Originally published August 9, 2018.
Contains: long-term weight gain. This story also contains generalized fat-phobia, which may be difficult for some readers
When you think about the fashion advice that’s often give to fat folks–black, vertical stripes, layers, etc–it’s all about hiding or masking their size. One day, I wondered: if those advice articles were written by people like me, who think fat folks are super attractive and should accentuate what we think is their best feature, how would they be different? I for one would suggest form-fitting button-down shirts, suspenders, and unbuttoned short-sleeve button-down shirts over tee shirts, all of which accentuate how big a guy is.
That was part of what inspired this story. What also inspired it was me thinking about some of my older stories, which have been getting favorites recently, and how I feel they were more ambitious in their emotional stakes than I have been recently. I wanted to try writing a story where the human element plays more of a role. I also realized another story that I’ve been working on for a while now doesn’t work because the gaining and the non-gaining plot don’t compliment each other or further each other. They’re just happening side-by-side. I needed a story where the weight gain pushes the plot forward. This story is the result.
Synopsis: Luis is a writer for a fashion magazine who, after an intern leaves, is put in charge of writing on the intern’s columns: Big Picture, a piece on fashion advice for plus-size men. Luis isn’t thrilled about this, as he has pretty low opinions on plus-size men. That same day, he comes home and finds his husband Hudson crying and saying they need to split up. Eventually, Luis gets it out of Hudson that his doctor put him on a new medication that is expected to cause significant weight gain. But Luis, in spite of his own views, promises that he will stand by his husband no matter what. Even as his husband’s ballooning waistline puts that promise to the test.
Luis sat at his desk in the office of Now! Fashion magazine, giving his latest Accessorize This! column a final read before he submitted it to editing. Working for a fashion magazine was a demanding job, but after 11 years in the field, he knew enough about streamlining the writing process without sacrificing quality to get all his work done, have time for breaks throughout the day, and still be out of the office by 5:00. He was good at what he did, and proud of it too, for the quality of his writing had gotten him promoted to senior writing staff.
That day started out as any other Monday would, until around 10:30, when Luis’s boss, Zandra, walked through the door. “Knock knock” she said as she opened it.
“Come in, come in,” Luis said hospitably, though he worried what sort of omen his boss coming into his office on a Monday morning could be.
“Thank you,” Zandra replied before she stepped into the room, with her usual grace and poise. Luis always wondered how she managed to make a pantsuit look like the height of fashion, but she did. Perhaps it was because it was tailored to her. Perhaps it was how she color-coordinated with the wraps wrapped around her coily hair. Either way, she took a seat in front of Luis’s desk and looked up at him. “Now, do you remember my intern, Chester?”
“Oh yes, I do. Always wore argyle sweaters, one of the most unflattering things a young man of his… shall we say “heft” could wear. I’m amazed he wrote so well about fashion sense when he seemed to have so little of it.”
“Right,” Zandra said with a sigh. “Anyways, I thought for sure he’d come work for us once his internship was over, but it seems he’s gone to work for one of our competition.”
“Which means we need other folks to pick up the columns he was working on.”
“And you’re here to tell me what I’ll be working on,” Luis said flatly.
“Guess we’ll just cut to the chase,” Zandra said more quietly. “Yes, I need you to pick up one of the features he was writing. You’ll be happy to know it was just a little blurb that graphic design used to fill in space where they needed it.”
“Alright, sounds easy enough. What’s the feature?” Luis asked before he started taking a sip of his green tea.
“It’s called “Big Picture”. Every issue, you give a different fashion tip for plus-size men.”
Luis had to put his hand over his lips to avoid spitting out his tea. Once he’d finally swallowed it, he looked at Zandra indignantly and asked, “You honestly think fat man read our magazine? Have you seen how they dress?”
“Maybe they’d read it more if we had more content catering to them and not just svelt men like yourself.”
“Well excuse me for thinking we should have some standards. I just don’t see how a token blurb for a niche audience is going to meaningfully increase our readership.”
