young female Turkish face joined them at the till, to be replaced after a while by another one, then another one. None of them stayed very long. I figured that it couldn’t have been very easy working there, outnumbered by Turkish men busily behaving like, well, men.

With the store’s regular supplies of potatoes of all shapes, interesting lettuce, and curious objects like passion fruit, I quickly became a regular customer. Around two years ago, I found another reason to frequent the place. She was the latest female employee, Turkish of course, significantly prettier than her predecessors, medium height, dark hair dangling down either side of a friendly face, further blessed with a pleasant smile, a cute freckle just under her right eye, and a delicate, melodious voice that immediately charmed me, even though the words I heard, at least at first, barely stretched beyond “Hi”, “Cash or card?” and “Would you like a receipt?”. I admired her general physique as well, which was fairly trim, though she had slighter bigger breasts than the rest of her might lead you to expect, and a very modest curve on her tummy, rather like one of those sweet little air pillows sometimes used in packaging to fill out a box.

I thought of both features as engaging quirks that gave her an extra twist of femininity, interestingly emphasised one day when I caught her stretching her torso in a big yawn – a movement that pushed both breasts and air pillow further out. For some reason, I found myself thinking it was a strange prefiguring of how she might look if she ever grew heavier.

Each time I did my little food shop I hoped she would be on duty. Like me at the second-hand bookshop I worked at, she was employed in shifts. I tried to remember which days she was there, mornings, afternoons, early evenings. Sunday was generally reliable, also mid-week afternoons. With no particular goal in mind, other than being pleasant, I gradually began to engage her in light conversation. Awful weather isn’t it? Have a good night. See you again! Over the weeks, a light customer flow permitting, the exchanges slowly grew longer. She seemed to enjoy talking to me, even if it was often about fruit or veg. I got into the habit of deliberately picking out some exotic item, something I didn’t know how to cook, just to have a conversation point and to enjoy the warmth of her voice and smile.

“You are adventurous, aren’t you?” she’d remark, pricing up some furry ball of fruit that looked just like that alien species in the creaky old original TV “Star Trek”. Tribbles, they were called. I was going to eat tribbles. Then, on my next visit, she’d ask me what I thought of them - the tribbles, kiwanos, or jujubes, or whatever they were.

In time I felt confident enough to tell her my name - it was Michael, nothing fancy – hoping that would be the gateway to me learning hers. She wasn’t offering it at first, so I asked a bit nervously, “And yours?” She grinned and said, “It’s on your receipt!”

I peered at the little strip of paper she’d just given me, full of details I’d never absorbed. “What? Where?”

“Where it says ‘Operator’.”

“Filiz? Filiz? That’s your name? It’s lovely!”

Her grin broadened. “It means blossom, to flower, to sprout.”

“You mean you’re named after a vegetable?”

She tinkled with laughter, sweet as the sound of silver bells. “No, silly, to sprout, to blossom.” She waved her hands in the air, as if describing petals opening, or anyway something growing. Looking back on it, this was the magic moment when I felt we’d finally made some personal connection, something deeper than routine chatter between customer and employee.

But having achieved that, what next? I could hardly hold up other customers for half an hour talking about how I disliked iceberg lettuce. Any advanced contact with the bewitching Filiz would have to be outside her work hours. A few weeks later I plucked up enough courage to suggest we could have a coffee or something at the end of one of her shifts. “Sure,” she said, almost without blinking, “that would be nice.”

Would it? I began to wonder. It would be nice, certainly, if we discovered we had things, experiences, feelings in common beyond fruit and veg. After all, I knew nothing about her, nothing substantial anyway, beyond what I saw with my eyes. What if there were awkward silences, when we’d exhausted our repertoire of chat? What if she’d, say, never opened a book in her life, and spent all her spare time gaming or painting her nails in funny colours? How could we get on then?

I finally decided that this was a risk I’d have to take. And I guess she did too. At the appointed time, she met me outside the store, by the crates of citrus fruit and larger vegetables usually displayed to lure passers-by. She wore a puffer jacket, suitable for autumn, which gave her a slightly chunky look, and a cute little hat. I suggested a place up the road, which looked good for the usual drinks and snacks. That was run by Turks as well, she told me. And once settled in at our table, to my great pleasure we were off and away, each telling the other our backgrounds, hers obviously more exotic than mine. She’d come to the UK when she was three, she said, when her parents had emigrated, following the path of other relatives, living and working with them too, before they branched out with a little foodstore of their own. Finally getting fed up with British weather, and finding the foodstore hard, they eventually moved back to Istanbul about five years ago.

All this was certainly interesting, though as we drank our Turkish coffee and consumed one of those sweet Turkish pastries, of which she seemed rather fond, I was secretly more curious about what her living situation was, whether she had a boyfriend, or girlfriend for that matter. She lived with an older sister, she told me. She also revealed she was 23. I said I was somewhat older, but not enough to be frightening. She didn’t seem to mind. The whole experience, I thought, was successful enough for me to suggest at the end that we met up again “sometime”. “Let’s do that,” she said, the freckle under her right eye moving a little as she smiled. She really was lovely.

When we met for our next coffee a couple of weeks later, she greeted me with a modest kiss, something I hadn’t so far dared to attempt. Much of the talk in these early meetings seemed to be about Turkish cuisine - she was proud of her Turkish heritage - and our abilities, or lack of them, in cooking. I’d tell her about some disaster I’d recently had, like absent-mindedly heating up a saucepan without putting any water or vegetables inside. Or I went back to the memory of some student flatshare when I accidentally prepared a depressing meal where everything on the plate was more or less white: the potatoes, the piece of fish, even the plate. She had her own tales of burnt saucepans, of dropping fancy desserts onto the floor. We found we shared another interest: watching the Swedish detective dramas, “Scandi noirs”, they called them, currently being shown on TV. One way and other, there was plenty to talk about.
 

