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Stuck in the Middle Part 1
His problems had started when he’d moved to Los Angeles to start college. Mike had good grades and could have taken his pick of colleges, but when his best friend Rick decided he was moving to Los Angeles, that was the deciding factor. The two friends had started attending separate colleges within the city and before long, Rick was busy with his new boyfriend, some pretentious fuckwit named Aaron who rubbed Mike the wrong way. Mike had felt like he was imposing on Rick’s new life and they’d gradually lost contact.
Preoccupied with college in his freshman year, Mike hadn’t really made that many friends outside of his dorm. In the second year, he moved into an apartment by himself and became depressed when he realised how totally isolated he was.
Compounding all of this, living in Los Angeles had re-ignited his long-denied feelings of attraction towards other men. In the past, Mike had reasoned that since he was able to convince himself he was relatively happy in relationships with women, there was no reason he had to acknowledge his other urges or deal with what he realised deep down. As his gay best friend, Rick had acted as a substitute boyfriend as long as he’d been around. In the end, it was whilst Mike was cut off and isolated that he finally admitted to himself that he was far more attracted to men than women.
All of the angst and isolation had taken its toll and Mike had turned to food for comfort. Although he’d successfully avoided the ‘freshman fifteen’ in his first year at college, the same couldn’t be said for his second year, when his diet of pizzas, burgers and other junk food pushed his weight up from a slimline 160lbs to a chubbier 203lbs frame.
He’d gained at least another 30lbs in the first semester of his final year and was almost unrecognisable from the skinny guy he’d been when he started college. His spiky black hair was the only thing that would have given him away to an old acquaintance. His face had rounded out and he’d picked up a double chin. His thighs and arms had become flabby, his pecs had softened into manboobs and no clothes in the world could hide his bulging stomach and rounded ass.
Mike felt like he should go on a diet but he never got round to it. He knew that the extra weight was putting other guys off, but it didn’t bother him all that much personally. Sometimes he’d eat too much and find himself rubbing his stomach thoughtfully. He wasn’t repulsed by his flab. In fact, he was becoming quite attached to it. Sometimes he’d get hard thinking about how much his body had changed, although he put it down to being so sex starved. As he’d got bigger, Mike had found it harder and harder to pick up guys in clubs and resorted more and more to masturbation. Tonight, he was horny as hell, but it looked like his best option would be to head home and, once again, take care of it himself.
He decided to ditch the club and head home, and he was just finishing his drink when he noticed a bouncer heading towards him. It occurred to Mike that the guy may be about to tell him to cheer up or go home and Mike started to think of an appropriate response when the bouncer reached him, pulled a flier out of his pocket and handed it to Mike.
"You might have better luck here, pal. This place is empty tonight anyway.”
Mike nodded thanks and glanced at the flyer. It was for a bar called Largesse. "For those with broad minds and broad behinds,” read the tagline. Mike’s eyes widened. A club explicitly for fat guys? That was just too weird. And what the fuck made that guy think he could just hand Mike a flyer for this place just because he was fat and sat here alone? Mike was pissed off and decided to go ahead with his plan to go home. He headed towards the restroom on the way out, stopping briefly to say ‘hi’ to some guy he vaguely knew from college.
In the restroom, Mike took one look at the filthy urinals and decided to use one of the cubicles. He was finishing up when he heard the restroom door open and two guys walked in.
"Who was that fat guy you said ‘hi’ to?” one of them asked.
"Some guy from college. You should have seen him two years ago. He was hot as hell back then. It’s fucking tragic.”
Mike listened to the two guys bitching about him and waited until they’d gone to leave the cubicle. He sneaked out of the club via the back exit so nobody would spot him leaving the restroom. As he walked away briskly he thought again about the flyer in his pocket. If the people in this place were all that shallow, maybe a club for fat guys wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
* * *
The next night, Mike stood outside the club, wondering if he should go inside or not. Maybe he’d got the wrong idea. Maybe this place would be full of freaks. What kind of people wanted to specifically date fat guys anyway?