“That “niche audience” just so happens to include one in three men out there, who could be reading our magazine if we actually gave them something, instead of just ignoring them.”
“Even if that’s true, why me? What makes you think I’d have any useful advice for them?”
“Well, after that article about the Labilon show and taking inspiration from their models who used wheelchairs, I thought you might good at figuring out fashion tips for folks who are outside of the… usual demographic for fashion magazines.”
“That’s because those men looked good. You take them out of their wheelchairs and they would have passed as regular models.”
“Jesus Christ, Luis,” Zandra muttered under her breath. “I’ll tell you what: you agree to write the column, and I won’t tell HR about what you just said.”
“How was what I said wrong? You’re not in a wheelchair.”
With a sigh, Zandra put her face in one of her hands, before she looked Luis in the eye with a flat mouth a lowered eyebrows. “I’m going to send you the guidelines of what’s expected of the column and some examples of columns Chester wrote while he was here.”
“Fine. At least it won’t add much to my workload.”
With an exasperated expression, Zandra rose from her chair and left Luis’s office without another word.
It wasn’t long before Luis got the email from Zandra with the requirements for the Big Picture column: 75 to 100 words, generally positive tone, show some personality, and nothing about losing weight or fitness. The examples Chester had written left Luis flabbergasted. It was almost like Chester wanted these men to look their best before they lose weight. Luis couldn’t understand it: if they encouraged men to be confident at their current size, what would incentivize them to drop the weight?
But he knew he had to get the thing written. His job required it, and he knew he was lucky to generally enjoy his job. All jobs had parts that the person working them didn’t like. He supposed this was going to be that part of his job for him, an obligation to get out of the way so he could get back to writing about what he actually cared about. With an aggravated sigh, he opened up a word processor and banged out what would be his first Big Picture, trying to mimic Chester’s tone as much as possible:
You might’ve heard of vantablack, the color so black that if you paint something with it, it loses all definition, looking like a silhouette. Although vantablack may only be available to Anish Kapoor for artistic applications, you can still take advantage of the principle by wearing black yourself. The dark color obscures your curves, calling less attention to your size. And best of all, regular black clothes are safer and less prone to explode than vantablack!
After giving the column a quick proofread, Luis sent it to editing, before going back to putting the finishing touches on Accessorize This! It wasn’t long, however, before he received an email from Zandra, titled “Re: Big Picture”:
Are you serious, Luis? “Wear black”? That’s your fashion advice for our plus-size readers? What’s next? Vertical stripes? Baggy clothing? You know we hold all of our writers to higher standards than that, and you have no issue exceeding those standards in all your other work. I want you to put just as much effort into your next Big Picture column. I’m going to let this one slide because the vantablack comparison is genuinely inspired. Next time, I want that inspiration to go to the advice itself, not window dressing. -Zandra
With a roll of his eyes, Luis sent off his draft of Accessorize This! before moving on to other columns he actually cared about.
“Honey, I’m home!” Luis called out as he kicked off his shoes and took off his jacket. “You will not believe what happened at work today!” The lack of a reply from his husband, Hudson, didn’t concern Luis until he got in the living room, where he saw Hudson sitting on the couch, bent over with his face in his hands. “Babe what’s wrong?” Luis asked, tossing his jacket aside on the chair and sitting next to Hudson. “Babe?”
When Hudson finally removed his hands from his face, Luis saw tears running down his cheeks. Blubbering his words, Hudson looked at Luis and said, “Luis… there’s no easy way to say this… but… I think we need to see other people.”
“You mean open the relationship?”
“I mean… end the relationship. End the marriage, everything.”
“What?!” Luis nearly screamed. “Hudson, talk to me. What’s going on? Is it something I did? You know I’d do anything to make you happy.”
“Well… no, no, it’s nothing you did.”
“Well then what? Listen, Hudson, when I stood on that alter and said, ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health,’ I meant it. What’s going on?”
Hudson had to look away from Luis before he said, “It’s… in sickness.”