Swordfish

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Looking back on these early days, what surprises me more than ever is the speed at which things then developed, and indeed the fact that they developed at all. Amiable chit-chat and fond feelings are one thing, but we were still two people with different lives, me a rather lonely bachelor more familiar with books than with negotiating human relationships, she much more of a girl about town, unbookish though certainly intelligent, with a family background way outside my experience. Yet even within these few coffee meetings we’d somehow generated enough momentum to propel us towards what you might call friendship-plus.

The first phase of the acceleration featured evenings in Turkish restaurants, soon curtailed on the grounds of economy - neither of us earned very much - but very enjoyable while they lasted, certainly on the food front. After I expressed surprised that menus in Turkish restaurants never seemed to have dishes featuring turkey (I was only joking), Filiz guided me through the different ways of cooking lamb, aubergine, rice, lentils, tomatoes, onions, garlic: the ingredients and tastes went on and on. Then there were the ancillaries: the mezes, or hors d’oeuvres, beforehand, fresh bread and olives during, and sweets afterwards, like Filiz’s beloved baklava, and everything washed down with a bottle of Turkish wine. Cooking in our own flats was nowhere near as lavish or authentic, but I bought a Turkish recipe book and did what I could to duplicate some of what we had in restaurants. My prize creation, assuming I had enough time and patience, was what Filiz called ‘Moussaka à la Mickey’ - she liked to call me Mickey - though it generated rather more food than it was probably wise to consume in one go.

It was after a month or so of these dining encounters that I realised that Filiz had started to gain some weight: real weight, this time, and not because of a puffer jacket or the effect of a big yawn. It wasn’t surprising, I suppose, considering the calories flying around when we were together, though I didn’t seem so affected. I spotted the change first in her face, which was looking a bit fuller, with rounder cheeks, emphasised whenever she smiled. Sometimes there was even, if she lowered a head, the faintest suggestion of a double chin, soon gone once the head was raised: hardly a crime, I know, and quite common, but still, this was something new. The clinching evidence, though, came one night when we sat after our meal watching the first episode of a new “Scandi noir” about a Swedish detective with problems, called Gudrun, who seemed to spend most of her time not solving crimes but being analysed by her psychiatrist in a gloomy apartment with particularly low lighting.

Half way through I turned to her on my sofa and asked her if she understood what was going on. “Absolutely not,” she replied, almost with enthusiasm. That’s one thing I liked about Filiz: she was truthful.

“Well, that makes two of us, then!” We both laughed, and then as my eyes began pivoting back towards the screen I suddenly noticed the newly increased curve of her belly, looming out of a familiar pair of blue jeans, often worn when she was at work, but now looking a really tight fit. She’d definitely put on some pounds.

I didn’t make any comment about the matter, and the evening went on its usual way, climaxing in a friendly hug about 11 o’clock and a promise to see each other soon. Putting my arms around her, moving towards our parting kiss, I felt her breasts and tummy pressing against me as never before. Descending the stairs, she turned to give me a last farewell smile, and a last flash of those fuller cheeks.


The discovery that Filiz was gaining some weight left me with mixed emotions, some of which I didn’t understand. Since I’d always considered her a paragon of beauty, part of me felt that I should be upset that her body’s outlines were beginning to change and, officially speaking, not for the better. But another part of me - the bigger part - found the slight physical change fascinating. Now that I spotted her larger belly, I kept looking out for it, hoping the clothes she wore would give it prominence, feeling disappointed if they didn’t. I took equal pleasure in her very small and fugitive double chin, here one second, gone the next. An ornithologist might feel the same way about a rare bird visiting a garden: something deliciously novel, worth attention and respect.

Over the next few weeks, aside from pleasuring in her fuller form, I began to notice something else new about her: a habit of fiddling with what she was wearing, flexing the top of her jeans, say, or pulling at the bottom of her blouse, as if making sure that everything still fitted. And one time, after a meal, she gave her new tummy a quick pat. Was this a sign that she was getting used to being a little bit bigger, or a sign that she wasn’t? I was unsure. I hoped she wasn’t embarrassed or distressed by her extra pounds: it hurt me that she might feel guilt or pain simply by doing something so ordinary and something she clearly enjoyed: eating food. Besides, I could see nothing but extra beauty, not less, in her gently growing curves.

Three weeks later, the next stage of the journey arrived. It was a Wednesday night, and I’d been invited over to Filiz’s flat for the usual dinner, plus another TV episode of the Swedish thriller, “Night Shifts”, of which we were fading fans. Rasheda, her sister, was away for a few days, and Filiz was obviously making more of an effort than usual to entertain her guest. She’d made a moussaka of her own, far tastier than mine. She’d also slipped out of her work clothes and put on a becoming black dress, a tight clinger that made the most of her new curves. She looked particularly delightful, I thought, and a much bigger attraction than Gudrun’s latest adventures. Difficult enough to follow in episode one, the narrative was now getting more complicated than ever, chiefly because the detective’s twin sister had turned up and we couldn’t work out why. Filiz’s theory, not unreasonable, was that the twin sister would prove to be the murderer in the crime that Gudrun was trying to solve. My theory was that she was just a red herring, but Filiz said she couldn’t be red as everyone in the series always looked grey, at least in the murky photography. I smiled, looked at Filiz again, dressed in black, and placed an appreciative hand on her right thigh.

