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Hey, Big Guy (Complete Story 6/25/19)

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I love how you’ve kept the writing flowing in such a way, it leaves us wanting that little bit more each time. 

I love i

 

Thank you 😊👍🏼💪🏼

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Chapter 61

            I was surprised at how clean the dressing room was when I got back.  There was no new chair—that was simply gone—but the lake of cum James and I had left had been completely cleaned up, and the hole in the wall had been temporarily sealed with masking tape.  The room even smelled nice—vaguely like lilacs.

            For a few minutes, I was worried that I’d forced some anonymous janitor to do my dirty work, but then I saw the clothes hanging on the coatrack: a light purple button-down, white dress pants, black leather belt.  That wasn’t the outfit Dave picked out for me earlier; it was James’s favorite outfit for me.  James must have stayed behind, done all of this, then swapped my clothes.  James had even written the names of the designers on an index card and pinned it to the wrist so I wouldn’t forget them.

            I got into my clothes, but it was a struggle.  My shoulders and chest were just a little too wide for the button-down, so I had to leave the collar and the top button undone.  My crotch was overpacked, and my ass and thighs were jammed in, but the designer had been clever enough to work in some stretchable fabric, so I could sit down and bend over without destroying my pants.  In fact, I look gloriously bound by the fabric, but I was going to feel confined.

            I had just gotten dressed when my dressing room door flew open.  Dave, Luke, my parents, and James stampeded in, slamming the door behind them.

            “You were awesome, buddy!” Luke said, fake-punching me on the shoulder.  He knew that if he real-punched me now, he’d really hurt himself.

            “Those aren’t the clothes I picked out for you,” were the first words out of Dave’s mouth.  Then he cocked his head to the side, smiled, and said, “James picked these out.  Very well.  I approve.”  He was still staring at my thighs and bulge.

            Luke cleared his throat to draw Dave out of his clothing-induced reverie.

            “Yes.  Right.”  He looked up at my eyes.  “Thank you for the name drop,” he added, “but it would’ve been better if you’d mentioned the Instagram and Twitter handle.”

            “I don’t know my Instagram handle.  You never told it to me.”

            “True,” Dave said, nodding.

            My parents worked their way to the front of the small crowd.

            Mom held her fists near her heart in restrained excitement.  “That was majestic, darling.  I did not know bodybuilding could be so balletic.”

            Once he was close enough, Dad threw his arm as far around my shoulders as he could.  “Angie, take a picture of me with our boy.  I want to commemorate this.”

            Mom pulled out her phone, but Dave stepped in, waving his own phone.  “Allow me, Angela,” he said.  Dave tilted the mirror so the light would hit us better, and then he had Dad stand even closer to me.  “Put your arm around his waist so we can see it on the other side,” he added.  “It’ll show how small his waist is and make the rest of him look bigger in the photo.”  Dad obliged with a huge, dopey grin pasted to his face.  Dave snapped the photo, typed something quickly into the phone, and clicked.  My parents’ phones dinged.

            “You posted that to Instagram, didn’t you?” I asked.

            Dave smiled.  “Backstage with @SoccerTweetDad, #ProudPapa, #BigGuy.”

            “You hashtagged it Big Guy?”

            “That’s on all your photos,” Mom said.  “I assumed it was some kind of inside joke.”

            “You don’t know the half of it,” Dave said under his breath.

            “But @SoccerTweetDad?  Seriously, Dave?”

            “Matthew picked that.  Not me.”

            “It’s true,” Dad said.  “My students think it’s hysterical.”

            Dave turned to my mother and said, “Would you like a photo, too, Angela?”

            “Why not?” she said and took Dad’s position.

            “Too samey-samey,” Dave said.  “Let your son pick you up.”

            “You sure you can hold me?” she asked.

            I walked over to James and lifted him off the floor with one arm.  James blushed ever-so-slightly as his feet dangled an inch of the floor.  I looked at my mother with an expression that said, “Are you kidding me?” and put James back down.

            “Very well,” she said.  She jumped up into my arms, and I maneuvered her over until she was sitting in the crook of my left arm.  My biceps and pecs bulged around her form, fighting harder for space than they usually had to and wedging her in place.  As she sat on my forearm, I held her up effortlessly; I didn’t even need my hand.  “Gracious, Chris.  One arm.”

