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Economy Part 3
It was a neat, compact room. Pleasant enough. David stripped off his t-shirt, half of which was damp with fresh sweat and the other half stiff and itchy with stale sweat. His jeans were also sweat-damp in the crotch and were starting to irritate his pudgy, sensitive inner thighs. He tossed all his gear, plus his underpants and socks, in a heap in one corner of the bathroom and looked at his flabby, pale body in the mirror. The proximity to Austin had been transformative, and for the first time in ages he thought he looked small. Blubbery and bloated, for sure – he jiggled his tits and shook his gut to prove the point – but definitely not Huge with a capital H. He pushed his gut out as far as it would go, but it remained only a lame parody of Austin’s daunting belly boulder. He leaned way back to accentuate the curve of his belly. This made it slightly more impressive, but only if you didn’t think too hard about how a truly fat man carried himself, and David had had images of just that etched into his brain over the preceding 24 hours.|
He turned on the shower, then remembered he had to call his parents to tell them about the delay. He went out, sat on the bed and dialled them up. He got his mother, explained the situation, slightly tweaking the details to make it sound like more of an involuntary decision than it actually was. She sounded concerned, asked him if the hotel was nice. It was. He gave her the new arrival details and told her he’d call if anything changed. Then he hurried back into the steamy bathroom, not wanting to be late for Austin.
David got back down to the foyer in time, clad in a fresh pair of jeans and a clean t-shirt. At least, he thought, this stopover means I can freshen up and changed halfway through the flight. His old clothes would have been mighty unpleasant if he’d been stuck in them the entire trip.
Descending in the glass elevator it was hard to miss Austin lounging on a leather sofa in the lobby. He’d slipped into a huge pair of shorts that reached down to his knees and revealed his stocky calves, thicker than most guys’ thighs. He was leaning right back, arms stretched out across the back of the sofa, his resting belly stretching out a grey t-shirt with Foghorn Leghorn on it. David smiled at the association.
The big man heaved himself up off the sofa with such a burst of energy that he trotted a few steps forward with the momentum, then evened his gait as he approached David. "Buddy!”
"How’s the suite?” David asked merrily, actively pushing the sour grapes thoughts that naturally arose out of his mind.
"Unbe-frigging-lievable. You gotta see it. After we’ve had our feed. Is yours okay?”
"Yeah, it’s nice. Helluva lot better than sleeping on the plane, anyway.”
"That’s no lie. Now, as far as I can tell, the restaurant’s over there. Did you remember your voucher?”
"Got it.” The pair sauntered over to the far end of the foyer, past the bar, to the large double doors into the restaurant. Locked.
There were lights on inside, but no diners and no staff. The brass sign to one side of the door informed them that the kitchen closed at ten and opened up again at 6.30am.
"They are fucking kidding me,” Austin growled. He looked at his watch and was startled to note that it was nearing midnight. "Where are we going to eat?”
"Maybe there’s another restaurant,” David suggested drearily. "Let’s check at reception.”
They headed back to the desk, where David politely but somewhat ineffectually took charge, explaining their plight, their vouchers and their hunger. Before long, Austin impatiently butted in and set forth a complicated, legalistic summation of their situation and why the hotel-slash-airline had to do something about it. The clerk scurried away promising a solution of some description.
A few minutes later, he explained that they could still choose from the bar menu until midnight, or they could order whatever they liked from room service, which ran 24 hours.
Austin’s dull eyes didn’t flinch. In a casual monotone, he asked if he could see the room service menu. One was produced. It was basic fare, but ran to several pages. "And I can order anything off this? "
"Anything you like.”
"I warn you, boy, I’m pretty darn hungry right now, and you know I’ve got a hell of an appetite.”
"That’s fine, sir. It’s an open voucher. It’s only for a single order, but you can order as much as you need.”
"I see,” Austin continued, still managing not to betray any of the greedy excitement that was secretly firing up his brain, belly and dick as he spoke. "And the same deal for my friend here? He’s a pretty big eater himself.”
"Certainly. Two vouchers, two rooms. Same deal for both.”
"Well,” Austin sighed sadly, "I guess we don’t have a choice, do we buddy?”
David guessed that Austin’s lack of enthusiasm was just a front and sighed resignedly along with him. "There’s one of these menus in our rooms?” he chimed in.
"Certainly. Just call the number on the front to place your order.”
Austin thanked the clerk for being so helpful and walked back towards the elevator with David.
