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The Beauty of Travel Part 1
Jay stepped off the plane and felt his stomach twinge as he looked towards the main building of the airport. For the last six months, he’d been thinking about nothing else but the next time he saw Niall and now that time was here, he wanted nothing more than to get back on that plane and single-handedly fly it to some remote exotic island, preferably one where donuts grew from the trees.
It didn’t help that he hadn’t eaten since early that morning. Jay had sat on the plane for close to three hours due to airport delays and in that entire time, he couldn’t stop thinking about food.
He glanced down at his stretched out work pants and too small shirt, frowning as he saw exactly what he expected to see. Feeling so nervous he could vomit, he took a deep breath and made his way to the arrivals hall.
* * *
Lisa had dumped him almost instantly when he’d told her about Berlin. At first, she’d acted like she was okay with it, but within a few hours she was asking if he really thought their relatively new relationship could withstand a six month separation. Jay knew she had a point, but he couldn’t help thinking she just wanted an excuse to end it. She’d dumped him officially a couple of days later.
Three weeks after that, he’d taken a flight to Berlin. But not before his drunken going away party, where he’d surprised himself by pushing his best friend Niall up against a wall and kissing him for a solid fifteen minutes. The next day they’d woken up in bed together and spent Jay’s last day in London exploring each other’s bodies, kissing, spooning and fucking for hours on end, only stopping to order Chinese food.
Niall had come to the airport to say goodbye and they hadn’t mentioned it since. They’d been in constant e-mail contact, but that was nothing new. They talked about music, films, friends and all the usual crap. Jay honestly had no idea what would happen when he got back.
But when he looked at his new figure in the mirror, he had a good idea.
* * *
Jay felt his stomach jiggle as he had to run to catch his luggage on the conveyor belt, wincing as he felt his belly wobbling. Jay had spent a lot of nights alone in Berlin and when he wasn’t eating takeout in his hotel room, he’d been eating executive lunches with colleagues and clients. The effects were fairly obvious. He’d gained almost forty pounds in just six months, most of it in his stomach.
That stomach was quivering with butterflies as he picked up his luggage. Jay glanced around the arrivals lounge and didn’t see anyone he knew. He hadn’t asked anyone to pick him up, but he had half hoped that Niall would be there to meet him. He had dropped hints that it would be good to see him the last time they’d spoken on the phone.
Jay tried not to be too disappointed. Niall was probably working and he’d see him soon enough anyway. Then he saw Lisa. She was standing by the door, tapping her foot and looking nervous. Her eyes seemed to look past him at first – then she realised it was him and waved hello. She walked over seeming a little tentative.
"Hey… I thought you might need a lift. I had the day off work so…” Lisa trailed off. Jay could see she was taken aback by the change in his appearance, but he tried to pretend he hadn’t noticed. After all, they’d been friends before their relationship and he could use a lift anyhow.
"Great. Thanks… So how’ve you been?” he asked as they headed towards the exit.
* * *
The atmosphere in the car was beyond tense. Lisa rambled on about her job for fifteen minutes and after that the journey continued in silence until they pulled up outside Jay’s parents’ house.
"So…” said Lisa as she turned off the engine. "You haven’t said anything about Berlin.”
"Yeah, it was cool I guess.” Jay shrugged. "I was mostly working.”
Lisa nodded. "You’re looking well anyway.”
Jay recognised the euphemism for "you’ve put on weight” from his mother’s conversations with her friends. "Thanks for the lift,” he said. "Do you want some fuel money?”
Lisa glanced at the fuel gauge and said "Nah, I should be okay. Thanks.”
Jay retrieved his luggage and went inside the house, reflecting on how his relationship with Lisa had transformed from that of two lovers to that of a taxi driver and a passenger reluctant to make conversation.
* * *
From the second he got inside, Jay’s mother flew into action and started cooking as if he hadn’t eaten in six months, though it was obvious from his appearance that nothing could be further from the truth. Both of Jay’s parents made separate remarks about him "looking well” within half an hour of his return. For the rest of the day, he would catch them sneaking looks at him when they thought he wasn’t looking.
The response from Lisa and his parents had made Jay glad that Niall hadn’t shown up at the airport. He resolved to join a gym and work off the flab as soon as possible, although there was no point in starting until after the weekend, especially with the way his mother was cooking at the moment.