“Okay, what sickness? Do you have an STI? I’m perfectly happy to use condoms to keep this relationship together.”
“No! No,” Hudson interrupted. “It’s not an STI.” After taking a deep breath, he finally continued. “Remember when I went to the doctor about those strange symptoms I was having?”
“Well… he ran some tests and found it’s a rare genetic disorder. Mostly harmless at this point in its development, but the longer it goes untreated, the worse it gets. But due to its rarity, there’s only one drug approved for it.”
“Does your insurance not cover the drug? I could try getting you on mine–”
“No, no, it does. But… the drug has one side effect that… seems to affect every person who takes it… without fail.”
“And that side effect is?”
Hudson sat still, staring at the floor with his face in his hands. Eventually he mumbled something, too quietly for Luis to hear.
“What was that?”
“Rapid weight gain!” Hudson finally blurted out. “Rapid, significant weight gain.”
“…oh,” Luis finally blurted out. “How, uh… how… big… will it make you?”
“The doc said I can expect to outgrow several sizes of clothes before my weight settles and remains steady. But it’s either that or far more horrific symptoms of this disorder: blindness, paralysis, chronic pain, the works.”
“I’m not sure what’s worse,” Luis muttered under his breath.
“Yeah,” Hudson sighed, surprising Luis, who didn’t think he’d spoken that loudly. “I knew you’d say that. Which… is why I think we should see other people. Just… get this separation over with.”
To even his surprise, Luis found himself saying, “Hudson, wait.” Holding Hudson’s shoulders in his hands, he paused, not sure what to say from there, before he decided to just speak from the heart. “Look, I know I’ve said… a lot of things in the past that… give you plenty of reason to not believe in me. But when I promised to stay with you in sickness and in health, I meant it.”
“It’s hard for me to believe it when you call being fat a sickness,” Hudson choked through his tears.
“No! I’m talking about in health,” Luis insisted, causing Hudson to look at him suspiciously from out the side of his eyes. “If taking these meds is what it takes for you to be healthy, then… I want you to take them, and I’m going to stick with you, no matter what the side effects are.”
“Even though I’m guaranteed to get a lot fatter from here?”
There was a palpable pause before Luis answered, “Yes,” a pause that neither of them liked.
“It’s already begun, you know. That’s why I wanted to break up today.”
“It has? You don’t look any different?” But as Luis said it, his voice became more uncertain, as he noticed the thin layer of flab that had formed over Hudson’s face, softening his features and causing the start of a double chin to descend off of his jaw.
“Oh really?” Hudson asked disbelievingly, before he grabbed the middle of his button-down shirt and pulled it apart, causing several buttons to come undone from their stitching and fly off.
“Hudson! Do you have any idea how much those shirts are?”
“What does it matter?” Hudson asked angrily as he pulled the shirt more, eventually separating both sides. “Soon enough, it’s not going to fit, thanks to this,” he insisted as he grabbed his midsection. To Luis’ horror, Hudson’s once flat midsection had been replaced a layer of flab more befitting a dad. Hudson’s fingers were able to sink into his flab, something he couldn’t do before. Luis knew he had to say something, but not whatever came to him first.
After giving it some thought, Luis assured Hudson. “You’re right. And you know what? As you get bigger, we’ll find clothes that make you look great at the size you’re at. Not just the same old styles you used to wear, sized up. You deserve better than that.”
Without changing his expression, Hudson stared at Luis for a while, before a smile cracked through his flat expression and he chuckled a bit. “Coming from a fashion writer like you, that’s actually pretty sweet.”
“See? So, will you give me another chance?”
Smiling a little wider, Hudson said, “Okay,” before Luis pulled him in for a hug.
It didn’t take long for the promised weight gain to become quite noticeable on Hudson’s body. As the two slept side by side, Luis couldn’t help but feel the pudge of his partner’s stomach pushing into his back. It was an unfamiliar sensation, and it made Luis nervous.
