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Game Night - Part 2
I’d been playing for about an hour when I heard a knock on the door. I ambled as casually as I could to the door, opening it to find a trendily-dressed Noel outside it. I smiled, pleased to see him, but also slightly enjoying the still-not-quite-conscious expression on his freshly scrubbed face. He’d opted for the layered look, a black t-shirt over a white long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and, of course, his faithful beret. His wardrobe seemed a bit snug, particularly around his chest and belly and waist (not that I was complaining), and I wondered if he’d be due for an upgrade in clothing size soon. |
"Hey,” I said, waving him in. As was becoming a habit, he interrupted his side-step into the apartment to give me a full-bodied hug, enveloping me a soft, sweet-scented hug. I hugged him in return, my hands unconsciously drifting down to grasp his love-handles. At his slight jump, I remembered that a) I was getting ahead of the program and b) we were standing in my open apartment door. With a gentle pat to his side, I began to pull out of our embrace. With an audible sigh, he relinquished his hold as well and, with sheepish smiles, we headed inside.
With a slight blush, I turned around to attend to my forgotten game, and I could hear him follow me into the living room. He glanced over my shoulder at the television, where my game was still paused. "So you did decide to replay Chrono Cross? Cool.”
"Yeah,” I said, picking up the game controller. "Our conversation reminded me of how much I enjoyed it.” I patted the console. "Let me just save this game real quick… Okay, done.” I slipped on my jacket and looked over at my portly guest. He was leaning against the sofa arm, just watching me.
"You ready?” He asked, to which I nodded. So we headed out into a brisk autumn afternoon. It was an exercise in futility to avoid catching sight of the not-so-subtle jiggle that seemed to ripple through Noel’s body with each step, particularly in his chest and lower belly. I was surprised to realize that he seemed to be engaging a similar surreptitious study. It sent a curious flush through me.
"I apologize if my invitation was a bit abrupt,” I said. The idea had occurred to me only last night, at such an hour that I was hesitant to call, even on a Friday night.
"Nah, it’s cool,” Noel said, he glanced over at me. "You seemed kinda frantic this week.”
"Sorry about that,” I said. "A few people got approved to take vacations on overlapping days, so I had to fill in a lot more than usual. There were some early mornings and late nights and not always in the most intuitive pattern.”
"That sucks,” Noel said. "Well, hopefully they get your schedule straightened up soon.”
"It should,” I said, "Until the holiday season really starts.”
"Ouch,” Noel said. After a moment he asked, "So, you’re not taking off for the holidays?”
"Nah,” I said. "I don’t really have anywhere to go, so I tend to just fill the scheduling gaps. My manager and I have an arrangement.” I nodded reassuringly. "There’s decent overtime pay.”
"Oh, okay,” Noel said, although he seemed oddly affected by my explanation. We turned to other topics as we approached the restaurant, such as the night’s upcoming game and our previous experiences with other campaigns and he quickly to return to his usual self. We entered and, despite the afternoon lunch rush, were quickly seated in a booth near the back of the restaurant. We took a moment to rearrange the table, allowing more room for Noel’s, shall we say, larger proportions. The waitress, Zi, took our drink orders and directed us to the buffet.
"It looks good,” Noel said, taking in the rows of food. He sniffed the heavily scented air. "Smells good, too.”
"It is,” I promised, guiding him to the stacks of plates. I’d been to several other buffets in town, and it seemed like their plates were slightly larger than the others, more like platters. It probably made for marginally fewer trips, I suppose, and accommodated those who might find such matters inconvenient. I’d observed some hefty customers frequenting this place over the years.
I knew my route and picked up my favorites, returning to the booth in short order. Rather than partaking of my own meal, though, I waited for Noel, watching him idle through the aisles, slowly filling up his plate with various dishes and delicacies. When he finally ambled over to our seats, his plate was piled high. I could see some of my favorites, teriyaki chicken, crab Rangoon, stuffed mushrooms, assorted types of rice and a sampling of pretty much every non-dessert available.
"I like to try a bit of everything,” He said, noticing my expression as I took in his plate, which was making me full just looking at it. "I figure out what I like, then get more of that for the next plate, then figure out what I really like and get more of that on the third plate. And then I usually get dessert and repeat.”
"So you have a buffet process,” I said, smiling at the thought.
He laughed. "I guess I do. That’s just on the first trip, though. After that, I just get a few plates of my favorites and a couple of plates of dessert.”
I was beginning to develop a better understanding of Noel’s current size.
We were quiet during the meal. At least, we didn’t speak. Under the clatter of dishes, the murmur of other conversation, and the general hustle and bustle of the restaurant, I could hear Noel smacking his lips and chomping his way through the mountain of food. I wished that I were better cook, because I could tell by just observing that he savored each bite and taste. No verbal affirmation of a job well-done would be needed.