He looked at his reflection in the full-length mirror as he changed out of his work clothes in his bedroom. For months now, he’d made do with the half mirror in his hotel room and this was the first time he’d seen his new body all at once.
Jay tentatively ran a hand across his stomach and half-heartedly tried to convince himself it wasn’t really noticeable when he breathed in. His gut was lined with red stretchmarks and beginning to sag below his belt line. Jay had never really been skinny and, despite his best efforts, he’d never had a flat stomach or a six-pack. But he’d never really thought of himself as fat before. That had definitely changed now.
After pulling on some new jeans, his only clothing purchase in Berlin, he looked in the mirror, put his hand on his stomach and tried to suck his gut in once more, before giving in with a sigh. As his belly surged outwards again, he mused on the softness of its underside. He may have been self-conscious about how his new belly looked, but it certainly felt nice. He remembered a line in some movie, something about the difference between what was pleasing to the eye and what was pleasing to the touch. He couldn’t remember which movie it came from, but there was definitely some truth in it.
As he rubbed his gut thoughtfully, Jay looked over the rest of his body. His dirty blonde hair was slightly longer and messier than it had been in the past, but he actually preferred it that way. His dark brown eyes stood out from under a light fringe and his face was still essentially the same as it had always been, although a little rounder around the edges maybe. As he looked down, he noted that his arms and thighs were a little beefier, and he didn’t particularly mind.
It was only that damn gut that was spoiling things.
Jay had never been particularly caught up in his appearance, but now he was trying to get closer to Niall he was more self-aware. After all, Niall had always been the attractive one, ever since they’d met at school. Girls had kept chasing after him even after he came out, some of them fantasising that they would be the one who "turned him straight.” Niall was never short of admirers in the local gay clubs, but he never seemed particularly interested in most of them. He’d been burned badly in his one major relationship, which had lasted almost four years and culminated with him being dumped for a woman, after his boyfriend decided it had all been a phase after all.
None of this altered the fact that Niall was definitely out of Jay’s league. Especially with this gut in the way. Niall could have been a model if he’d put his mind to it, with his piercing blue eyes, jet black hair and lightly muscled figure. The fact he had no clue how good looking he was just made him even more attractive.
As Jay kept rubbing his gut almost unconsciously, still digesting the huge meal his mother had made earlier, his mind went back to the night of his going-away party. Niall had kept making comments about all the sexy frauleins Jay was supposedly going to hook up with in Berlin and Jay couldn’t help but detect a note of jealousy in his voice. He assumed it was because Niall had always wanted to travel but as the night wore on he kept noticing that Niall was watching him.
Someone had insisted on a round of tequila shots and before long they were followed by a round of sambuca shots and a round of whisky shots. It wasn’t long after that before Jay made his move. He had his excuse ready – if Niall hadn’t responded he would have made out it was just a crazy joke. But Niall did respond. One hour later they were in Niall’s bed and Jay was having the best sex of his life.
Those sensations were coming back to him now, as he stood half naked in front of the mirror fondling his naked belly and remembered how it had felt to be kissed and licked all over his chest whilst those strong hands had groped his thighs, his ass, his cock…
Jay was rock hard. Still making circles across his stomach with one hand, he used the other to cup his erection through his jeans. It seemed slightly odd for him to be touching himself whilst looking at the reflection of that protruding stomach in the mirror, but he didn’t feel the need to stop as he imagined Niall’s hand caressing him gently, unzipping his flies and reaching inside his underwear…
He came after ten minutes of furious jerking off and was cleaning himself up when he heard his phone buzzing. It was Niall.
"Hey. How’s it going?” Jay asked, trying to sound casual and failing.
"Not bad. How was Berlin?” Niall asked, despite the fact they had been in constant contact for the entire duration of Jay’s time in Germany.
"Pretty cool.” Jay found his newfound relaxation starting to melt away as he sat on the bed and glimpsed his reflection again, noting how his stomach poked over his jeans and touched the top of his thighs.
"Did Lisa pick you up at the airport?”
Jay frowned. How had Niall known about that? "Yeah… uh… that was a surprise,” he admitted.
"Yeah, she said she was going to meet up with you. How did it go?”
"Um. Okay, I guess.”