A cold breeze drifted past and Mike decided there was no point standing outside all night. He stepped inside, paid his five dollars admission and walked upstairs to the bar area. The place seemed surprisingly normal – busy bar, loud dance music, flashy décor. It was just like any other gay bar he’d ever been to, with the notable exception that at least two thirds of the guys there were notably larger than average.
Mike realised his mouth was hanging open and shut it promptly. He was certainly not one of the largest men there. Some of the guys on the dance floor and in the seated area had to weigh three or four hundred pounds. Some of them were dancing stomach to stomach. For once, Mike didn’t feel like he stuck out like a sore thumb. He was already getting a few glances from random guys – both thinner and larger than him – and he hadn’t even bought a drink yet.
Then again, it was looking like he might not have to. The guy stood next to him at the bar had just flashed him a smile and when the barman turned to him, he ordered a beer and looked at Mike. "Can I buy you a drink?”
Mike asked for a beer and checked out the stranger as he turned back to the bar. He was definitely his type – spiky blonde hair, dark brown eyes, couple of tattoos, lightly muscled body.
"First time here, right?” the stranger asked as he handed Mike a beer. "I’m Craig.”
Mike introduced himself and spent the next twenty minutes chatting to Craig in a booth near the dance floor. He seemed nice – funny, smart and self-deprecating – but Mike barely heard a word he said. He was too busy staring at Craig and trying to figure out what he was doing in a place like this. He wouldn’t have any trouble scoring with guys in any other club – it wasn’t like this was his only option. Could a hot guy like this really prefer big guys like him?
Craig had gone to the restroom when Mike noticed a couple of guys in the corner of the room who kept glancing at him. They weren’t close enough to be sure, but he was pretty sure he recognised one of them. But what would he be doing in Los Angeles?
Mike looked away so they wouldn’t see him staring. Craig came back to the booth and Mike offered to go to the bar and get more drinks. Whilst he was there, someone tapped him on the shoulder.
"It is you, isn’t it? I like the new look.”
Mike turned and took a deep breath. It was Dylan Clarke, one of Rick’s old boyfriends. Rick had gone out with Dylan for about three months, before realising that Dylan had serious issues and needed medical treatment for his depression. Rick had tried to help Dylan, but Dylan didn’t want to hear it. A few months later, Mike heard through a friend that Dylan had been admitted to a psychiatric ward. Still, you wouldn’t know it to look at Dylan now, beaming brightly as he peered out from under his light brown fringe with dark brown eyes.
Mike cursed his luck. "Hi, Dylan. What are you doing in LA?”
"Checking out the sights,” Dylan replied, looking Mike up and down. "I knew that whole ‘ladykiller’ thing was an act.”
Mike smiled awkwardly. "You could’ve told me. Might have saved me a lot of trouble.”
"Guys who are in denial about their sexuality usually don’t appreciate random people saying they’re gay.”
"Guess not.” Mike picked up his beers from the bar and wondered how the hell to get out of this conversation. Was Dylan going to start trouble or was he just being polite? When he was dating Rick, it had always seemed like he always had some secret agenda. But then, Dylan had been suffering from a fairly intense kind of depression at the time. Mike told himself he should give the guy a chance.
"I’m here with someone you might know, actually,” Dylan said. "Come and see.”
"Umm… actually, I was talking to someone-”
"Won’t take long,” Dylan took one of the beers from Mike and grabbed him by the hand. Mike shot an apologetic look over at Craig, who was watching him from the booth and looking puzzled.
"Here we go. I told you it was him,” Dylan said to his companion.
Mike looked away from Craig and found himself staring straight at Trent Jackson. Rick’s first ever boyfriend. The one who had called him constantly for six months after they split up. Suave, blonde and in definite possession of criminal tendencies. Mike wondered what on Earth was going on. Was this a reunion of everyone he’d hoped he’d never see again?
"Hey Mike. You’re looking well,” said Trent, very obviously checking him out.
