The boarder

by Mikeytron

 Atticus’s family has decided to rent the spare bedroom in their house. The new boarder turns out to be the sexiest hunk Atticus has ever seen. His life is about to change in a big way. A slow-boil coming-of-age muscle-growth romance set in the My Best Friend’s Muscles universe.

Added: Feb 2023 Updated: 25 Mar 2023 20,903 words 12,399 views 5.0 stars (48 votes)


I didn’t even know my parents were going to let my older sister’s empty bedroom. They told me the same late summer morning the new boarder was due to arrive, like they were telling me a package was going to be delivered, keep your ears open for the doorbell. That was typical of them. They were an odd blend of absent yet overbearing. That made my teen years in the closet a minefield to navigate, let me tell you. I’d think they didn’t care, that they’re not taking notice of what I do, the movies and TV I watch, the music I listen to, the clothes I wear. But then, without warning, they’d decide the video game I’d been playing is a bad influence, or Satanic, or whatever, oh and by the way you’re getting a haircut this weekend, mister, it’s getting too long, you’re starting to look like a girl. This hot and cold style of parenting meant, by age 19, I’d learned never to relax, to guard myself at all times. Never, ever trust anyone or anything that seems safe.

Anyway. My sister’s bedroom had sat empty for two years now, since she escaped to attend college several states away. I think our family bucked the trend of most evangelicals, who lock down their daughters hard but look the other way a little bit for their sons. Boys will be boys, but girls will be sluts and whores, that kind of thing– but that wasn’t our parents. Lucky for her, less lucky for me, I guess. I was the boy, the scion of the family line, and so it mattered more that I grew up proper. She could go off to a liberal arts school and study psychology. I was expected to stick close to home, choose a parent-approved career, walk a narrow path through life.

I graduated high school three months ago, and should have been starting college any day now, but I asked to work for a year first, to save money for tuition and get some experience, and that was deemed acceptable. I had vague notions of saving up money until I had enough to just… disappear without warning, some day. But, deep down, I knew myself better than that. I didn’t have the guts to cut and run. My family had their loving talons deep in me. I wasn’t going anywhere.

Anyway. I was telling you about the boarder.

“Why are we renting out Emily’s room? Are we having money trouble?”

Mom smiled at me as if my question was cute. “No, Ty honey, this is a favour for an old friend. You remember our trip to the west coast, right?”

Geez, mom, that was eleven years ago, I was a kid back then. “Of course,” I half-lied. I remembered bits of it. The redwood trees, mostly. They were too impressive to forget. Some early and unexpected stirring of my later obsession with size and growth, I guess. I didn’t find the redwoods hot, I’m not like a tree-fucker or whatever, but something about them did strike me deep. Although I’d be lying if I said I’d never fantasized about an erection the size of a redwood tree… veiny, thick as a house, straining for the sky, pulsing bigger and bigger… Ahem. I’m off-track again.

“We’re taking in my friend Barbara’s son Evan. You remember, you met him when we ducked into San Jose to visit? He’s starting at the college next week, and he’ll be staying here with us while he attends class. Save his family some money. Not that Barb needs it. You remember their house, right?”

Vague memories of another boy, about my age, chubby, awkward, focusing on his video game while our mothers gabbed in the kitchen upstairs. Us in the basement, light dim, air just slightly stale, his mouth hanging open as he played, blue light reflecting on his glasses, me sitting on the couch behind him, wondering if I’d get a turn, wondering if it would be rude for me to get up and go pee or if I had to ask first or something. We probably spoke about fifteen words to each other in the two hours we spent down there.

“Yeah, sure I remember him.” In a weird way, this set me at ease. Evan was a social non-entity. I wasn’t cool, I wasn’t sexy, I didn’t really matter much, but at least I was a couple of rungs up the ladder from an utter loser like him. He’d probably isolate himself in my sister’s bedroom most of the time. I was afraid a boarder would upset the equilibrium of my life. Evan, though? He’d be easy to ignore. Almost no different than an empty room.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Evan’s beat-up old Toyota Corolla was in hard shape; I could hear it rattle as it pulled into our driveway. I popped up out of my chair and stepped outside just in time to hear the ignition cut and see a dark-haired young man hop out.

My breath caught and my blood rushed south. He was… stunning.