"So are you two back together?”
The question had taken Jay completely by surprise. "What? I mean… no. Is that why she picked me up?”
"Well, she was saying she hadn’t given you two much of a chance, so I just assumed…” Niall trailed off.
Jay replayed the conversation in the car. Lisa had a way of talking really quickly when she was nervous and she had certainly been doing that at the beginning of the journey. Had she lost interest when she saw his weight gain? Or had she decided against it when Jay showed no real interest in the conversation?
Did it even really matter?
"I wouldn’t have been interested anyway,” Jay told Niall, sounding a little more blunt than he intended.
"Oh. Well… Fair enough.” Niall sounded a little surpised, but not in a bad way. "So are we meeting up for a drink later?”
* * *
Jay arranged to meet Niall in town later that evening then went back downstairs to see his parents. Jay’s father had opened a bottle of whisky and by the time Jay called a taxi to take him into town, he’d already spent two hours drinking and talking about Berlin. He was slightly drunk when he arrived at the bar where he was meeting Niall, which had the pleasant side-effect of making him slightly less self conscious.
As such, he greeted Niall with a sloppy hug rather than a manly handshake.
"Hey. Did you start drinking without me?” Niall asked in a rather amused tone.
"There was whisky,” Jay explained. "In celebration of the returning explorer.”
"Ah. I’m gonna have some catching up to do then. Back in a minute.” Niall went to the bar and came back with two bottles of beer and two sambuca shots, which were quickly dispensed with.
"So is it lame being back home?” Niall asked after his first sip of beer.
"Nah, it’s good. Germany was cool for the first month, but after that the novelty wore off,” Jay explained. "Going out on your own gets old after a while.”
"Oh well. Plenty of time to make up for that,” Niall declared, before quickly gulping down his beer. "Where are we going next?”
* * *
By 1am, Jay and Niall were both too drunk to get into any club, so they stumbled along the back alleys towards a taxi stand, stopping off at a pizzeria en route.
"What are you eating?” Niall asked, pulling out his wallet. "My treat. Just got paid.”
"Just some chips,” Jay replied. He felt bad about eating junkfood, but he needed something to sober him up and besides, he really wanted some chips.
”That all? Come on, we’re celebrating,” Niall urged.
"I don’t need anything else. Just chips.”
When it was his turn to order, Niall ignored Jay’s request and ordered a large meat feast pizza with some garlic bread and several pieces of fried chicken, along with the chips.
"You’re coming back to mine, right?” Niall asked casually as they fell into the back of the taxi. "I need help with all this.”
"Eyes bigger than your stomach,” Jay admonished. "Yeah, I’ll come back to yours.”
He decided he’d imagined it, but he was sure he caught Niall glancing at his belly and smiling as they got out of the taxi.
* * *
Jay woke to find Niall spooned up against him, leaning into his back and brushing a hand lightly against his belly, playing with the hairs around his navel. Jay decided against letting Niall know he was awake just yet. He didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that Niall must be in the process of ascertaining just how much weight Jay had gained whilst he was away.
Still, he couldn’t help a small whimper as Niall shifted closer, his erection nuzzling the cheeks of Jay’s ass. That hand on his belly drifted lower and gently fondled the lower half of Jay’s gut, fingers tracing the stretch marks before grabbing the roll of fat and giving it a good firm squeeze. Jay was startled to hear a low moan emanate from Niall’s throat as that hard-on poked more insistently against his ass.
Maybe he was still asleep, Jay mused. He was probably dreaming about squeezing some underwear model’s ass or something. Which was why Jay was surprised to hear a sleep-rough voice whisper "I know you’re awake” in his ear.
Jay thought about pretending otherwise but decided to give in. "Mornin’,” was about all he could manage, dumbfounded by what had just transpired.
"How long you been pretending to be asleep?” Niall murmured, playfully leaning forward to flick his tongue over Jay’s earlobe.
"I wasn’t,” Jay protested, "Just took a minute to realise where I was.”
"Yeah? And were you disappointed when you did?”
Jay looked over his shoulder at Niall’s expression, which was at once both playfully confident and seeking reassurance. That sense of feeling that everything was right with the world came flooding back to him and he shifted around in bed, reaching around Niall’s head and pulling him in for a long, slow kiss.
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