We struggled through the rest of the episode, finished off the bottle of wine, and then it was time for me to go. But then she said with a seductive, beckoning kind of look, “Why not stay over, if you want to?”

“You mean - ?“

“I mean.”

Of course I said yes. Within ten minutes, we were in her bedroom, me cautiously loosening my clothes - it had been such an age since I’d been in this situation - while she wriggled free of the black dress, followed by her private niceties, leaving her at the end naked and unadorned, perched on the edge of the bed.

“I’m not at my best right now,” she said sorrowfully, following my gaze, “I’ve been putting on weight”. Below her breasts, such lovely round breasts, sat her original little air pillow of fat, but now grown wider and deeper, stretched out in a roll across her midriff, resting on the top of her thighs. “It’s all your fault, too,” she went on, pinching the roll between two fingers. “You’re making me eat too much!”

At the same time I noticed the love handles filling out each hip and the soft look of her upper arms. All in all, Filiz without her clothes was a little fleshier than I had imagined. Maybe she always had been.

"But you look gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous!” I cried.

She gave me a wry look. “Try saying that in a lie detector test.”

I told her that wouldn’t be a problem. “I’d pass with flying colours. And so would you, flying colours.”

She let loose her warmest grin. Sorrow had passed. “Stop talking,” she said, “and come to bed.”
 

Swordfish

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At first we lay side by side, gazing into each others’ eyes. Needing to warm us up and get acquainted with her body at close quarters, I started gently massaging her breasts. She told me to take off my wristwatch. “Sorry about that,” I murmured, before returning to the nipples, fingering them oh so lightly, then following a downward path over her tummy, feeling the layer of fat quickly thicken as the belly button approached before starting to taper down towards the delicate forested area where her tummy and legs met. She obligingly moved her legs apart, raised them, and I sank into place on top, comfortable in the cushion of her curves.

What followed probably doesn’t need description, though even in the heat of it I was struck by the sheer intensity of the groans, pantings and cries that we produced. It took me back to a time at university when my room was next to a couple who seemed to burn up the sheets every evening, and always at a decibel level that I’d never ever managed myself, either then or since. Until now. It was a wonderful night, and I didn’t need Filiz’s grin to tell me she felt the same.

Waiting for sleep to overcome me, I worked out that all my previous bed partners – I could count them on the fingers of one hand - had been rather lanky beanpoles, with not much padding on the bones. Filiz’s soft coating of flesh was something else. I suddenly realised how dense I’d been, blind to something so obvious. I’d previously thought it was just the novelty of Filiz gaining that so attracted me. It was more than that. There was serious sexual stimulation involved. I felt I’d uncovered a secret equation: that extra pounds on Filiz’s body equalled extra sensuality and better sex. No wonder I had started to find pleasure simply in watching Filiz eat, absorbing the calories that might well end up pushing out her tummy a little more, filling some hollow, or thickening her thighs. As a discovery, my equation might not have been up there with Einstein’s theory of relativity, but it was very significant for me.

Waking up together in bed was wonderful. I cupped her in my arms, gazed at her sweet, slightly fattened face, kissed her forehead, cheeks and lips, and repeatedly stroked her right shoulder. I so wanted to cherish and take care of her. “I have to get up,” she eventually said, her melodious voice heavy with regret. Her sister was returning today, she told me. We both agreed it was a pity, though she said Rasheda wouldn’t have any objections to anyone sleeping over. It was obvious to both of us that we would be doing this again, either at her flat or mine.

She took a quick shower and washed her hair; my own shower was much quicker, enough to be able to catch her putting on her clothes, buttoning and zipping herself up for the outside world. Armed with my secret equation, I found this both teasing and thrilling. On went the panties and the camisole top, clearly outlining the growing tummy and the perky round breasts. On went an off-white blouse, obviously getting to be a bit of a squeeze, with extra care needed to fix the small buttons around the breasts. Then it was time for the jeans, the famous blue jeans, now requiring an extra yank to pull them over her belly and hips. There was no need for a belt, I spotted, to tighten the jeans and keep them hoisted; her midriff flesh now did that for her. With clothes in place, holding back that softened body, I found every simple move she made exquisitely provocative as she darted about the kitchen, preparing a simple breakfast of coffee, eggs, and Turkish bread.

We quickly arranged a return visit to my own flat, the first of many overnight stays. I began to realise that, yes, it was true: against the odds I was actually in a relationship with Filiz! She stayed over at least once a week, often twice, happy to linger over the coffee, the wine, and a dinner where I’d watch her forking her way through portions that I tried to ensure were quietly larger than my own. This was a golden time for me; for her too, I felt, as we grew together in love and intimacy. Despite occasional comments like “I shouldn’t be eating this” or some more cautious fingering of her belly, Filiz continued to enjoy eating whatever came her way, with the expected results: more fat on her belly, bigger love handles, a fuller face. With things going so well, on every front, I began to think about the possible next step in our relationship: actually moving in together. Being a proper couple. Admitterdly, the four flights of stairs up to my flat, in a typical London terrace of big Victorian houses, weren’t ideal; but at least there was room for two when you got there.

Bed sessions continued to be luxurious, though as warmer weather came with the spring I began to notice that perhaps my foreplay stroking her body wasn’t arousing her as much as before. Her appetite also seemed to have shrunk a little. Watching her set off for work, belly sometimes poking out of last summer’s tops, really too small now for the job, I thought she might be reining herself in a bit because she felt self-conscious. It wouldn’t be surprising: even I was occasionally taken by surprise by the changes that had taken place, changes that were beginning to make her just as chunky as she previously looked when puffed up in that quilted jacket.
 