Thick biceps with prominent cephalic veins popped out of the short sleeves of his tight black t-shirt. His shoulders were almost awkwardly wide, with rounded deltoids. His handsome, chiselled face was supported on a thick column of neck. His jeans hugged his muscled thighs, and as he turned to open the trunk and pull out his bags, I was treated to a round, bulging muscle-butt that tested the seams of the denim.

I was rock-hard in a second. This guy was a hunk. Was this Evan? Dorky, fat, asthmatic Evan?!

“Evan!” my mother called, dance-running out into the driveway in that way some flamboyant older women have. “You made it! I was praying for you on those roads, honey,” she said, throwing her arms around his broad torso, nestling her head on the thick pillow of his pecs. His strong chin slightly dented the blonde hair on her head, and he grinned over her at me, wide mouth curving, eyes bright. Fuck. He looked like trouble.

I swallowed, hard. My mouth was dry.

“Thanks, Mrs. Williams,” he said. Fuck me, even his voice was too much, deep but warm. What happened to the mouth-breather in the basement ten years ago? Did he get to go through puberty two or three times, unlike us mortals who only get one crack at it? The 19-year-old standing in our driveway simply oozed testosterone.

Eventually my mother released him. She looked a little flushed, taking a moment to smooth out her clothes. Ha. “Hey, Atticus, good to see you again,” he said, stepping forward, offering me a hand to shake. Lord, my palm must be slimy with sweat, but what could I do? I took it.

“Hi Evan,” I managed, my voice sounding croaky and wrong in my own ears.

“Let me show you upstairs to your room,” my mother sang, waltzing into the house. Evan followed. I stayed outside, rooted to the spot, my dick so hard it hurt, watching his big muscle butt flex and bounce with each step he took as he walked away from me, into the house.

I don’t know how I made it through the rest of the day. Evan spent a lot of time in Emily’s old room, unpacking, although I noted he hadn’t brought very much, a single medium-sized suitcase. When I peeked through the open door later, when he wasn’t around, the room looked almost the same, like a teen girl’s bedroom. Already the scent of him was starting to sink into the space, though. Standing in the open doorway, I inhaled deep. God damn.

I was mostly ignored during dinner, which suited me fine. Mom and Dad quizzed Evan, who seemed more than happy to talk. He was confident, had an easy manner, was good at telling little stories. He was studying Sports Medicine. He’d taken a year off after high school to backpack in Europe. He told a couple of stories about a hostel in Barcelona. My parents hung on his every word. My mother refilled his plate without even asking him. Boy, he could pack away the food.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this was how they wished their son would be– strong, masculine, athletic, confident, likeable… all the things I wasn’t.

Whatever. If Evan took some of their scrutiny off me, that was all the better. I guess.

It wasn’t long after dinner was finished when Evan was yawning. My eyes nearly fell out of my head, seeing the thick cords of his neck bulge as his jaw strained open, the ropes of his bicep bunching and swelling and flexing as he tried to stifle the big, full-body paroxysm. I quickly regained control of myself, stopped staring, looked at the microwave clock, the notes pinned to the fridge with magnets, etc., etc., etc.

“Oh, my dear, we’re keeping you up with our gabbing, after you’ve been driving all day! Why don’t you treat yourself to a nice bath and then relax in your room a little bit? There’ll be plenty of time to get to know you better once you settle in.”

Evan made some token resistance to this suggestion, but really, I could tell the big man– big man? he’s 19!– was exhausted. He excused himself, pushing back from the table. Even with multiple servings of a big home-cooked meal in his belly, his waist was eye-poppingly narrow, making an extreme contrast with his ultra-wide shoulders and pecs and his big muscle butt and thick thighs. I could practically hear his jeans creak with the strain as he stood and began climbing the stairs, the weight of him audibly compressing the old wood with each step. Our entire house seemed barely able to contain him.

I waited an appropriate amount of time and then headed upstairs myself. I could hear the water running in the bathtub. I looked at the closed bathroom door, imagined Evan taking off his clothes on the other side… no, too much. I hurried into my bedroom, yanking down my pants even as the bedroom door closed behind me, my hard cock weeping after the afternoon of erotic frustration it had endured.

It took me less than a minute before I was spewing all over my hand and my skinnyfat belly.

Holy fuck. I wasn’t going to last to Thanksgiving, at this rate. Fuck, I’d be reduced to a gibbering puddle before Halloween. How am I going to cope with this?

I intended to play some video games to take my mind off of it, but I must have dozed off pretty much right away. I woke up hours later, still in my clothes but with my cock and balls still out, crusty with dried cum, my mouth dry, my head aching just a little.