Mike was stunned. It couldn’t be coincidence that they’d ended up together after separately going out with his best friend. "So… what, you guys formed a club?”
"Nope. Although it gave us something in common.” Dylan swung his arm around Trent and leaned against him.
"You bonded over being dumped by the same guy. That’s fucking creepy. And kinda pathetic.”
"More pathetic than lusting over him for years and never acting on it?”
The comment stung. "Fuck you, you don’t know anything about me.”
"Why lie about it?” Trent asked. "It was always obvious anyway.”
"It really was,” Dylan told him.
Mike shook his head. "I’m out of here.”
"Looks like your friend got bored of waiting,” Trent observed. Mike glanced at the booth and realised Craig was already talking to someone else.
"Fuck,” he cursed.
"That guy’s an asshole,” Dylan told him. "Who drinks light beer anyway?”
"You could always come home with us though.” Trent smiled. "We could stop off for pizza.”
"So because I’m overweight, you think you can bribe me to sleep with you for pizza?” Mike couldn’t believe what he was hearing. "That approach ever work?”
Dylan grinned. "We’re not doing too badly.”
"We’ve had our share of fat guys,” Trent agreed. "Although they weren’t all fat when we started.”
Despite himself, Mike couldn’t help being flattered by the offer. Both these guys had been with Rick, who Mike had always adored. Which meant Mike had automatically thought of them as being out of his league. But there was still one big obstacle to going home with them. "Forget it. You’re both mental cases.”
"Takes one to know one,” Trent quipped. "Look, Dylan’s on his meds and I’m just teasing. Seriously, come over. We’ll have fun.”
"Nah, I’ll pass. Thanks anyway.” Mike glared at them one last time and walked out of the club, thinking that it was just his luck that the only club in L.A. for fat guys was also inhabited by his best friend’s ex-stalker and his crazy boyfriend.
* * *
Mike sank down onto his sofa. He’d had a crappy day at college, where he was unable to concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds. He’d been awake all night thinking about Dylan and Trent and who they might speak to about seeing him in that club. He was embarrassed enough about going there without being seen by two of Rick’s ex-boyfriends. It would be bad enough if Rick found out he got fat, let alone if he found out he was hanging out in a club for fat guys.
All he could do was hope that it was over, but something told him it wasn’t. Neither Trent nor Dylan were known for giving up easily.
His cellphone rang. That was unusual in itself. Mike glanced at the display and didn’t recognise the number. He got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as he answered.
"Hey. Guess who?”
"How did you get this number?” Mike demanded angrily.
"You haven’t changed it in three years,” Trent pointed out. "I asked someone back home.”
"What the fuck do you want, Trent? What’s it going to take for you to leave me alone?”
"Come to dinner with us. We’re going to the Chinese buffet place.” Trent was speaking as if they were old friends.
"Why, so you can fuck with my head some more?”
"We’re not trying to scare you, we just wanted to hang out.” Mike heard Dylan murmuring something in the background and Trent chuckled before continuing. "Y’know, Dylan called out your name while we were fucking last night.”
Mike had no idea what the appropriate response to that was, although he felt a tingling in his groin at the thought of it. "I can’t believe you said those two sentences in the same breath,” he murmured.
"Look I swear to you, there’s no hidden agenda here. We just wanna get to know you. Come to dinner with us and I swear I’ll never contact you again if you don’t want me to.”
Mike considered this. Part of him had to admit he was intrigued about what this was all about. "You swear?”
"Have you ever known me to lie to anybody?”
Mike had to admit he hadn’t. "Okay. So are you picking me up or what?”
* * *
One hour later, Mike was tapping his cellphone against his knee nervously, waiting to be picked up. He’d gotten changed into his newest jeans and a black shirt, although he wasn’t quite sure why. The idea was supposed to be to put them off, wasn’t it?
He heard a car horn and glanced out of the window to see a black sportscar outside his apartment. It only occurred to him then that he’d never given Trent his address. He supposed he shouldn’t be surprised that Trent had found it on his own. Trent could find anything he wanted. Which apparently included him.