Swordfish

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The first rumblings of a thundercloud came when I was invited over for a dinner with her sister, whom I’d usually seen in their flat only in passing. A secretary for an estate agent, she was opinionated, a bit sharp-tongued, but pleasant enough, and as slim as Filiz used to be. While Filiz was busy in the kitchen, Rasheda sang my praises, saying that all her sister’s previous boyfriends had been worthless clowns and quickly dumped, but I had a bit of class. Educated, too. “Well, up to a point,” I said. She then went on to tell me that I was making Filiz very happy, but also chubbier. I felt myself blushing crimson, though she explained that she didn’t mean that I was doing it in purpose. It was just a case of relationship pounds. I admitted that she was putting on weight, while adding that I thought it suited her.

“You wouldn’t say that,” Rasheda replied, “if you caught her swearing in the morning when she realises she can’t fit into another pair of jeans. Before long I bet you’ll be hearing the D word.”

The D-word? I couldn’t think of any strong swear word beginning with D. Damn? Damnation? Then Rasheda, wearing a “men are so stupid” expression, told me the D word was diet. My face fell, and only partly because I’d been barking up the wrong tree.

Rasheda continued, whispering now: “Then there’s the bra problem.”

“What about them?”

“They don’t fit her any more. She’s spilling out of them or doesn’t wear them at all. Her breasts really need a controlling hand.”

“Yes, mine,” I thought, behind closed lips.

Rasheda pressed on with her whispering: “Gaining weight for a woman, Mickey, is never easy.”

“Obviously not,” I said.

The next sound we heard, from the kitchen, was “Dinner’s ready!” Filiz then swept through the door, beautiful breasts bouncing, rounder face glowing, bearing a baking tray of her best moussaka.

“What have you been talking about?” she said gaily.

I tried to sound breezy. “Oh, nothing much.”

Rasheda then chipped in. “Greyhound racing.”

Looking only faintly perplexed, Filiz moved onto spooning portions onto our plates, and the evening went on its merry way. But it did leave me somewhat disturbed about some of my behaviour. By surreptitiously plying Filiz with extra calories, hadn’t I been thinking of my own pleasure than her own? Shouldn’t I have paid her proper respect by seriously considering her own feelings, and not just lazily assuming that she was more or less happy enough to go along for the ride? It worried me.

The lightning I expected to strike struck several days later when she’d agreed to come by for lunch: not something we usually did, but it just fitted in with our schedules. I was eager to tell her about my visit the day before to an eccentric book collector who only collected books that were six inches high – Filiz enjoyed lunacies like that. But all that was knocked out of my head when she immediately announced, with apologies, that she actually didn’t want lunch after all. The D word had arrived.

“Ever since we’ve been seeing each other I’ve been gaining weight. I know you kind of like it, but it’s getting to be too much for me. I’ve got to cut back. One of the guys at work yesterday poked me right in the middle and called me a crumpet.”

Crumpet? I didn’t like the sound of that.

“He’d just bought some crumpets at the supermarket and he said their description on the packet sounded just like me. ‘Scrumptiously soft and fluffy’ ”.

It was indeed an accurate description, and I’m sure had been put on the packet as something positive, but I still didn’t appreciate him saying it, especially as he was clearly making fun of her. “I’ll go and beat him up!” I said, coming over all Sir Galahad.

She managed a slight smile. “Oh, Mickey, don’t be silly. He works out, he’s bad-tempered, and got lots of tattoos. You wouldn’t come out of it very well.”

“Well...” - I searched around for a softer alternative - “I’ll write a note to his mother.”

“Mickey,” she said, laughing in spite of herself, “this is serious!”

Oh, I knew it was serious, and that she was serious, and I also knew that I’d give her my full support her whatever she did. I’d fallen for her when she was thinner, and I felt our connection, that inner fire, wouldn’t go away if things changed. Her chubbing up had just been the icing on the cake. And when all was said and done it was the cake I loved the most. Sitting round the kitchen table, I told her that whatever she needed to do, I would be with her, though I argued that as she’d be standing at her till all afternoon she should still eat a little something. She suggested a little salad and a piece of fruit. “No dessert,” she added, “nothing sweet.” No icing, then. It was OK.

I swung toward the kitchen, hoping to find enough cucumber, tomatoes, and a lettuce with a bit of a bounce, and asked if she had a diet goal. She pointed to her tummy. “This,” she said, ”I want to lose this”, though she added that she might keep just a bit of it to please me if I was good. I wasn’t sure exactly how she’d defined “good”, but I told her I’d be on my very best behaviour.

Once I’d rustled something up, it was odd to see her facing such a meagre meal, though I knew I would have to get used to it. Trying to keep the mood light, for my own sake as much as hers, I dipped into my memory bank and told her that I’d once joked with my bookshop colleagues that I was thinking of having a tattoo myself, on the calf of my left leg.

“A tattoo of what, for God’s sake?” Filiz said, looking incredulous, tomato poised on the end of her fork. I said I’d suggested a tattoo of T. S. Eliot, but emphasised that it was all a joke. I hadn’t been remotely serious.

She looked more incredulous than ever. “T. S. who?” I helped her out: a big American-British poet, 20th century, worked in a bank, then in publishing. Wrote a famous poem called “The Waste Land”.

“The waist land,” she mused in her melodious voice, rubbing a hand over the looming bulge at the top of her jeans, “that’s just what I want to lose!”

I felt so fondly towards her at that second that I immediately leant over and kissed her. It wasn’t just what she said, it was how she said it: the voice so light, so expressive and animated, so innocent, running over the words with the sparkle of a clear mountain stream. How could I not adore her? I would never think of “The Waste Land” in the same way again.