            “Flex with the other one,” Dave ordered, so I did.  He took the picture, typed in his phone, and then posted it.  A moment later, my parents’ phones dinged again.

            “What’s this one say?” I asked.

            “Swept @DrSoccerTweet off her feet, #LookMaNoHands, #BigGuy.”

            “Dr. Soccer Tweet?” I asked as I put her down.

            “I wanted to match the rest of the family,” she clarified.  “I have a different account for the office.”

            “It’s exciting to be on your Twitter feed,” Dad said, scrolling through his phone.  “Most of these are just you by yourself.  I’m honored to guest star.”

            There were other people in some of my Instagram pictures?  The thought iced my veins.  “You’ve never taken a picture of James, have you?” I asked Dave.

            “I’ve never posted a picture of James,” Dave responded.

            “Good,” I said.  I walked back over to James to kiss him, but he demurred.

            “Your parents,” he said.

            “Go ahead,” Dad said.  “No need to be shy around us.”

            James gave me a quick peck, stroked my hair, and said, “Baby steps.”

            “Fair enough,” I said, but I went in for a stealth kiss, and he melted a little. 

            When I stepped back, I suddenly felt a pit in my stomach.  Anxiety and performance adrenaline had prevented me from realizing how far off my feeding schedule I was.  “Are we free to go?” I asked Dave.  “I am starving, and I am officially free from Charles’s control.  I want to eat before I pass out.”

            Dave tossed me a bag of hard-boiled eggs and a protein bar.  “Sorry, Chrissy.  Not yet.  That stunt you pulled out there has made you the belle of the ball.  If we tried to leave through the back door, they’d tear us apart.  We have to do some interviews just to get out of here alive, so I lined up eight or so.”

            “Eight or so?”

            “Fine.  Twelve.  I thought if I demanded an appearance fee for an interview, no one would want one, but twelve people paid to interview you.  All interviews capped at 15 minutes.”

            “That’s still three hours, assuming they’re all back to back to back,” I added in an irascible tone.

            “Glad to see the math skills haven’t dulled,” Dave joked.

            “There’s no way out of them?”

            “Not a gracious one, no.”

            I sighed.  “Very well.  But I’m doing this for the fashion majors who made my clothes.  At the end of this, you are buying me fries.  I haven’t had French fries in practically three months, and I am having them tonight.”

            “All of Idaho if you want,” Dave said.

            “So, Mom and Dad, I’d love to have dinner with you tonight, but I’m apparently booked for at least the next three hours.  If you want to stay and watch, that’s cool.  But I expect this will be tedious and boring.”

            Mom looked at her watch and did some quick mental math.  “How about we meet you back here in three and a half hours, and the six of us go have dinner somewhere fancy?  Our treat?”

            “As long as…” I started, but Mom interrupted.

            “I know,” she said.  “As long as it’s a fancy place that has French fries.  If I could find a vegan barbecue restaurant for your father when we went to Florida, I’m sure I can find a fancy restaurant with French fries.  I’ll triple check for you.”

            “And Dave’s paying,” I added.  “We know he’s flush.”

            “If you insist,” Mom said.  Dave glowered, but acquiesced.

            “Then I’m in if everyone else is,” I said.  Everyone nodded, so I kissed Mom and Dad goodbye, wolfed down the food, screwed a smile into my face, and had Dave escort me to the first interview.

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Chapter 62

            “Tedious” and “boring” were not the correct words.  “Asinine” and “repetitive” were.  The first eleven interviews blurred into one homogenous lump.  Every interviewer asked practically all the same questions.  It’s like there was a foreordained script.  How long have I been bodybuilding?  What are my stats?  Who’s my trainer?  Without fail, they all commented on how I was having trouble sitting comfortably in their flimsy folding chairs.  Without fail, I cracked the same joke about how I lift metal, not the other way around.  Without fail, every interviewer remarked at how witty and well-spoken I was as if they expected me to be a braindead meat-monkey. 