Mike glanced at himself in the bathroom mirror in the way out. Despite the black clothes, there was no way to hide the contrast between his bulky top half and his comparatively normal looking legs. They had to be up to something. Guys like that did not go for guys like him. He was intrigued though. It was possible they were serious, wasn’t it? They’d both been genuine enough for Rick to fall for each of them at some point.
He got into the car without saying anything and avoided eye contact with either of them. Dylan turned round in his seat to face him. "You look nice.”
Mike shrugged. "Thanks.”
"Is Chinese food okay?” Trent asked, glancing into the rear view mirror.
"Yeah, fine.” Mike felt unaccountably nervous.
They were five minutes into the journey when Dylan turned to him again and said "So when did you start putting on weight then? Must have been right after I saw you last…”
Mike shook his head. "College.”
"Wow, so you must have gained, what a hundred pounds in two years?” Dylan seemed really impressed.
"I don’t know. More like seventy.” Mike had never worked it out in his head before. It definitely sounded like a lot.
"So are you gonna gain any more?”
"Umm… how would I know?” Mike asked, perplexed. "It’s not like I set out to do it.”
"Dylan, chill out you’re scaring him,” Trent said. He looked at Mike in the mirror. "The medication makes him hyper sometimes.”
Dylan turned back to the front. "I just think he looks good is all.”
Mike saw Dylan and Trent smile at each other and felt a sense of apprehension as they pulled up outside the Chinese buffet restaurant.
* * *
Mike was self-conscious as he filled his plate at the buffet, aware that Trent was watching everything he did. Trent’s own plate was full as he went back to the table. Dylan had ordered drinks whilst they were at the buffet. When they sat down, he got up to get some food.
"So when was the last time you talked to Rick?” Trent asked.
Mike shook his head. "You’re obsessed.”
"I’m only mentioning it ‘cause I still talk to him online sometimes. He didn’t say you were in Los Angeles with him.”
"I’m not really here ‘with him.’ Haven’t seen him in a while.” Trent looked at him to continue. "He’s busy with his boyfriend all the time.”
"Aaron. They split up six months ago,” said Trent, matter-of-factly.
"Really?” Mike tried to act like he didn’t care one way or another, but he was surprised Rick hadn’t contacted him in all that time. His eating speeded up.
"Did you fall out about something?” Trent asked.
"No. He just… we just drifted apart,” said Mike defensively, around a mouthful of crispy duck.
"Why don’t you wanna talk about him?”
"I just don’t wanna talk about him with you. You really fucking hurt him,” Mike pointed out.
"I never meant to.”
"I know. Sorry,” Mike couldn’t help feeling slightly ashamed. He knew from Trent’s constant phone calls and e-mails that he had really loved Rick.
Dylan came back to the table with his plate piled high. "I’ve got twelve different kinds of chicken.”
"At least it’s not dogmeat,” Trent said, taking a sip of his beer.
Trent and Dylan discussed types of animal used in Asian cuisine for the next ten minutes and Mike soon realised he was the only one eating anything.
"How’s the dogmeat fried rice?” Dylan asked after a while.
”Umm… it’s great.” Mike was finishing his plate and wondering if it was a bad idea to get a second plate before anyone else had even started eating.
Dylan pushed his plate towards him. "Here. Saves you getting up.”
Mike didn’t really have time to protest before Dylan and Trent started talking again, so he just started eating food from off Dylan’s plate and listened to them talk about nothing in particular.
Before he’d even finished the second plate, Trent was pushing his plate towards him and ordering more beer from the waiter. Then he got up from the table and announced he was going to the restroom.
There was an awkward silence as he left Mike and Dylan at the table together. After a while, Mike felt obliged to fill it. "So… are you still at college?”
Dylan ignored the question. "I think you’re really hot.”
"Okay,” was all Mike could think of to say.
"I get really turned on by men with big appetites,” Dylan said, smiling and unrelentingly looking Mike in the eye.