"Oh boy, oh boy,” he chuckled. "Here’s what we do, Dave. You come on back to my suite and we order the fat boy feast to end all fat boy feasts. And I’ve had more than my share of those. I guess you have too. This one’s on my tab. We can keep your voucher up our sleeve if we need a top up. Sound good, son?”
David’s eyes were wide with anticipation. He would regularly stage furtive feeding sessions all on his own, but they had always been limited by his finances, his cooking skills or his loneliness. This was like some kind of fantasy come true, and he was growing hungrier by the second. He nodded vigorously.
They stepped into the elevator and Austin pushed the button to the top floor, then turned suddenly to say something more to David, who was standing a little too close and got whacked by the swing of the larger man’s belly.
"Not much room in here for a couple of fatties, huh, Dave?” He placed all ten fingertips in two semicircles on the front of his big paunch. "When I’m through with room service, this monster’s gonna need its own elevator!”
Austin threw open the doors to his suite with a flourish. It was nice, all right. The doors opened onto a large lounge that could have comfortably hosted a large cocktail party, and the balcony with a murky view of the city beyond was visible across the lavish carpeted expanse.
"There’s a bar. Not fabulously well stocked, but with beer, wine and basic spirits. There’s a weird kitchen that looks like it’s designed for the hotel caterers to keep stuff hot and lay stuff out rather than for anybody who actually wants to cook. Master bedroom’s in here.”
Austin opened a door and displayed a ridiculously opulent four poster king-size bed with red satin sheets. David gasped. "I know. Ridiculous stuff, huh? But wait, there’s more.”
He opened a door onto the bathroom.
"Nice. . .” David began quizzically. It was beautifully appointed, but not much larger than the one in his room.
"But,” Austin interrupted, "you thought it would be bigger, right?” He strode forward to a cupboard door at the far end of the bathroom. "This is about the goddamn silliest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Austin opened the door to reveal another bathroom, vastly bigger and glossily tiled. He ushered David in.
"I’ve had whole apartments smaller than this bathroom. Look: two showers and two baths. In the same fucking room. And a football field in the middle. What are people expected to get up to in here?”
David grinned and raised one eyebrow. Austin shut him up.
"Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. Anyway – this is how I found the other bedrooms – they all open up into here.” He swiftly opened one door, then another, then a third. "Let’s go in here. I still haven’t figured out how the other ones connect up.”
They walked into an opulent bedroom, about twice the size of David’s room, but significantly smaller than the master bedroom, then through a corridor which led back to the lounge. "See,” Austin commented, "this hallway doesn’t lead to the other bedrooms. I don’t know how you get to those. Surely not from the deck. This place is really badly designed.”
"Big though,” David remarked.
"Wait till you see the rest of it.” Austin led him across the lounge into another lounge, slightly smaller and more intimate. "The informal lounge? I guess. Who knows? Check this out.”
Austin opened a ranch slider onto the balcony and stood to one side, waving David out into the warm night air. Half the doorway was blocked by Austin’s protruding belly, so David had to edge sideways around it.
The deck oversaw the murky city. There was some desultory outdoor furniture that neither of them could imagine had ever actually been used and a glass-enclosed jacuzzi. "I am so going in there later,” said Austin, "but look at all the crap on the glass. You don’t want to stay out here and breath that in.”
He wheeled on his heels and led David back in. "Nearly done, I think.” Off the second lounge were three locked rooms. David suggested that Austin’s keycard might access them, and he was correct for one of them, an executive study / office. They others, they figured, led to adjacent suites.
"Okay, let’s eat,” Austin blurted, rubbing his hands together. "Anything you don’t eat? The menu looks to be your pretty basic burgers ‘n’ fries stuff, so I don’t think your allergy to caviar is going to matter much.”
"No, I’ll be fine. You can choose.”
Austin slammed down into the sofa and grabbed the phone, dialling up room service as he browsed through the menu, looking eruditely down his nose through his reading glasses.
"Morning, buddy. Mr Rivera in the Presidential Suite. Having a good night? Yeah, me too. Okay, here goes. I’ll get four cheeseburgers with fries. Do they get, like, served all laid out on a plate? ‘Cause I don’t mind if you just stick the fries in one big bowl. And give me a meat lovers pizza and one of those Italiano ones. No, large for both of those. Better add a couple of loaves of garlic bread as well. Then I’ll need two Fettucine Alfredos and a large nacho platter. I want that extra hot. No, no problem with jalapenos. Bring it on. Okay, dessert, dessert. Two of each: chocolate sundae, pecan pie, apple pie, crème brulee. That should do.” Austin flipped back through the menu. "Oh, did I order a Caesar salad? Yeah, yeah. Nah, just one of those. Did I miss anything? Now, I got a voucher here, do you need that? Okay, I’ll give you the number just in case.” Austin read out the code, then fell silent as he listened to the order read back to him.