Under the new dispensation our intertwined lives carried on, though I felt with a little less enjoyment of life from both sides. Constantly watching your food intake, counting calories, saying no when deep down you meant yes: all that has to cut into a relationship’s rhythm and flow, especially when only one of the pair is dieting. I didn’t know what bathroom scales would have revealed - neither of us had any - but I certainly grew aware that her tummy was getting less prominent and her face a little tauter. The bed experience wasn’t ruined, though I couldn’t deny that I missed the luxury of the cushion of softness that had built up over her body during the winter months. In time she had lost enough pounds to be able to reclaim at least some of the clothes she’d had to put on one side, though I thought with some of her t-shirts she was rather jumping the gun.

Filiz’s enjoyment of life took another and much more serious dip when worrying news arrived from Turkey: her mother wasn’t at all well, and was due for tests. Their mother, I know, was a powerful force in their family, really its heartbeat, the one that still kept it a family even when some of its members were geographically separated. Both sisters became anxious, wondering what the tests might show. Filiz’s appetite even for salads started to dwindle under the strain. Once news of the tests came through, the black cloud they were living under only grew blacker still. A galloping bone cancer had been diagnosed. She hadn’t long to live.

Both of them knew that they had to go back to Istanbul and await whatever happened. Filiz didn’t know how long she could stay away from work, though her boss was understanding. Shifts could be juggled; a fill-in could be found. Rasheda, with a classier job and unused holiday days stacked up, had more elbow room. But however it was arranged, both of them knew they couldn’t delay. A couple of days later, I mournfully stroked Filiz’s sad face, kissed her goodbye and held her in a hug that I wished could last forever. I can’t remember what consoling or encouraging words I found to say, but I’m sure they were very inadequate.
 

Swordfish

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I found the separation hard to bear. Part of the trouble was the uncertainty of knowing when we could talk. I suspected she’d have little time to herself in Istanbul, quite apart from any technical glitches with computers, phones, all the rest of it. Apart from an email via her father’s computer saying they had safely arrived, I was left in the dark for most of a week with no other company for conversation except my bookshop colleagues, the occasional customer, and the man who collected books six inches high, who kept on calling me at work. I really didn’t want to know about the 1853 Persian, Arabic and English dictionary he’d found. I wanted to know about Filiz.

Then she phoned one evening. She said things were awful. Her mother looked terrible, so sick, so thin. It was only a matter of time. I asked if she’d been able to talk to her. Yes, she said, on and off, but increasingly off. Everyone was glad she and Rasheda had come; and there were uncles and aunts and cousins visiting too. She was sorry she hadn’t been able to phone before. She missed me. She’d phone again, but didn’t know when. She had to go now. Kiss kiss. Goodnight. And that, for the moment, was it.

It was only two days later when she phoned again. I could tell immediately by the tone of her voice what had happened. Before she had sounded under pressure, agitated, the words emerging faster than usual, the melodious rise and fall flattened. Now she seemed calmer in a way, but much, much sadder, speaking almost in a monotone. “She’s dead, Mickey, she died this morning.”

I offered what comfort I could, saying at least her mother’s suffering was over. She’d had a good life, she was loved and would still be loved. “Yes, yes,” Filiz said, seeming on the verge of tears. I told her it was OK to cry. “I’m too tired to cry at the moment,” she said, though from her sniffs I could tell her eyes were moistening. I asked if she’d stay for the funeral. “If I can. I’ll let you know. But it’s late here, I’d better go...” I had never heard her sound so exhausted, so forlorn. And not to be able to cradle and hug her with my love: it was heartbreaking. I didn’t get much sleep that night.

My little daily round continued, but it seemed so drab without Filiz. I kept on worrying about her, hoping for news that the funeral had been set, that it had happened, and that she was coming back. Five more days, and she phoned again: if all went to plan, she’d be back next Thursday. Thursdays, for some reason, had always been my least favourite day of the week. Not any more. Following instructions, I passed on the news to her boss at the fruit and veg store - equally drab without her. While there, I noticed the tattooed giant who had compared her to a crumpet shifting a crate of potatoes. I gave him a glare and a wide berth. You don’t make fun of my precious Filiz, I thought. You treat her with love and respect. That’s what I was going to do, I promised myself, more than ever before.

After the funeral she phoned me briefly, very emotional, but collected enough to give me details of the flight and its arrival time at the aiport. Rasheda, she said, would be staying on a little longer. I’d be there, I said, and so I was, waiting along with other hopefuls as passengers of all colours and shapes and sizes, pulling luggage, emerged through the swing doors. It struck me then, as it strikes me now, as such a strange and miraculous procession: these hundreds and hundreds of anonymous bodies passing by, people who meant nothing to me, and among them, somewhere, I hoped sometime soon, the one special person in all the world who lit up my life. I just had to wait, and she would emerge.

And there she suddenly was, in the distance, wheeling her suitcase, starting to scan the horizon looking for what I hoped was her special person too. I waved. She waved, came closer and closer, until we were in each others’ arms in a vigorous hug. Though I felt her breasts pressing upon me, the remains of her tummy too, I thrust them to the back of her mind: what mattered now was the whole Filiz, inside and out, back from an emotional ordeal.

She looked a bit paler than usual and tired around the eyes, understandable considering what she’d been through. I was expecting to find her a bit thinner, but in that department she looked much the same, maybe even a tiny fraction bigger. Numerous family meals, perhaps. But I didn’t want to enquire. Not the time. Not the place.
 