            From there, the questions evolved into my routine.  How long had I rehearsed?  Who was my dance coach?  No one believed me that I’d mastered the routine in three weeks and that parts of it were improvised.  From there, the questions turned to the safety pins.  What exactly happened during the wardrobe malfunction?  Why did I dare come back onstage?  At least this gave me several opportunities to name-drop the designers and apologize to them for wearing something other than what they designed for me.  I made it clear that if they had made the poser for me, it would have held.  I would emphasize this point by flexing one muscle or another to stress test the clothes.  Because of the extra mass, my bulk would threaten the clothing, but it always held.

            The first eleven interviews were also physically uncomfortable.  I was afraid of putting my full weight on the chairs; I didn’t want to break them.  I couldn’t cross my legs: my absurdly large package rendered that impossible.  And so many people kept touching me and feeling me up without my permission. 

            The only redeeming quality of the first eleven interviews was that the last question of each interview was different.  Most made reference to one of my social media posts and asked me about the events surrounding the post.  I would sigh and explain that my manager had put up all of these posts, so unless it was something memorable like the infamous soccer tweet, their guess was as good as mine.  One of the interviewers asked if the Rocky Horror viral video was my actual voice.  This was interview ten, so I was a little stir-crazy by then.  Rather than answer, I rose to my feet and sang “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha.  I don’t know why I picked that song—maybe I was punch drunk—but after I finished, the interviewer believed it was my voice in the Rocky video.

            On my way to the final interview, my parents showed up.  I told them I wasn’t finished, and Mom said, “Don’t worry, the reservation will keep.”

            “You might as well watch the last one,” I said, and they followed me to the room.

            The twelfth interview was with this petite woman who had hair that belonged in an ‘80s music video.  She was wearing a flattering suit and tie and had set up at a table with four sturdy, wooden chairs.  Her phone was on the table as a recorder between us.  She introduced herself as Dinah Talmadge and shook my hand.  I expected this interview to be exactly the same, just with a comfortable chair, but it started out entirely differently.

            “What do you have to say to the gay and queer kids listening to this interview?” she asked.

            Slightly taken aback, I was momentarily at a loss for words.  Then, it came to me.  “Love exists.  Don’t let anything get in your way of finding it.”  Dinah nodded, and before she could ask her next question, I interjected with, “I’m actually surprised you’re asking about this.”

            “Why?”

            “None of the other interviews I did today even asked about me being gay.”

            “But you came out in what has traditionally been a straight-exclusive sport.”

            “It’s not that big a deal.  I’m not the first gay bodybuilder.”

            “No, but you came out at your first show in front of a roaring crowd without a hint of fear or shame in your voice.”

            “I guess I did do that, yes.”

            “And none of the other interviewers asked about that?”

            “Not one.”

            “Even with your parents here?”

            “Nope.”

            “Would your parents like to join the interview?  I’d love to get their take on having you as a son.”

            Mom shook her head no, but Dad came over to the table.  “I don’t want to take my son’s time, but I want to say to any of queer kids listening to this that they can dream big.  My son sure did.”

            “Thanks,” Dinah said, and Dad retreated back to watch the rest of the interview.  “So, they’re supportive parents?”

            “Incredibly.  My mother’s a pediatrician, so I expected her to have a fit when I started weightlifting.  I was more scared to tell her that I was a bodybuilder than that I was gay.”

            “Really?”

            “Well, I exaggerate, but when I came out, it was a non-issue.”

            “Excellent,” Dinah said.  “You mentioned onstage that your boyfriend doesn’t like being the center of attention.  Was that code for him being in the closet?”

            I looked behind my shoulder at James.  He nodded at me, giving me permission to talk about him.

            “Is that him?” Dinah asked.

            “Yes, but…” I started, but Dinah cut me off.

            “Would you mind joining the interview?” she asked James deferentially.  “It’s audio only, if that makes a difference.”

            James tentatively sat down at the table next to me.

            “Thank you for joining us,” she said.  “Are you out of the closet?  If you’re not, I’ll be happy to use a pseudonym or alter your voice in post.”

            “No, I’m out.  My name is James.”

            “James, lovely to meet you.”

            “James has been out at school since freshman year, but he just came out to his fathers back in October.”

            “Fathers?” Dinah asked.