"Sounds good,” he purred. "I honestly can’t remember if that was everything, but it sounds like plenty. Huh? Right now! I'm hungry!”
Austin put the phone down and turned to David. "He wanted to know what time we wanted to order the food for. Jesus! Do you think he was a little overwhelmed or something?”
"Well, that’s a hell of a lot of grub you ordered.”
"Yeah,” Austin gleamed conspiratorially, "ain’t it though? I’m gonna enjoy this. Oh, and the guy confirmed that it’s open slather on the stuff in the bar. It’s only if we wanted something special that we’d have to order in.”
"Well, in that case, can I fetch you a drink?”
"You sure can! Anything that saves me having to haul my fat ass off the couch! Tell me what beers they got.”
David ran through the extensive selection and Austin chose an Erdinger. "Great, great beer. Try one yourself.” David took out a cold pair of bottles and popped the lids off. He waggled a glass at Austin, who waved it away. He brought the bottles around and sat down in the armchair opposite the sprawled beast.
Austin was leaned right back into the deep sofa and his massive gut was looming up out of his opened lap, rising and falling with his breathing and revealing a slash of naked belly blubber under the shirt with each breath. He looked at David over the top of that big mound of blubber and raised his bottle without leaning forward. "Cheers, buddy.”
"Cheers,” David replied.
"Now, did you ring your folks?”
"Yeah, I told my mum about the new arrival time and everything.”
"You good with your folks? Get on well with them?”
"Mmmm,” David made a weaselly sound. "I don’t get on great with them. One of the main reasons I took up this scholarship to the UK was to get out of the house.”
"Oh, that bad, huh?”
"Well, not exactly bad, but we just rub each other up the wrong way. They’re always hassling me about my eating habits and my weight.”
"Well, you’re a heavy guy. I’m sure they’re just concerned.”
"When they were hassling me I wasn’t anywhere near this big. They’re going to go ballistic when they see how fat I’ve got.”
"Oh? How much do you reckon you’ve put on?”
"I was 103kg when I last saw them at the beginning of the year and I’m 121 now.”
"Whoa, boy, you’re gonna have to translate for me.”
David knew the numbers by heart. He was frequently translating them in his head when measuring himself up against the guys he followed on the internet. "I’m 266 pounds now and I was 227 when I left home.”
"I’m impressed. Boy, if they were hassling you for weighing 230 your folks need a reality check. You can’t be far off six feet. That would barely make you chubby. God, there are a lot worse things. At least you’re not a murderer or a drug addict. You’re not a murderer or a drug addict, are you Dave?”
"Not yet,” David laughed nervously. He loved being able to talk to this really big guy about himself and wanted to extend the conversation, but he had little to no experience with small talk. He took the plunge. "Are you on good terms with your folks?”
"They’re both dead. My mother died when I was 17 and my dad went about five years ago, but no, we got on great. I was always a fat kid, but it was never an issue. My Ma was huge. Short thing, but probably up around 300 pounds. I could never get my arms around her. I think my dad liked her that way, they were always very affectionate with one another. Dad was in construction too, worked all over Texas, but he was a manual labourer, so he was real strong and lean. Ma had to cook huge meals for him after a full-on day’s work, and I always kept up with the old man, which is where this guy entered the picture.” Austin rubbed his gut affectionately. David loved the idea of being so fat that you could talk about your stomach in the third person. "The old man used to kid me about my size, but it was never in a nasty way, and I think he was mighty proud that I went into the same line of work, so we got on great, even after Ma died.”
"So were you born in Austin?”
"No,” Austin laughed. "Conceived. Ma was visiting the big city, met Dad there, got knocked up, married fast and lived happy ever after. I grew up all over Texas, but never lived in Austin. Never even visited, actually.”
"Yeah. We never happened to go there when I was a kid, and after a while it became a sort of superstitious thing. Seeing how long I can go before I revisit the scene of the crime! Don’t get back much to Texas at all now Dad’s gone.”
There was a knock on the door.
"That’ll be the food. I don’t know if you’re supposed to be here, so how about you pop next door and I’ll wave them in.”
David headed for the bedroom while Austin struggled to raise his crashed bulk on weary legs.
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