Fuck. I looked at my phone. It was a little after 1 in the morning. Groaning, I began to get up, intending to take a quick shower, brush my teeth, and climb into bed properly.

Then I froze. I was hearing something. A distinct rhythmic sound. I closed my eyes and listened closer.

A gentle thud-thud-thud. A quiet schlick-schlick-schlick. Quick halting little breaths. Stifled little moans. From the other side of the wall my bed was pushed against. Inches away from my head

Years of cohabitating with my older sister, having her complain about my loud video games, me complaining about her blasting her music. The walls between our rooms were paper thin. Mom and Dad refused to pick a side– just learn to live with it, they said. Buy some headphones. Try to limit the amount of noise you make. Because whatever happens in one room, you can hear clear as day in the other.

Obviously no one had told Evan about that.

And here he was, jacking himself off. I imagined his strong hands running up his cobbled abs. (I hadn’t seen him shirtless, but I had no doubt that’s what was hiding under that tight black t-shirt.) Tweaking his nipples as he flexed his hard bulging chest. His hips bucking, that thick bubble butt flexing, as he…

Fuck,” a warm, deep male voice whispered on the other side of the wall. He made a tiny wordless whimper, and the rhythmic sounds stopped. He stopped breathing for a few seconds. Then he started breathing again, panting, sounding relieved, the race over. Evan victorious.

I lay on my bed, just a couple feet and one thin wall away from this.

Day One, I thought to myself. Just another eight or nine months of this. I couldn’t tell if I was anxious about how I’d last that long, or if I was unhappy that it wasn’t longer.

My sister’s old bedroom may not have changed much, but the kitchen sure did. Evan ate heaping platefuls of my mother’s cooking for every supper, but other meals he took care of himself. Oatmeal, eggs, and ground turkey in the morning. Multiple Tupperware containers of chicken, rice, and broccoli in his gym bag as he left for class, returning empty in the late afternoon or early evening. Giant tubs of protein powder crowding up the counter by the toaster and the blender, with smaller canisters of preworkout and a small collection of shaker cups like orbiting moons.

It wasn’t hard to tell a bodybuilder lived here, now.

And as the weeks went by, Evan’s stunning musculature showed the results of this dedication. He seemed subtly bigger by the week. I expected my parents would be oblivious—although the way my mother sometimes looked at him, maybe not?—but how could I fail to notice his big arms getting ever so slightly bigger, his big ass sticking out just a tiny bit more, his wide shoulders just a fraction of an inch closer to wedging him in the doorframe every time he entered or exited a room?

I was right about one thing, though: Evan did spend most of his time in Emily’s room. His room now, I guess. Or rather, he spent most of the day at school, and then, after the evening meal, he retired to his room to study. How often I looked at the closed bedroom door and speculated about the massive hunk on the other side.

If he’d made any friends since moving here, there were no signs of it, nor did he seem to feel the lack. He was charismatic, even chatty, during those evening meals, his pecs dancing and bouncing, his biceps stretching and bulging as he gesticulated while telling stories to my rapt parents. But he didn’t relax with the family beyond that, either—he kept his distance.

The only other time he was at home and not in his room was during meal prep, but not even my obnoxious mother could summon the will to interrupt him during that operation. Our suburban kitchen became industrial, dozens of chicken breasts and cups and cups of rice being processed into carefully proportioned containers, stacked in the fridge and ready to go. And he did this frequently—one moment, there was barely space to store all the meals, then, just a couple of days later, they’d all be gone and he’d be repeating the process, brow furrowed as he scrutinized the food scale, the measuring cup. We knew not to get in his way.

As for me? Evan and I barely exchanged more than occasional rote greetings. If he remembered me from the basement ten years ago, he gave no sign of it. Figures. He’d been pretty forgettable himself, back then. Sure, now memories of him were branded on the brain, marking everyone who saw him as his personal erotic possession for the rest of their natural life—but back then? Back then he had been nothing. And I had been nothing, too. Two nothings, awkwardly existing in the same basement room while their mothers gabbed and gabbed in the kitchen upstairs.

And one of them had turned into… this… this… unthinkable hunk, this walking wet dream of outlandish masculinity.

And the other one had turned into, well… me.

Evan never clued in to how thin the walls were. I certainly wasn’t going to tell him, and I already had quiet habits from living next door to Emily most of my life, so he never heard me and deduced the thinness of the walls, either.