As Hudson slept behind him, snoring quietly, the feeling of his husband’s burgeoning belly kept Luis awake. Could he really get used to this? Could he really learn to love his partner at his new weight? Or would he be exposed as a liar, as Hudson moved on to someone who could give him the love he deserved? He didn’t want to lose the man he’d been married to for so long. But deep down, he couldn’t deny, he wanted just as much for Hudson to not get fat.
Luis didn’t get much sleep that night. As he ate his breakfast with eyes half closed, he agreed to let Hudson drive them that day. Both men sat in their satin pajamas, though when Hudson stood, his shirt didn’t quite come all the way down to meet his pants. On top of that, the buttons were extra tight, with the cloth between them bowing out. They’d definitely chosen the right day to get him a new outfit.
“So, where do you want to go shopping?” Hudson asked.
“Well, ah…” Luis stalled before he picked up his tea and took a sip. “I was thinking… maybe today we could go to Target.”
Hudson nearly spit out his tea. “A department store? Never thought I’d see the day you suggest one of those.”
“Well, we don’t know just how… big you’re going to get. What if we buy you a whole expensive wardrobe, only for you to outgrow it in a month? This way, we won’t break the bank. And besides, Target has some nice clothes,” Luis said, trying to convince himself more than Hudson.
“So I’m not worth spending money on at my current size?”
“Baby, that is not what I said! You’ll be worth spending money on once you stop getting fatter.” The look Hudson gave Luis let him know immediately that what he’d said wasn’t any better. “Look, I’m not always going to get this right. But I want to do what’s best for you, no matter what.”
“You could choose your words more carefully, for one.”
“Then I will. Now come on. We have a lot of shopping ahead of us if we’re going to replace your entire wardrobe.”
Luckily for the two of them, Hudson hadn’t outgrown the offerings of a mainstream retail outlet. They found plenty of shirts in size XL for all sorts of occasions, though picking out ones that both Hudson and Luis liked because a challenge. Luis quickly concluded he should let Hudson buy the clothes he liked, regardless of what Luis thought. Until a certain button-up shirt caught his eye.
“What do you think of this one?” Hudson asked as he stepped out of the fitting room. His shirt had a white background, with black bird silhouettes arranged in an irregular pattern across the entire garment.
“I actually… like that one a lot.”
A smile slowly spread across Hudson’s face before he asked, “What makes you like this one especially?”
“I don’t know. Something about the pattern, and the fact that it’s not identical across the whole shirt. Makes it more… interesting. It’s certainly a bold shirt. You think you can pull it off?”
After looking back in the mirror, Hudson turned back to Luis with an even more confident smile and replied, “Oh yeah.”
“Great!” Seeing his husband feel confident again made Luis momentarily forget they were shopping for new clothes because his husband was gaining weight. He was just happy to see Hudson’s smile, so much so that he didn’t even pay any mind to his growing paunch. “Let’s go out there and find more prints for you.”
That shopping trip informed Luis’s writing for Big Picture that week, when he submitted a column about looking for formal tops.
Not all tops are created equal. Wear a top with stripes, plaid, or argyle designs, and the design will very obviously warp along with the curve of your abdomen, calling attention to it its shape. Plain colors are a safe bet, but also a potentially boring one. Go for prints and patterns that aren’t obvious in how they repeat, and you can have an interesting shirt that won’t betray the size of your belly.
After emailing the article in, Luis got a surprise visit from Zandra. Popping her head into his open office door, she said, “Hey Luis, I saw your latest submission for Big Picture.”
“Mmhm,” Luis replied, expecting to hear about what he’s done wrong this time.
Instead, Zandra smiled and continued, “That’s a good tip. I certainly wouldn’t had thought of it. That’s the kind of creativity I knew you could bring to the column. Keep it up.”
With a nod, Zandra left, leaving Luis frozen in surprise. He’d been so used to Zandra telling him he needed to come up with better tips for Big Picture that he simply wasn’t prepared for her to praise his submission. With a smile, he turned back to his computer and continued writing.