            So, we began telling our love story—a slightly altered, PG version.  How we met, how James pined for me for three years but I was oblivious, how he asked me out once I got into weightlifting, how I met his parents, how he’d met mine earlier that very day.

            “We’re almost out of time,” Dinah said.  “Is there anything else you’d like to tell our listeners?”

            Neither of us had anything, so James just said, “Thanks for listening.”

            Dinah turned off the recorder on her phone and stood up.  “Thanks for that, you guys.  This was powerful.”

            “We were just talking.  It wasn’t a big deal,” I said.

            “And that’s what made it powerful,” she replied as she shook my hand.  With that, she left us there.

            “That wasn’t boring at all,” Mom said.

            “You weren’t here for the first eleven.”  As soon as I finished talking, my stomach growled so loudly that it scared me a little.

            “Who’s hungry?” Dad asked.

            Thankfully, the restaurant was only a short drive away.  Squeezing myself back into a car when all I wanted to do was eat the world prolonged my torture. 

            I was immediately thankful to have the seatbelt extender—I would not have buckled otherwise.  Even the lap belt had trouble rising over the mountainous mound of my bulging package.

            The restaurant was fancier than I expected.

            “Do I need a tie?” I asked.

            Dave popped open his glove compartment and pulled out four ties.  “They’ll let you loosen it or even take it off at the table, but wear it through the front door,” he said as he tossed a black tie at me.

            I wrapped the tie around my neck, but between the thickness of my neck and my protruding pecs, it looked like I was wearing a child’s tie, especially because my collar and top button were still undone.

            The restaurant was so crowded that I didn’t believe there would be room for us, but when the maître d’ saw us, he smiled, bowed, and gestured we follow him.  “Soccer Tweet Family, party of six.”

            “You’ve got to be joking,” I said.

            “You’d be surprised the wheels that name greases,” Dad said.

            When we got to the table, there was a plate stacked high with French fries in front of one of the seats.

            “I know which seat is mine,” I said as I whipped off the tie and sat down.  Everyone else picked their seats, as I began to dig in.

            When the waiter came to take our orders, I hadn’t even looked at the menu, but I’d demolished the plate of food in front of me.  I turned to James.  “Order for me.  You know what I like.”

            “I’m surprised you still have room after all that,” Mom said.

            “With the amount Charles had me eating, I could eat ten of those before I got full,” I said.

            The dinner was pleasant.  Mom had everyone turn off their phones while we ate so we could talk and get to know each other.  There were a few tense moments when Mom asked how I afforded everything, but her fears were quickly allayed when Dave explained, with very few fibs, how everything was paid for.  I, meanwhile, was in heaven.  It was such a relief to eat without caring what it was I was eating.  I didn’t realize how much I’d missed butter.  I’d really missed butter.  It was a liberation that I used to take for granted.  I even ordered dessert.

            “Where do you put it all?” Dad asked as he watched James and me eat.

            I stood up and showed him my rounded belly.  “This will slowly deflate over the course of the night.  By bedtime, it’ll be gone.”

            “Is that what the Big Guy in-joke is all about?” Mom asked.

            I sat down and fell silent.  How could I explain Dave’s hashtag?  I didn’t want to lie to her, but I had no way of telling her the truth.

            “Actually, Angie,” James said.  “The Big Guy hashtag is a rather crude joke.”

            Mom nodded knowingly.  James had answered the question without lying.

            Dinner lasted hours.  Actually, honestly, I had such a good time that I don’t know how much time had passed.  Soon, though, I could tell my parents were flagging, so I told them it was okay if they needed to head out.

            After Dave paid the bill, my parents left to return to their hotel.  They gave me a big hug, congratulated me on a good show, and left.  The rest of us lingered over our drinks for a while longer.  When we went outside, it was dark, but it got dark early in December, so I pulled out my phone to check the time.

            “Everyone needs to turn on their phones,” I said.  “Right now.”

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Chapter 63

            “What is it, buddy?” Luke said, pulling out his phone.

            I had dozens of calls, hundreds of messages… I couldn’t process the information.

            Dave looked at Luke’s phone, then pulled out his own.

            “Yes!” he exclaimed.

            “Why so excited?” James asked, taking his phone out.

            “My phone crashed,” Dave said.

            “Why is that exciting?” James said, scrolling through his screens.