I was once more surprised to find that we finished our plates at the same time. I hadn’t gotten that much and he’d gotten quite a bit. I’d always been something of a slow eater, but I was also a light eater, so he must have been gobbling down food at a decent pace. We went to the tables, and again I returned to our buffet first and was treated to the view of him bearing a platter of, as planned, a smaller selection but of similar portions to the first plate. Also as planned, this was repeated twice more. By the time he was done, he’d undone his pants and I’d had to pull the table back again to make room for him. But, finally sated (more like over-sated) he leaned back in the doubly padded seat, the hem of his shirt sliding over the swell of his belly to reveal a furry strip of flesh as well as the hollow of his belly button. He finished his presentation of appreciation with a rumbling belch.
I raised my drink as if following a toast, "Hear, hear.”
He laughed, then groaned, groping his full stomach. "Don’t make me laugh. I might rupture something.”
"I’ll try not to,” I said. He did look very stuffed. Concern warred with increasing arousal. Fortunately, I recognized that humor is often best served spontaneously, so I made no effort to force the matter.
"Ooh, man,” He groaned, exhaling heavily as he rested his hands on his belly. "I think maybe I overdid it this time.”
"It was an impressive display,” I said cordially.
Now, I admit, what follows is a bit out of character for me. I’m not sure what made me so bold, perhaps it was in response to the sheer openness of Noel’s earlier exhibition. But I watched as I reached across the table, carefully rubbing Noel’s gut, not far under his well-rounded chest. I blushed as I realized what I was doing, but I realized that Noel’s expression, as he watched my hand rest on him, was not one of affront. His lips had curved into a pleased smile, one of contentment and… affirmation?
"I don’t think I’ve seen someone take such pleasure in a meal before.” This time he blushed, and I patted his hand where it now rested on the table. "I don’t mean that in a bad way. You made me wish I could create or do something that would bring someone as much gratification.”
Noel got a funny look on his face, opened his mouth as if to speak, closed it and opened it again. "Then I guess that’s a good thing.”
I nodded, picking the check, which the waitress had brought after collecting Noel’s third plate (pre-dessert plate). If it had been a hint, Noel certainly hadn’t taken it. I almost felt guilty as I looked at the total. It wasn’t a small amount, but compared to what Noel had eaten, it almost seemed like too little. But Zi had been very attentive, refilling drinks and clearing plates with almost robotic regularity, so between the two of them, I tipped a little better than normal, slipping my card onto the receipt tray.
Noel reached for his wallet, and I waved him off, "My treat.”
As it turns out, I needn’t have bothered. Seated and stuffed as he was, he couldn’t get his wallet out of his blue jeans anyway. He blushed, but nodded gratefully, with a murmured, "Thanks.” Zi returned with my card, thanked us and went back to her remaining customers. I slid out of the booth, taking a moment to watch Noel wriggle out, again pushing the table before making it out and onto his feet. He turned away from me for a moment, and after some fidgeting I assumed he redid his jeans and belt before following me out.
As we walked back to my apartment, observing Noel’s subtly increased waddle and somewhat labored breathing, I mused. "In hindsight, we probably should have driven.”
"I’m okay,” Noel said, "s’ not so bad to have a good walk to follow a good meal.” He paused. "Maybe … Maybe we can do this again next week?”
I tried not to over-react to the implications of this question as I answered, "I think that I would like that.”
"Me, too,” Noel said, sounding pleased with himself. A cool breeze danced around us, and I suddenly I found myself pulled close to Noel, his arm around my shoulder as he held me against his warm bulk. "Wouldn’t want you to catch cold,” He said, a coy smile on his lips when I looked over at him, my arm slipping as far around his broad waist as it would reasonably go. He was so irresistibly warm and soft, I couldn’t help leaning into him. "You’re not as well-insulated as I am.”
"’tis true,” I replied, perhaps slightly drunk on his food-tinged scent and my sudden proximity to his roundsome frame. I say this, because I found myself rubbing his gut once more with my free hand, less carefully this time, my hand exploring the curve of his belly down below the notched up hems of his shirts, which he hadn’t bothered to tuck back in. I could hear him stifle a moan before I stopped. "You’re very well padded.”
"Perhaps too well padded?” He asked, looking remarkably vulnerable for a moment.
"I’d say that you’re just right for keeping me warm,” I said, leaning my head against his. "Hot, even.”
I could hear his smile in his voice as he rested his head gently against mine, with a very quiet, "Cool.”
I don’t think I need to say that it was more than a pleasant walk back to my apartment. I fumbled with my key as I let us into my apartment, finally stepping apart as I closed the door and hung up my jacket and he his cap. He was breathing heavily, and I was uncertain if it was simply the walk (which turned out to be longer than I remembered) or if some other stimulus was responsible.
"So,” He said, leaning against the door, arms crossed over his stuffed stomach. "The game isn’t s’posed to start for a few hours. And most of the guys probably won’t even be here for a few hours after that. How would you like to kill some time?'
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