By the time Hudson grew big enough that they had to replace his wardrobe with 2XL shirts and other pieces to match, things were not at a good place between him and Luis. The level of intimacy between the two had plummeted; the last time they’d had sex, Hudson could still fit in his size-large shirts. Luis had wanted to be a better husband to Hudson than he was being, but he couldn’t force feelings that weren’t there. Maybe Hudson did deserve someone better.
But Luis was going to try. That weekend, he’d suggested the two try something they hadn’t done in years: go on a date. A date where they’d get to know each other as if they were newly acquainted. A date where they’d try to impress each other. They even planned to surprise each other with their outfits. As such, Luis sure to leave for work early that day, before Hudson could wake up and see the ensemble he’d chosen.
Of course, this also left Luis as the first to arrive at the restaurant. He sat at the table alone, nursing his water, nibbling on the complimentary bread, and wondering what Hudson would wear. Luis assumed it would be something slimming, something flattering, to try to call back to the good old days of their relationship. That was certainly Luis’s goal, as he wore a grey knit scarf over his business casual outfit. He hadn’t worn scarves in nearly a decade, but that night, he was willing to give them try again.
It wasn’t too much longer until Hudson showed up, but when he did, Luis almost didn’t recognize him. Compared to the slimming outfits Luis had helped Hudson pick out, his new outfit made him look even heavier. Over a tee shirt whose turquoise blue color didn’t do much to mask his heft, he wore an unbuttoned, short-sleeve, button-down shirt, which had been thrown open wide enough to show off the entirety of his round, tire-sized belly. It filled out the tee shirt, causing it to below out like a sail, while the button-down was like a frame, calling attention to his gut. The last thing Luis would have expected Hudson to choose was an outfit that accentuated his belly
And yet, rather than be embarrassed and look away from his husband, Luis surprised himself when he couldn’t stop staring. He was transfixed by the way Hudson’s gut stuck out over his belt, announcing his presence like the first float in a parade. The way he had to walk to account for its weight gave him something resembling a stately stride, almost the way a model walked, if models came in his size. And to counteract the weight of his gut pulling him forward, he stood up tall, looking proud and confident as he walked over and pulled out a chair, asking, “Is this seat taken?”
At that, Luis realized that he’d been staring rather obviously at Hudson, with his mouth agape and possibly a little drool ready to fall out. Before that could happen, he closed his mouth and shook his head just enough to bring himself back to his senses. “Not at all. Please, have a seat.”
As Hudson descended, he paid careful attention to how his gut moved until his bottom hit the chair, when he could relax. With a small sigh, he looked at Luis with a modest smile and asked, “I, uh, take it you like the outfit?”
“You know, I have to say: it’s not what I expected you to wear, but I’m glad you wore it,” Luis told him, leaning on the table with his chin in his hand, a smile on his face, and his eyes closed slightly.
“What were you expecting me to wear?”
“Never mind that,” Luis assured as he waved his hand. “You’ve done better than even I could come up with. And it looks comfy too!”
“Oh yeah! Yeah, I wanted to try something different tonight, since, well… what I was doing before wasn’t working for you,” Hudson finally said, looking away from Luis and at the floor.
At that, Luis felt the sting of knowing that he hadn’t been doing enough for his husband. He’d helped him keep his outside looking spiffy, but never helped build up his confidence. Watching Hudson look down at the floor, Luis could see that crumbling under the burden his extra weight. No, it wasn’t his extra weight; it was what he knew Luis thought of that weight. His confidence needed more of Luis’s attention than his closet.
“Look, Hudson… I know I haven’t done a very good job supporting you as you’ve been going through this change. I’ve… really made it worse, to be honest. And… I know now that I need to be doing more than helping you pick out clothes. Any outfit is elevated by confidence, and tonight, I think I saw you confident for the first time since you started putting on weight. I want to help you build that up too.”
Hudson looked down toward his lap with a barely perceptible smile, twiddling his thumbs beneath the table. When he finally looked up at Luis, his eyelids were half-closed, and he had a more modest smile on his face. “Well, that’s certainly a start.”