            “I’m in charge of Chrissy’s social media.  I had so many notifications that my phone just shut down.”

            I went to open my inbox, and my phone went black. “Mine just crashed too,” I said.

            “This is amazing!” Dave was as excited as he’d been after opening night of his play.

            We went back to the car—it was an even tighter squeeze now that I was weighed down with six meals’ worth of food—and drove back to campus.  We figured we’d have an easier time making sense of this in the dorm room on our laptops.  Dave was so excited that he was speeding like a maniac.

            On the drive there, Luke and James, who both still had working phones, began finding any information they could.

            “There are already nineteen tumblr sites dedicated solely to Chris,” James said.  After a moment, he added, “Twenty.”

            “The video of you dancing onstage went viral on youtube and facebook,” Luke added.

            “Why are you on Soundcloud?” James remarked, completely flummoxed.

            “I don’t know.  I’ve never recorded a song.”

            “You have two songs trending on Soundcloud,” James insisted, showing me his screen.

            It hit me.  Rocky and La Mancha.  “Who posted those?”

            Dave raised his hand.  “I got bored during the interviews.”

            “Two hands on the wheel,” I insisted.

            “You’re on Spotify too,” Luke added.

            “And that podcast you and I did is trending on three or four sites,” James added.

            “I just did a basic Google search, and, buddy, these results are fucking weird.”

            “What do you mean?” I asked Luke.

            “Well, there’s all these rumors about you.  You’re apparently taking over for Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk.  So You Think You Can Dance? has implied you’re on the next season.  You’re also supposedly being recruited for the Olympic weightlifting team.  They go on and on.”

            Dave braked suddenly.  We were back at campus.

            We got back to the dorm room right quick.  Running up the steps, I was momentarily distracted by the giant weight of my bulge ricocheting up and down as I ran, but soon enough we were up to the fourth floor.  I was the last into the room and banged into the doorframe.  I’d been in such a rush, I almost wedged myself in.  I rolled my eyes, sighed, powered my way back out, twisted, and went back into the room.

            Dave was sitting on the floor next to an outlet, desperately trying to revive his phone.  James was on my bed, impatiently powering up his laptop.  Luke was at his desk, his laptop already on.

            “You’re a bona fide celebrity,” Dave said.  He quivered with excitement.

            “But how did this happen?” I asked.  “It was just a local bodybuilding show.  There were no national stations there.  No one follows bodybuilding this ravenously.  And it was,” I did some quick counting, “only six hours ago.”

            “It’s the internet age,” Luke offered as a cold comfort.

            I was in shock.  “I still don’t understand.  How did this happen?”  I went over to my computer chair and threw myself in it heavily.  It collapsed under my weight.

            “Still don’t understand?” Luke asked.

            James had grown quiet.

            “You okay, James?” I asked.

            His face was strained.  He looked like he was trying to hold back a scream.

            “People offered a lot of money for photos of me.”

            Dave put his phone down and stared James dead in the eye.  “I swear, I never posted anything of you.  I swear it.  I took photos and videos, yes, but I never posted any of them.  And I never will.”

            “Doesn’t matter.  Spenser—one of the people who used to terrorize me in high school—heard the podcast, recognized Chris and me from the story, and spilled all about us online.  They know my name.  There are pictures of me, videos.  It’s all out there.  It’s only a matter of time before they find my phone number and email address too.”

            “I’m so sorry, James,” Dave said.

            James could barely disguise his rage.  “Half the people posting about me want photos of Chris and me kissing because they want to see the hot muscle studs together.  Some even ask if there are sex tapes.  That’s bad enough, but I could learn to live with that sort of attention.  Maybe.  It’s the other half.”  James took in a long breath to prevent himself from losing his cool.  “Fuck these guys.  The other half are saying hateful things about me.  Hateful.  It’s like high school all over again.  I can’t even read them out loud.  I can’t.  It’s just... hateful.”  His voice had a rough, growling quality to it.  I’d never seen James this close to blowing his stack.

            I got up off the ground and went over to James.  I sat down—carefully—on the bed and stroked his back.  “Please.  Stop reading those comments.”

            He clicked off the screen.  “Yes.  Right.  Sound advice.”  His words were so clipped I could tell he was still fighting back his wrath.