"So why are you with Trent then?” Mike couldn’t help wondering.
”Oh, he’s got a big appetite, just not for food.”
Mike grinned. "Fair enough.” He looked at Dylan and then at his plate and decided to ask a question without Trent around. "Why are you doing this?”
"What?” Dylan asked innocently.
"Trying to fuck with my head.”
Dylan smiled and shook his head. "We’re not fucking with you. Is it so hard to believe we just think you’re hot?”
Mike never got to answer the question because Trent came back with another loaded plate and put it down in front of him. "Eat up. Plenty more where that came from.”
* * *
Mike was on his fourth beer and with the alcohol from last night still in his system, he was beginning to get drunk. He was automatically eating whatever was put in front of him now and the beer was only fuelling his appetite. Somehow he was also managing to join in the conversation, which was mostly sticking to topics like music or television. Mike was beginning to relax despite himself. The more he ate, the more attentive Dylan and Trent became and he couldn’t help enjoying the attention.
He was kinda sad when his stomach groaned and he realised he couldn’t eat more. "Wow. I think I’m done,” he said, leaning back and talking a gulp of his beer.
"Well, I’m going for more chicken fried rice,” said Trent, getting up from the table.
"Get me some,” Dylan handed over his plate.
For the next twenty minutes, Mike just sat back and drank his beer whilst Dylan and Trent ate a plate full of food each. After a while, he felt like he could eat some more and went to the buffet. When he came back with his plate full, Dylan and Trent were both smiling at each other. Mike assumed they were just flirting with each other.
He finished off another plateload plus the rice and chicken that Dylan had left unfinished.
* * *
"So… maybe you wanna do this again sometime?” Dylan asked as they got into the car.
"Umm. Yeah, okay.” Mike surprised himself with the answer.
Trent just smiled and started the engine.
"You could come back to our place for a couple more beers if you wanna,” Dylan said quietly.
Mike grinned. Maybe the alcohol was making him less cynical or perhaps that wasn’t such a bad idea after all. "Yeah. Sounds good.”
* * *
"Nice place,” said Mike, looking around the hall.
As soon as he was in, Dylan pushed him up against the door and kissed him. Mike felt a pair of hands on his ass, moving up and around to grab his lovehandles and squeeze them tightly. Dylan’s tongue was teasing him, licking his lips and then disappearing again. Mike opened his mouth wide, letting Dylan drink him in. It felt so good to be in somebody’s arms without having to be self-conscious about his weight.
"Dylan, take it easy.” Trent got back from the kitchen with three bottles of beer in his hand. "We’ve got all night.”
Dylan stepped back and Mike exhaled slowly.
"Actually, I’ve got college in the morning…” Mike couldn’t believe what he was hearing himself say.
Trent handed him a beer and pulled him forward by the shirt collar, kissing him on the lips and moving his free hand down to cup Mike’s erection. "Skip it,” he breathed in Mike’s ear.
Mike shrugged. "I can skip one day, I guess.” This is it, he thought. If something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen now.
He followed them into the lounge and found himself in a bachelor’s paradise. Leather sofa, widescreen TV, Godfather movie posters on the wall. Dylan curled up on the couch and gestured Mike over. Mike sat down and found himself staring at his feet whilst Trent went over to the CD player and put on some random soul music Mike didn’t recognise before sitting down on the other side of him.
"We could order a pizza,” Trent suggested.
Mike smiled and shook his head. "You’re crazy, there’s no way I can eat any more tonight.”
"I think you could if you wanted,” Dylan murmured, moving his hand up and down Mike’s thigh. "We’ll help.”
Mike looked at Dylan and saw the pleading expression on his face. "I don’t know. Sometimes I get hungry afterwards… y’know.” He felt himself blushing. It was so long since he’d flirted with anyone nearly this attractive. He had to look at the floor again.
"Yeah?” Trent asked, turning to face him. "Maybe we could help you work up an appetite.”
"So what are you into then?” asked Dylan, as he fondled Mike’s crotch and unzipped his jeans.
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