As you’d expect from someone so obviously brimming with hormones, Evan didn’t just study when he was alone in his room. I grew very accustomed to the rhythm of his stroking and his hip-thrusts, the halting little breaths, the muttered words and phrases he commonly used—nothing notable, your standard fuck yeah, fuuuck, god, and various wordless whimpers and sighs.

What else could I do? I started to join in. Lying awake in bed, hearing this beef heap next door jerking himself off, why not? I’d try to time my strokes alongside his. My mind’s eye was consumed with imagining the private scene next door. Was he flexing, feeling his pecs and delts with his free hand? Did he play with his ass, his finger struggling to get past the meat of his massive glutes to tease his twitching hole? Did he tweak his nips? Was he looking at porn, or reading stories? Did he rely on his own imagination? A mirror? I’d use a mirror, if I were him. Fuck.

I liked to try and cum at the same time as him. It was tough, a moving target, but I got pretty close a few times.

And of course, he never had a clue about it. I’d had a big sister next door until I was 17. I knew how to be quiet as a library in a church when I jacked off.

I couldn’t tell if this one-way mutual masturbation made my situation more bearable, but once I’d formed the habit I had no way to break it. It was just too hot to have this secret intimate relationship with such a hunk. I was trapped in the gravity of this erotic black hole.

And Evan just kept getting bigger and hotter as the weeks went by, and the trap closed tighter and tighter around me.

I worked at the Starbucks in the nearby shopping complex. Usually I walked to work. It was a bit of a hike to get there, but I appreciated the time to clear my mind, the time free from any social expectation. My life was truly my own during those unlovely walks to and from work, along the never-used sidewalk bordering a hectic hyper-capitalist stroad. I was saving as much money as I could, supposedly to help pay for school starting next fall, but during those walks I’d imagine doing wild things with the money, instead. Changing my name and moving across the country without telling anyone, for instance.

I just wanted to run away. I dreamed of starting a new life. And I often continued those dreams while at work, which could get me in trouble—Starbucks was fast-paced, and you had to pay attention.

I was daydreaming about running away with my savings to become a ranch hand in Montana, on a gay cattle ranch which almost certainly doesn’t exist, when it happened. My coworkers’ hushed giggly reactions broke me out of my inner fantasy into real life, which resembled a fantasy of another kind.

Evan was standing in the Starbucks lineup. He wore a tanktop and sweatshorts, damp with just the right amount of sweat to cling between both his cleavages, pec and butt, as if he’d just finished a workout. His bare delts bulged to both sides, almost freaky-big, two fleshy cantaloupes. His skin was so clear, so clean. He looked warm and smooth to the touch. He was so handsome, clear-eyed, clean-shaven, staring straight ahead. Head erect, nose and jaw proud without being overbearing. Honestly, Evan was movie-star handsome even without the muscles, Henry Cavill but younger. But the muscles! His thighs bulging and shifting shape as he shuffled forward with the line, straining the cotton of his short-shorts. Nice healthy unsubtle dickprint.

Holy shit. I was going to cum in my pants just watching him.

But some corner of my brain wasn’t fully overwhelmed with the eroticism of it all, and it started piping up with objections and observations.

Hey, it’s 11 a.m. on a Tuesday in October. Isn’t Evan supposed to be at college right now? And isn’t the college campus on the other side of town? He looks like he just finished lifting. He supposedly lifts at the campus gym. Why is he at the Starbucks near our house?

Then he saw me, and the most unexpected thing happened.

He gave a start, turned a little pale, and began to look… well… nervous. He fidgeted. His gaze was no longer calm, confident, direct—now it darted around the shop.

I let the girls take his order—I was on drink prep, not a register, at the moment, anyway, and besides, they were like a school of piranha eager to rip him apart like a bloody chunk. But the whole time he was ordering, I heard it. The slightest quaver in his voice, deep but not as deep as usual. It was like he had caught himself, and was now projecting a false aura of confidence. I could see through it.

I prepared drinks as he stood there waiting. I could practically hear him sweating. Despite his bulging muscles, Evan was nervous. What had him so rattled?

“Nathan?” I called out, placing the drink on the bar. Evan stepped forward and took the drink without looking at me, then made a bee-line for the exit.