Swordfish

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We had a long train journey into the centre of London. At first she deflected conversation away from herself, wanting to know how I was, what had been happening. I didn’t have much to tell her. The usual activities at the bookshop: i.e., nothing. A new series of “Night Shifts” had begun on TV, with Gudrun under more psychological pressure than usual, this time trying to solve a particularly grisly murder while also undergoing gender transfer treatment. I could tell, however, that Filiz wasn’t really following what I was saying.

“Come on,” I encouraged her, ”tell me how things went. How they really went.” She managed to tell me external details of the funeral, who was there, what was said, but was distracted by other passengers coming and going, and the general lack of privacy. Partly for that reason, once we’d left the train I decided to damn the expense and get a taxi to go the remaining few miles.

“Now for home,” she said, sinking back happily into the taxi’s back seat. Without thinking, I started to give the taxi driver Filiz’s address, when she quickly jumped in and gave him mine.

“Our flat now,” she half-whispered to me, “I’m moving in. If you don’t mind?” I could see the taxi driver grinning. I was grinning too, from ear to ear.

“Of course I don’t mind,” I said, after giving her the biggest kiss. Why, oh why, had living together taken us so long?

Once in the flat, she flopped exhausted onto the sofa. I got her some tea, all the while sizing up in my head the available space for couple living, a new adventure for me. I asked her delicately how much stuff she’d have to bring from Rasheda’s flat, and if she’d discussed the move with her. The short answers were “Not much” and “Yes”, which were pretty much the long answers too. She really did look tired.

Now the real story of her trip emerged, of how terrible it was seeing her mother so sick and wasted. “I can’t get that out of my mind,” she kept saying. By now her head was on my shoulders, crying, and I was cradling her in my arms, loosening my tender hold only to track down a tissue, a clean handkerchief, or something so she could wipe away her tears. But then, the crying only redoubled as she remembered her last visit to the hospital, and the last words her mother said to her. Filiz kept breaking up as she repeated them, and I didn’t properly grasp them at first. Then I did. “Don’t worry, eat well’: those were the words. Don’t worry, eat well.

I didn’t say anything for a moment, anything substantial anyway. I felt there were more emotions and memories,due to come out, but I didn’t want to force them. She quietened down a little. Even with her hair dishevelled and reddened eyes, Filiz still looked spectacularly beautiful. She gazed up at me as if desperate for understanding. “I felt so awful, I just felt I’d let her down. Do you know what I mean?”

I thought I could make a reasonable guess. She’d gone to Turkey on a diet, concerned about the way she’d filled out, only to find her worries knocked into triviality by seeing her mother practically wasting away.

“And my cousin,” she went on, “she didn’t help. There I was complaining about getting a bit chubby and she turned up, big as a balloon after a couple of years of marriage, telling me how happy she was and that it was just in the genes. Telling me really that I was being a fool. And when I looked at my mother, of course I was.”

“But you did eat?” I asked quietly. “Properly? I mean, no diet things?”

She narrowed her eyes, as if conjuring up in her mind’s eye the anxious meals fitted in between hospital visits. “I tried to. But I didn’t have much appetite.”

“And now, right now? What about some lunch?” It was early in the afternoon. She couldn’t have had much for breakfast, I imagined, and air travel was always draining.

She paused a little, sighed, composed herself, and let loose a little smile. ‘I’m ravenous.”

To mark the occasion we went to the Turkish place where we’d had our very first meal together all those months before. I worried at first that she might not be up for London Turkish fare after her family’s home cooking, but she raised no objection, and spent so much time surveying the menu that it seemed like she was tasting each item in her mind. Given what she had gone through, I tried to keep the conversation away from delicate matters, so much so that I can’t now remember what we talked about. I can’t even recall what we ate, though I remember Filiz enjoying her bread.

And I certainly remember the moment, the telling moment, when she said she wanted to eat two desserts. “One for me,” she said, “and one for my mother”. It was a way, she told me, of paying her respects. I looked at her with her tired beauty, slightly rounder cheeks, and sweet little tummy under her breasts, and thought to myself that it if she kept paying her respects like that Filiz was going to be gaining back all the weight she’d lost. I probably said something in reply like “That’s such a nice thought”. Which it was.
 

Swordfish

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Over the next few weeks, both of us luxuriated in the simple joy of sharing our lives and our bed, waiting for each other to come home from work, doing all the simple partner things that I’d previously done on my own: the supermarket shop, cleaning the flat, putting the rubbish out. One day Filiz even managed to make something special out of hearing the refuse collectors banging bins when they woke her up on a Tuesday morning, a sound she wasn’t used to.

“What’s that?” she asked, rubbing her eyes. I told her it was the bin men.

“The bin men!” she cried with awe and delight, as if they were a newly discovered type of human or even intergalactic visitors. “The bin men!” she repeated, savouring each syllable. “Isn’t life wonderful?”

That really cheered me, coming after months of anxiety and family upset. And though I would never have characterised her before as someone living on her nerves, she definitely seemed to have become more relaxed about everything. She slipped back into work without fuss, uncomplaining about what some would have thought a mundane job with no promotion prospects, tricky male colleagues, and hours standing on her feet. She was definitely more relaxed about eating. Don’t worry, eat well.

The two dessert stunt wasn’t repeated when we ate out at restaurants, though in other respects she welcomed every indulgence, little or large. If she made dinner at home, I’d always find her licking spoons or nibbling on bread by the stove, while the amount she cooked always allowed for second helpings, typically destined for her plate. And afterwards - indeed at any spare moment - there was almost always some baklava to enjoy, or that sugary confection, Turkish Delight. I quickly renamed it Filiz’s Delight, a phrase that gave her almost as much pleasure as contemplating as the bin men.