“You probably don’t know just how many mean things you’ve said about fat people in the time we’ve been together, Luis. I didn’t think as much of them as I should have before this diagnosis, but once my doctor told me the medication would make me gain weight, they all came flooding back.”
“Have I been that bad?”
“You said you didn’t know whether weight gain or the unmitigated effects of this disorder would be worse.”
Sitting frozen in his seat, Luis remembered that he did say that to Hudson, right after Hudson had revealed that the medication would cause him to gain weight. Right after Hudson had told Luis they should just break up, without wanting to tell him why. Right when Hudson needed him the most. “Fuck. I did say that.”
“Mmhm,” Hudson confirmed, sounding less affected but no more forgiving.
“I…” With a sigh, Luis paused before asking, “Does it mean anything if I promise to do better?”
“Mmm, I’d say it does,” Hudson said as he looked off to the side pensively, “Mostly because you have been. There’s room for improvement, but you at least haven’t said anything like that.”
Rather than demand to know what he could have said wrong since then, Luis swallowed the urge to do that and said, “Alright. I… hope you’ll let me know where I can improve.”
“Now that I know you want to, I will,” Luis said as he took a roll from the basket of complimentary bread. Tearing it open, he spread a bit of butter on both sides and took a bite.
“Well, uh… you look great,” Luis said to fill the silence. Though it might have been a trite compliment, he still meant it.
“Thank you. You’re pretty spiffy yourself,” Hudson replied with a smile.
“Considering I wouldn’t have thought of that outfit myself… I guess I still have a lot to learn about big men’s fashion.”
“I think we’re both learning together,” Hudson admitted as he looked up at Luis with a more neutral expression. But this wasn’t one of judgement or disappointment. Rather, it seemed like a plea for assurance that they were indeed in this together.
“Two heads are better than one,” Luis said with a smile, before the waiter finally came over to take their drink orders. As he did, Luis knew exactly what his Big Picture blurb would be about that week.
A good style to try out is a tee shirt covered by an unbuttoned, short-sleeve, button-down shirt. It’s formal enough for a more laid-back workplace, casual enough for the weekend, and lets you show off your personality. It can also be adjusted based on how you feel about your body. Not having a great self confidence day? Keep the top shirt close to closed and no one has to know. Feeling great about yourself? Open that shirt wide and let the whole world see all of you!
Zandra came into Luis’s office early the next day, before Luis had even settled down to start writing. “Luis! You got a moment?”
“Of course,” Luis said, too caught off guard to really say anything else.
After taking a seat in front of Luis’s desk, Zandra looked up with a smile and said, “I wanted to talk to you about Big Picture.”
“Was there something wrong with my latest column? I thought my tip was pretty good.”
“Oh it was! It was! As have the last few tips you’ve submitted. And as a result, online readership for Big Picture has gone up considerably. So much so that even the higher ups are taking notice.”
“Oh?” Luis asked, leaning forward in his chair. Of all the topics Zandra could have brought up, that was not one of the ones he expected.
“I’ll cut right to the chase: the higher ups think Big Picture has the potential to be a column instead of just a blurb, and they’re willing to ‘move things around’ to make it happen. What do you think?”
“Well, I-I’m flattered, but do you really think Big Picture has that potential?”
“The tips you’ve been writing lately have been truly phenomenal. If anyone can do it, it’s you.”
“But I just give one tip a week! How do I expand that into a whole column?”
“Include several tips on one topic. Or expand the scope of the column beyond a simple blurb. Whatever your muse had been for the last few columns, it’s been fruitful. I think it can take the column to the next level.”
“Maybe. I just hope I haven’t gotten too used to the whole 75-100 words thing.”
With a chuckle, Zandra replied, “Knowing your output, I think you’ll be fine,” before standing up. “I’ll send you the new requirements for the column. I think you’ll find the extra space to be fun to work with,” before she left the office.