            Dave’s phone finally woke back up.  “Thank God,” he said and began trying to sort his way through the notifications.  As Luke and Dave waded through the chaos, James’s phone rang.

            “It’s Uncle Henry,” he said.  “I’m gonna take this in the hallway.”

            “Good idea,” I said and kissed his forehead.  “Give them my love.”

            James left the room, but I could hear him in the hallway.  His voice kept rising up almost to a shout then falling near absolutely quiet.  I followed him into the hall to make sure he was okay.

            “James?”  I said.  He wasn’t talking on the phone anymore.

            “I hung up on Uncle Henry,” James said, showing me the phone like it was a smoking gun.  “I hung up on Uncle Henry.  I never hang up on my dads.  But he kept saying how it’ll all blow over and how I have to get a thicker skin.  He didn’t get it.  So, I hung up on him.”  James looked so hurt.

            I held James close to me and felt him shake.

            “I’m sorry I did this to you.”

            James pulled back.  “You didn’t do anything.  You were gracious and kind and respectful.  I blame a lot of people, but not you.  I don’t blame you at all, Chris.  Please know that.”

            “I do, even if you don’t.”

            James and I stood there for a few moments in silence.  Then, he looked me in the eyes and asked, “Is this our life now?  Is this our forever?  People I’ve never met saying the most vile things I’ve ever read because I dared to fall in love with you before you got famous?”

            “So, I drop the famous.”

            “What?”

            “I don’t care about all of this.  Honestly, who cares about all of this?”

            “Dave.”

            “Dave cares more about his own fame than mine.  James, seriously.  If this is too much for you, it all goes away.  I choose you.  I’ll always choose you.”

            “You can’t un-famous yourself.”

            “Oh no?  You forget, I can blow up so huge that no one will mistake me for that puny little Chris who did that rinky-dink bodybuilding show.  I’ll change my hair, and get some tattoos, maybe a face tattoo, and I’ll make a career as a stripper in some small Spanish-speaking town out West where no one will ever think to look for us, and it’ll be just you and just me again.”

            The absurdity of it all made James smile.  It was a small smile, but it was a smile.

            “Thanks for that.”

            “Hey, no sweat.  So, what do you say?  Do I need to learn Spanish?”

            James held up his phone.  “I’m gonna call Uncle Henry back.  I’ll get back to you about moving out West.”

            I nodded and left James in the hallway.

            When I went back into the room, I found Luke sitting on his bed staring at Dave.  Dave, in a pile of electronics on the floor, was manically darting between two screens.  When he saw me, he shouted.  “Chrissy!  Great.  Is James feeling better?”

            “Getting there.”

            “Good.”  He waited as long as he possibly could, then asked, “You want an update?”

            I sighed and shrugged.  “Sure.”

            Dave practically slavered.  “Your Instagram account has gained over 200,000 followers in the last six hours, and the number keeps climbing.  There are dozens of job offers here, all legitimate, all begging to pay.  And I’ve gotten at least 15 different offers from professional managers, scouts, and agents.  If today’s proven anything, it’s that you need more than me as a manager.  You probably need a whole team.”

            I couldn’t process everything that was happening.  I felt terrible about what I had done to James.  “I just want to go to bed, wake up early tomorrow, and go back to my normal life.”

            “Fat chance of that,” Luke said.  “There’s no putting this genie back in the bottle.”

            James came back into the room, looking more like himself.

            I started to ask him how he was, but he interrupted me.

            “We’ll finish that conversation later.  My dads are proud of you,” he said.  He then handed me his phone.  “Call your parents.  If they don’t already know, warn them.  If they do already know, they’re probably trying to get through to your phone.”  He pointed to my phone, which lay lifeless on my desk.

            “That’s right!” Dave said, and he raced over to grab my phone, hoping to reawaken it as well.

            I took James’s phone and called my parents.  They were well aware of the media storm.  Mom only had one question for me, “You’re not letting this get in the way of your finals, are you?”

            “Thank you, Mom.” I said.  “I needed that.”