Living now at close quarters – very close quarters – I had a ringside seat as her figure, as I expected, quickly started softening again, though for some reason the distribution of the extra pounds turned out a little different the second time around. Her midriff podge, which had never entirely disappeared, quickly deepened, just as before, but was now accompanied by a new and increasing curve on her lower belly, heavier arms too. Before long it became abundantly clear that Filiz was not just getting back the pounds she had lost; she was zooming ahead into new territory, breaking new ground.

Bobbing around the flat fully dressed, she was starting to look pleasantly chunky, with the added pounds clearly outlined under her clothes. Undressed, of course, there was no end to the beauty parade of bulges and creases as she took her shower, towelled herself, sat on the bed (that heavenly place), or strapped into place one of the new bras she’d recently acquired - part of a regenerated wardrobe bought to keep pace with her growing body.

Some mornings I would catch her struggling into her jeans for the day, watching her tummy fat tumble over her panties as she bent over, only to be squeezed into new configurations of softness as she started pulling the jeans up one raised leg, then the other. Further delights awaited as she straightened up, breathed in a little and buttoned up, leaving her tummy to be further squeezed, the whole performance ending with a roll of fat looming all day over the top of her jeans like the crest of an unstoppable wave.

By now we talked openly about her gaining weight and her extended appetite. She knew she was getting chubbier, she said, but she’d decided to let things ride for the moment. It was something she felt she needed to do. I knew it was all tied in with her mother and her family, but I also thought her mother’s death had kindled within her some primal need to re-connect with her heritage, to be more Turkish, to look more Turkish and less European, or at least less skinny European. Wasn’t Turkey one of the homes of the belly dance? And who could do the belly dance if they didn’t have a belly?

Now I saw no harm in openly buying goodies for her, and sometimes popping one of those treats she loved into her waiting mouth: bad for her teeth, I realised, but so beneficial for her figure. At the same time, all the while I knew in my heart that if she did shrivel back to her former slim self I still would love and cherish her just as much. It was the inner person that truly mattered. Her open and friendly personality, her uncomplicated delight in everything in life, her warmth, her sense of fun: such things had a powerful beauty all their own.

By the time autumn arrived she had become quite a plump little package, with notably thicker thighs, a pretty regular double chin, and a rounder ass on top of everything else – a useful asset that must have helped her body find a new equilibrium to balance all the extra pounds elsewhere. It was the kind of figure that traditionally used to bring appreciative wolf whistles from workers on building sites. One time she set out for work looking particularly juicy, wearing jeans stretched to the limit and a shirt that kept riding up to reveal her midriff bulge, so naked and soft, overflowing her waistband. When she came back, I asked her how the day went. “It went fine,” she said, with an airy grin. “Three people told me I was getting fat. One of them was even a customer.” But it was obvious that she didn’t mind.

Before we knew it the anniversary of our first official social engagement was approaching - that exploratory coffee meeting after she’d finished work. It was a date I held in special esteem; luckily, she did too. We’d decided to go out for dinner on the day itself, but on the evening before I thought it would be fitting if we had Rasheda round for a meal, and a bit of a family reunion. I’d only seen her briefly and occasionally since she’d come back from Turkey.

She arrived carrying a small bouquet of flowers: a surprising and pleasant gift from someone who in my experience at least hadn’t always showed a thoughtful disposition. Perhaps the Turkey trip and the family sorrow had mellowed her a bit. One other difference, I quickly realised, was that she was gaining some weight herself, and now had a little tummy of her own, curving gently out of her dress. It wasn’t a development that excited me particularly, but I certainly categorised it as interesting.

Filiz had decided to skip Turkish cuisine for once and go for something simpler and Italian. Spaghetti! As she prepared it, we sat around the kitchen table talking of this and that. Rasheda mentioned she’d watched some of that annoying Swedish detective series on the internet. Filiz chipped in from near the stove. “We gave up on that, didn’t we? Couldn’t make head or tail of it.”

“Yes, absolutely baffling,” I said, thinking all the while how heartening it was that she had said “we”. We were a “we”! A year on, and I was still amazed at what had happened, us getting together, building up a relationship, becoming a couple. It had seemed so unlikely, so improbable. But here was Filiz, bustling around in the kitchen, happily domestic, a beautiful, well-upholstered young woman. I felt so thankful for the Gods, the Fates, or whoever it was that sorted out peoples’ lives.

While Filiz attended to being domestic, Rasheda for some reason decided to carry on our chat stretched out full-length on the sofa – rather a proprietorial gesture, I thought, as if she was planning on moving in and making our flat her home too. At least her horizontal position brought into focus the curve on her tummy, pressed tight against her dress. Possibly an eight pound gain? Minor, anyway, compared to the amount her sister had put on.

Putting the cutlery and other items in place, Filiz raised a mocking eyebrow at her sister. “Do get comfortable, won’t you? Shall I bring you a pillow and a blanket?”

“Tiring day at work,” she said, without sounding tired at all.

“A-ha.”

Rasheda finally raised herself upright just as the food arrived, and the meal began as normal. Turkish wine was poured. We clinked glasses. “Enjoy!” Filiz said, before digging in with her usual enthusiasm. Rasheda, I noticed, showed some spirit too, licking her lips before the first bite, savouring the meat sauce, and showering complements on the chef. “This is delicious!”

“I know it is,” she said with a mischievous grin, “but it might have been even better if you’d offered to sprinkle a herb or something, instead of lying flat out on the sofa like Miss Lazy. And then the food arrives as if by magic, all in one swell foop!”