With a smile, Luis sat back and awaited Zandra’s email. Once he had his new guidelines, he opened up a Word doc and started a column he’d wanted to write for a while, but could never figure out how to fit in 100 words:
They say confidence is the hottest accessory you could wear with any outfit, regardless of how you look. And that’s 100% true. But for some folks, confidence can seem as elusive as cute clothes in both your size and your price range. But just because you weren’t taught to like yourself doesn’t mean you can’t learn how! Today, we’re going to go over some tips on how to get yourself to a point where you can walk past a mirror and think, “Hey, hot stuff.”
After hitting ctrl-S, Luis took a quick moment to think back to all the ways he’d helped Hudson feel more confident in how he looked, and all the methods Hudson used on his own. And as he thought about Hudson, imagining his confident smile beaming from between his rounded cheeks, he smiled to himself before he continued writing.
“Honey, I’m home!” Luis shouted out as he closed the door behind him.
“Welcome home! I’m almost done with dinner.”
After taking his shoes off and hanging up his jacket, Luis walked into the kitchen to find his husband at the stove, wearing an apron that said, “Never trust a skinny chef.” “Mmm, it smells amazing,” Luis said.
“Just wait until you taste it,” Hudson replies with a smile, before he returned to stirring the pot.
“Can’t wait,” Luis told him, before giving his husband a hug from behind. With Hudson’s belly now the size of a small bean bag chair, the two had figured out that it was easier for Luis to hug him from that angle.
But they still exchanged plenty of face-to-face hugs. In fact, Luis wouldn’t have it any other way. When they hugged like that, he got to lean into Hudson’s belly and feel the warm, supple mass pushing gently against him. It was the same effect as sitting in a comfortable recliner, or on a soft couch. No matter what had happened that day, or what challenges Luis had ahead of him, leaning into Hudson’s belly made him feel better. He felt relaxed and safe, exactly the way home should feel.
It was such an appealing feeling that even when he hugged Hudson from behind, Luis would often let his hands wander down from around his husband’s shoulders, under his arms, and onto either side of his belly. To feel such an impressive expanse between his hands was comforting, like Hudson was the rock he could hold onto, literally and otherwise. He truly felt there was now more of his husband to love, and at the same time, he wondered how he could have ever seen his husband’s weight gain as a bad thing.
Perhaps it was the uncertainty. Now that Hudson’s weight has settled to a consistent level, and he didn’t seem at risk of outgrowing his new 3XL shirts, Luis knew what he’d be dealing with for the foreseeable future. It was certainly a relief that he didn’t have to worry about his husband gaining to the point that he had mobility issues. Though they had to shop at big and tall stores for him now, Luis had no more trouble pulling together a great outfit from their selection. And neither did Hudson, as he wore an outfit of his own choosing: a dark blue sweater over a light blue button-down with khakis. It seemed he’d started cooking as soon as he got home from work, with no time to change.
“Babe, are you still in your work clothes?”
With a noise somewhere between a sigh and a chuckle, Luis told him, “Go put on something more comfortable. I’ll watch the pots and make sure they don’t boil over.”
“Alright, alright,” Hudson laughed, telling Luis, “Take the pasta off the burner when the timer goes off,” before he left.
To Luis’s surprise, Hudson returned just after the timer had chimed and he’d taken the pot off the heat. When he turned to face his husband again, he froze in place, with his eyes open extra wide. Hudson was wearing a tank top that didn’t cover the entirety of his torso, leaving a stripe of brown skin exposed, enough to show off his belly button as well. Below that, all he wore was boxers, showing off the robust legs that kept all his new heft upright.
Eventually, Luis looked up from Hudson’s belly to his face. He seemed to be trying to put on a sultry expression, but was nervous about how it would be received. Luis, however, had no such uncertainty. With a toothy grin, he told Hudson, “Get back to cooking, big guy. Clearly we’ve got other plans for after dinner.”
With a wide grin on Hudson’s face, he walked past Luis to finish dinner, but not before Luis gave him a gentle pat on his bum.
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