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Chapter 64

            I woke up the next morning, and the previous day felt like a dream.  Once my eyes focused in the light, though, I saw Dave asleep on the floor in an unnatural position.  His legs were crossed, and he was face down over his knee, slumped to the side next to our phones.  He was twitching and murmuring in his sleep.  It had all been real.

            Afraid to wake Dave, I woke Luke, who was on top of his covers in his bed wearing only boxer shorts.  His tattoo peeked from above the waistband.  “Did you know your Dave was asleep on the floor?”

            Luke stretched and answered me through a yawn.  “Good.  That means he finally got some sleep.  I couldn’t tear him away from the phones last night.”  Luke sat up and looked around.  “Where’s James?”

            I looked in my bed; James was gone.  My heart stopped.

            I tried to play it off coolly, but I’m sure Luke could hear the panic in my voice.  “I guess he went to sleep in his own bed.  I turned in before everyone else last night.”

            “No, he was here when I went to bed.”

            As soon as Luke said that, the door opened and James came in with a tray of four coffees and a large paper bag of breakfast.  “Oh good, you two are up.”

            I practically charged into James.  He had just enough time to lift the coffee over his head so it didn’t spill.

            “Good morning to you too.”

            I let go of James and took a step back.  “I thought you’d left.”

            “Things look much less dire after sleeping last night.  On top of that, before I went to sleep, I gave Dave a chore that I think will allow me to cope with your meteoric success.  It was Dad’s idea.”  Still holding the paper bag, James gestured to Dave.  “I don’t care which of you does it, but I am not waking Dave.”

            “I’ll do it,” Luke said, slipping out of bed.  He bent down and kissed Dave on the cheek.  “Hey, babe.  It’s morning.”  A few more kisses, and Dave stirred to life, grunting.  Luke turned to James.  “Coffee?”  James handed him the cup, and he held it in front of Dave.

            “Good morning,” Dave said, disoriented and groggy.  He sat up and grabbed the coffee.  “Why am I on the floor?”  He reached to his lower back and rubbed it while he took a deep drink of coffee.

            “You must have passed out while looking through all the messages,” Luke said.

            “Messages?” Dave squinted.  He wasn’t fully Dave yet.  “Messages!” he repeated.  His eyes shot wide, and in an instant, he was fully alert.  “Chrissy, I got you hooked up.  I got you a business manager and an accountant to take care of all your finances.  Believe it or not, you’ve already made a boatload of money.  For the show biz side of things, I got you a manager, a social media manager, a PR guy, and an assistant.  I programmed all of their info into your phone and labeled them by what job they do for you.”

            I joined Dave on the floor.  “Thanks, but I want to…”

            “Protect James,” Dave interrupted.  “He told me last night.  I got him his own PR guy who will handle the more pernicious side of social media for him and allow James to have as much control as possible over his online presence.”

            “That’s wonderful!”  I was genuinely happy.  “But I still need to…”

            “Finish your finals,” Dave interrupted.  “I know.  I told them that your education was your number one priority.  So, your team won’t start the full-court press until January at the earliest.”

            “But I have a…” I started.

            “Whole semester left,” Dave interrupted.  “I looked into that last night too, Chrissy.  You’re either a liar or an over-achiever.  You only need two more courses to graduate, and they can both be done online.”

            “But I…”

            “I know how much that diploma matters to you.  I 100% guarantee you, you will get it one way or another.  Your PR guy actually loved this news.  He wants to pitch you as wholesome.”

            “Wholesome?  Me?”

            “I know, right?  Wholesome gay muscle freak with monster cock.  Odd pitch.  But, he’s the best in the biz, so I trust him.”

            “This all assumes I’m going into showbiz.”

            Dave groaned.  “If you need to keep telling yourself that lie.  At the very least, you’ll need the team for a few weeks or months to de-escalate your presence.  Celebrities can’t be Greta Garbo anymore.”

            “What about…” James started.

            “They know you’re off the table,” Dave answered.  “I made sure, especially, the social media manager knew that.  No public appearances or mentions of you without your say-so.” 

            I turned to look up at James.  “Are you sure you’re okay with this?  Last night...”  I trailed off.

            “Last night was everything all at once.  I know we still have a lot of details to work out, but the broad strokes feel manageable.”

            “Everyone’s going to be on me all the time,” I reminded him.