Both of us looked bewildered. Then the penny dropped. She meant fell swoop. Filiz often mixed up her English idioms. “It’s fell swoop,” I said, starting to laugh, “not swell foop. What’s a foop?”

Filiz improvised as her grin broadened. “It’s a Turkish fruit. You wouldn’t know it.”

Rasheda then got in on the act. “But shouldn’t it be full sweep? What’s a fell swoop anyway?”

I mulled the words over on my tongue: “Swoop, foop ...”

At this point Filiz really got the giggles, the serious giggles, with her fuller cheeks looking extra full as she gurgled with laughter in her bell-like tones. I expected Rasheda to join in, but instead she looked at her sister carefully for a few seconds and then said, “You know, the more weight you put on, the more you look just like our mother!”

Filiz’s giggling was stopped in its tracks. Her eyes quickly moistened. Out came sobs, uncontrollable sobs for what seemed a minute or two, building in strength as pure emotion took hold. In the heat of her tears, I initially thought that Rasheda’s remark was a criticism, and I shot her a dirty look. “No, no, Mickey,” she explained, ‘it’s a compliment, isn’t it Filiz?”

Inbetween sobs and a little eye wiping she managed the word “Yes”. Sitting next to her at the table, I began stroking her nearest arm. ”It’s alright, let it out,” I said, gently, “feel whatever you feel”.

Rasheda by now was emotional too, which made Filiz cry even more. I remember thinking again, almost with embarrassment, how delectable Filiz looked even in her agitated state. Such a sweet face. The major curve of her breasts, the heavy arms, the thick roll of fat circling below. Didn’t “Filiz” in Turkish mean something to do with sprouting, with blossoming? Well, Filiz had blossomed, finally blossomed. I had a strong urge to comfort her with big hugs, but I didn’t want to choke her and thought it best if she came out of her mood in her own time. Once the tears were clearly in retreat, I decided to lead her just a sidestep away from the topic, though it really wasn’t a sidestep at all.

“We don’t want the spaghetti to go cold, do we?” I said, “Your mother wouldn’t want that.”

Filiz immediately jumped in. “No, she wouldn’t,” she said, vaguely reaching for her fork, though she was not quite at the point when she could actually pick it up. She looked directly at her sister. “Would she?”

“Definitely not,” Rasheda said, her own tears just about controlled.

Within a few seconds, the meal was resumed, and I watched with quiet pleasure as the two sisters, one getting comfortably round, the other perhaps pointing that way, returned to their pasta – knowingly eating, I felt for sure, under their mother’s auspices, following the guidance from her sick bed. Don’t worry, eat well.

After another hour, well topped up with coffee and Turkish Delight, Rasheda finally said her goodbyes, with kisses and hugs, and left us to ourselves. We sat on the sofa. Filiz looked exhausted, but contented too. She rubbed a hand over her full stomach. I told her she could always undo the top button of her jeans.

She did so, a faint smile on her lips. “I’m getting so big! You sure you don’t mind? I was so slim before. Well, pretty slim.”

I told her I absolutely didn’t mind.

“Sorry for the dramatics,” she went on, “it just suddenly hit me.”

“No worries,” I said. “Your mother was someone pretty special, wasn’t she?”

“I loved her warm hugs. It was so comforting. She felt so soft.”

“Now you can give soft hugs of your own. Are you happy being heavier?” It was a question, I realised, that didn’t really need asking, but I thought it might be therapeutic.

“Not at the start, though I tried to be. Partly to please you. But now, definitely, yes. I’m a real woman. I’m happy I’m fatter. And you too?” This, again, didn’t need to be asked.

I told her I loved her at all sizes, but yes, definitely. Now it was my turn to tell her to stop talking. I began to undo the top buttons of her blouse, before moving on to tugging at her jeans, trying to pull them over those well-padded hips.

“You’ve got to really yank them,” she said, before I covered her mouth with one of my hands.

“No more words,” I whispered, “just action. Come on, my jubube.” I took her hand and started to lead her toward the bedroom.

“What’s a jujube?” she said, giggling. I told her it was a fruit-flavoured sweet; the Victorians used it as a coughdrop. “Living with you,” she went on in that awestruck tone I loved so much, “I learn something new every day.”

She swiftly disrobed. Her naked body, lightly imprinted around the waist with the abrasions left by her tight clothes, had never looked so beautiful. By this time all words, silly or serious, had dropped away. But breathing grew louder. We were both on the bed, passion glowing, with me on top, she underneath, plump and welcoming. A radiant smile beamed out of her face, round as a full moon, soon to be flushed with exultation as I pushed inside this lovely body grown soft as a pillow and entered the warm flesh of my girl Filiz, my lovely jujube, the love of my life, the light of my life, my Turkish Delight, cake and icing beautifully rolled into one.


THE END

© Swordfish, 2021
 

lightgainlover

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Hi, Mr Swordfish!
I was away for years and what happened when I came back : new stories from you! I discovered Turkish delight and A change for the fatter.
What a delight to read your regular themes : visit to the parents in dull North by train, bookshop; art gallery and ethnic mixity, all with your elegant style. I am egoistically very glad that you're still active!
Have a good winter... in North England for example!
 

Swordfish

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Well, welcome back! And thank you for your friendly comments. I hadn't particularly thought of some of those ingredients as themes, but you're right, they have popped up regularly over the years. I'm not from the north of England, but I visit it fairly regularly (last month, Huddersfield, which holds a contemporary music festival suspiciously like the one featured in "A Change for the Fatter"). Have a good winter yourself, wherever you are!
 

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