Chapter 1 - gotchaShe smiled at him from across the table. The smile managed to convey so very much.
It said, "I remember when you teased me after I gained weight that one summer."
It said, "I remember you dumping me for my sister because I was too 'modern' for you."
It said, "Now you're getting yours and I'm loving it."
It said, "I've enjoyed watching you eat your way through several pant sizes as she's fattened you like a pig for market."
It said, "I know you've unbuckled your belt and unfastened the button on your pants and you can barely breathe and now she's filling up your plate again."
He stifled a belch, barely, as he gazed at his re-filled plate. Andrea was a terrific cook and was old-fashioned in her approach to "taking care of her man". She seemed to think that if Thomas could lift his arm after a meal that she'd somehow failed him.
Thomas hadn't minded too awfully much, especially at first. He liked being taken care of, which was something Mindy (Andrea's younger sister) never seemed to get. It was a risky maneuver to try to move from one sister to the other, but he had felt quite proud of himself when he had pulled it off.
That smug little smile of Mindy's did disturb him a little. It seemed like she was always visiting her sister around dinnertime, but she'd never really eat much. Almost as if she only came to watch Thomas be fattened by her sister.
As the pounds began to pile up and Thomas watched his waistline expand at an alarming rate, he had tried to regain some control. However, increased gym visits and refusing seconds at mealtimes didn't sit well with Andrea. It was clear that she felt unloved if he wasn't fully enjoying all the food she was making for him.
Not wanting to lose her, Thomas gave in. She smiled so sweetly, exuding pure joy, each time he groaned at the end of supper that he simply couldn't move a muscle. Helplessly, he watched himself positively balloon.
Summer segued into fall and Thomas was shopping for pants with waistbands in the 40's. As the temperature dipped and Thanksgiving approached, Andrea somehow stepped it up a notch. Speaking of notches, Thomas was running out of them on his belts.
Now, on Thanksgiving Day itself, said belt was unbuckled and hanging off to the sides. Thomas was halfway convinced that he had dispatched the entire meal himself, he certainly felt like his overstretched stomach was housing a good 15 pounds or so of delicious fare.
Arms heavy and brow damp, Thomas sluggishly moved fork to mouth until the plate was clean and this time, blessedly, not refilled. For 20 or so minutes he sat in overgorged stupor as the girls cleaned up.
Then Mindy came back through the door that led to the kitchen.
"Sis wants to know what you want for dessert," she informed him with a grin.
Before he could even attempt to get a word out, she was going back to the kitchen.
"I think he wants to try them all," he heard her say.
Apparently, "all" consisted of pumpkin pie with whipped cream, apple pie a la mode with caramel sauce, lemon meringue pie, chocolate mousse pie, and blueberry cheesecake.
An hour (and possibly a ruptured stomach) later, Andrea was kissing him on the cheek as a reward for being such a good eater.
"Aw, I think my Tommy needs a nap after his big dinner," Andrea cooed.
The next thing he knew she was lowering him onto their bed, his gut rising like a mountain. She unbuttoned his shirt to "let him breathe" before kissing his forehead and disappearing.
He closed his eyes and couldn't tell if he was dreaming or remembering. Thomas felt himself transported back to the second summer of his relationship with Mindy. There had been a ton of parties that summer and Mindy had not been shy about indulging herself in food and drink. As a result, her toned, lithe body had picked up some new curves.
In particular, he remembered one afternoon at the beach. He observed Mindy's prone form and found himself bemused by the changes to her topography. Where once her stomach would have been concave when she laid on her back, there was now a pronounced "doming" effect.
"Putting on a few," he had remarked to her, his toe poking a soft love handle.
She had called him a pig and said she'd lose it with no trouble.
Thomas didn't recall what happened next because he was yanked back to the present by an unpleasant pressure. Groggily, he opened his eyes to see Mindy standing next to him, her index finger pressing lightly against the peak of his greatly swollen belly. She pressed a little harder and he obediently belched.
She giggled and patted his stomach. He would have swatted away her hand but movement was not really an option. Thomas was beached, and thoroughly.
With a grin that spread across her face, Mindy leaned down to place her mouth at his ear.
"Gotcha," she whispered.
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