            “You forget,” James said, “I like it when people want you.  It makes me feel special.  I just have to learn to protect myself, and that’s something we can figure out together as we move forward.”

            “Okay,” I said.  We sealed the agreement with a kiss.

            Dave stood up and stretched.  “Well?  What are we waiting for?  Chrissy has finals to pass!”

            “Why such a whirlwind?” I asked.

            “It’s the 13th.  I’m leaving for LA on Sunday.  I want to be as helpful as I can before I go.”

            “Three days?” I said, startled.  “You want me to get through four finals in three days when I haven’t even begun studying for one?”

            Luke jumped in.  “While Dave was handling the showbiz stuff, I talked to your professors.  I scheduled all your finals for Saturday.  They’ll even grade them right then and there for you.  I tried to make it Sunday, but they refused to come to campus on Sunday.”

            “So, I’m marathoning four finals the day after tomorrow?”

            “Yes,” Luke said.  “But no sweat.  You’ve kept up with your work all semester.  Somehow.  And no one’s saying you need straight As or anything.  You just need to do good enough.  And I know you.  You’ll do good enough even if you don’t study.”

            “Good enough isn’t good enough,” I said.

            “I’m with Chrissy,” Dave said.  “If he has to be wholesome, the higher the GPA, the better.”  Dave turned to look at me.  “What’s your current GPA?”

            “4.0,” I said honestly.

            “Seriously?” Luke asked.

            “Yes,” I affirmed.  “I was salutatorian of our graduating class, Luke!”

            “Yeah, I remember you telling me that.  But I still don’t know what that word means.”

            “It means I chose the right chemistry partner,” Dave said.  “So, I see why this is important to you.”

            I collapsed onto my bed, and the springs groaned.

            “This is just a matter of motivation,” James said.  “You’re smart enough, you’ve gone over the material, you just need a little extra push to get through it.”

            “Motivation sounds like your department,” Dave said to James.  “Sex is highly motivating,” Dave suggested.

            James ignored Dave.  “What grade do you need on each final to get an A in the class?  C?  B?”

            I thought about it.  “In my calc class, I just need to take the damn thing.  I’d need a negative score to get a final grade of B in that class.  In biochem and chem, I probably only need a C.  But for seminar, I need to get a B.  A strong B.  An A to be safe.”

            “Okay,” James said.  “So, for every C on a final, five pounds.  For every B, ten pounds.  For every A, fifteen.”

            My cock stirred.

            “Oh, you clever little fox,” Dave said.  “That’s brilliant.  What made you think of it?”

            James looked at Dave.  “My first year of high school, my grades took a hit because of all the bullying.  To get me interested in school again, my dads gave me money for good grades on my report card. They basically bribed me into caring about school again.”

            “Did it work?” Luke asked.

            “It worked so well that they only did it freshman year.”

            “What do you say, Chrissy?” Dave asked.

            “Think of it, Chris,” James said.  “If you ace all your finals, that’s 60 pounds.”

            “It’s not a Spanish strip club and a face tattoo,” I said.

            “Is that a yes?” Dave asked.

            “It’s a yes,” I answered.  My cock, still only half-hard, strained my pants.  “I’m going to need new clothes.”

            “That reminds me,” Dave said.  “One of the numbers I programmed into your phone is the designer you talked up during your press junket.  He promised you another closetful of clothes for all the publicity, and if you play your cards right, this might be an in-perpetuity sort of arrangement.”

            “Okay,” I said, getting up.  “I’m in.”  I turned to Dave, adding, “You’re not worried the showbiz team you cooked up will drop me if I hulk out?”

            “The guy they want to work with because he’s freakishly muscular got more freakishly muscular.  Perish the thought,” Dave said.

            “You’re not worried about anyone noticing you gaining sixty points in a weekend?” Luke asked.

            “What, am I going to become more famous?”

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For someone who was not keen in growing up past 300 pounds he certainly learned to love it now. He will be a beast

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Something I’d love to read would be a chapter on Chris growing taller. I might have missed it, but it seems like he’s been 5’11” for the whole story, and it would be awesome for him to tower over James and hopefully Victor. Additionally he might soon have to get taller just so his cock doesn’t drag on the ground and he has enough flexibility for yoga and dance.

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