Lots of people have nom-de-starbucks, and usually I don’t think anything of it, but this time… it pricked at my mind. I had seen something I wasn’t supposed to see. I had stumbled on something, here. I watched Evan as best I could, while continuing to make drinks. He climbed into his dirty, old, on its-last-legs Toyota and drove off quick as he could.

It’s like I caught him playing hooky? But he’s in college, if he wants to skip class he’s allowed. Why would he be so nervous about being seen by me? Why would he give a fake name? And… hey… wait … Another realization dawned on me as Evan’s junky old car left the lot. I thought Mom said his family was loaded. I tried hard to remember what Evan’s family home had been like when we visited ten years ago, but all I could remember was the basement, which had just been… a basement? He had a then-current game console, but that doesn’t make a family rich. Why does he even drive that shitty old car, anyway, if he’s a rich kid? That old wreck of his is old enough to be worrying about finding a prom date.

Nothing was said about it at dinner that evening, and he was his usual friendly, charming self. He told stories about his anatomy professor, who was a real goof. He shared a few of the professor’s dad jokes (“what do you call it when a skeleton’s having a good time? An osteoblast!”).

It was like the scene in the Starbucks never happened. But it had, and it meant something—I just couldn’t tell what, yet. Was Evan a fraud? Was he even really… Evan?

A couple of days later, I asked my mom, as casually as I could, if Evan’s family was really all that wealthy, while he was away at class—supposedly. “He doesn’t seem like a spoiled rich kid at all,” I said, hoping to butter her up with some compliments about her new favourite.

“Oh, they’re loaded,” mom said conspiratorially. “His dad is an executive on some silicon valley thing. MySquare or whatever. You remember their house, right?”

I decided to go for it. “Yeah, sure, total McMansion,” I lied blatantly. “So why does he drive such a beat up old car?”

My mother shrugged. “Like you said yourself, Evan doesn’t seem like a rich kid at all, does he? The answer is obvious. His parents don’t want to spoil him, so they make him earn his way as best he can. I bet he paid for that car himself. Other kids like him don’t have a care in the world, crashing the sports cars they get for birthday presents or whatever, then daddy just buys them a new one anyway. Who wants a son like that? It’s admirable, if you ask me—you can tell what a great job Barb did raising him, making sure all that money didn’t go to Evan’s head!”

She probably went on after that, but I stopped listening. I mean, maybe she’s right.


I never saw Evan at my Starbucks again. It’s like he learned, that day, that it wasn’t a safe place to go. Like he knew if he went there again he’d have to face me, and, for whatever reason, that… well, that seemed to scare him.

My sister came home for Thanksgiving, but Evan had no plans to leave for the weekend, either. This raised a momentary concern when making plans, but Emily was quick to resolve it. “I’m just there for one night, I’ll stay at Andrea’s house,” she said, referring to her high school best friend.

Emily was both like and unlike me. She had an assertiveness and a confidence I lacked. She’d flown the coop at the first opportunity and never looked back. She did what she wanted, and if she didn’t want hassle from Mom and Dad she just didn’t tell them.

While Mom and Dad accepted Evan easily, happily, I could tell Emily was testing him, smelling him out, trying to figure out what his deal was. I was so glad to see that. It made me feel less crazy that my closest ally was instinctively on my side, without me even having to prep her.

Evan wore an autumnal sweater that was fit to burst around his big heavy pecs, that visibly constricted the amount he could bend his elbow every time he reached to pass some dish or another. I could hear the chair under him shift and complain under his weight. I had no idea how much he must weigh—he was taller than me, maybe six feet, and gee, maybe 250? It was hard to say. Not like I could ask him. His arms were definitely over 20” around, maybe 21” or 22”. Remember, this guy is just fucking 19 years old. He ate an eye-popping mountain over food. I almost thought mom needed to buy a second turkey—there was practically none left over, unlike other years. I was rock hard watching this muscle glutton gorge himself past human limits.

After the meal, Emily and I headed into the backyard for some private sibling talk. We settled into the two swings, swaying and twisting and dangling as we caught up.

“I almost expected a meathead like him would have replaced my vanity with a squat rack, but he’s left my room almost untouched,” Emily said quietly. “That’s nice of him.”

“Mom’s got a crush.”

“You think? She follows him around like he’s a fresh pie and she’s an old time cartoon character floating along the scent trail. I’m surprised Dad hasn’t gotten jealous, but if anything he seems happy about it. I dunno, man. Our parents are kind of fucked up.”

I quickly shook my head at Emily’s sheer audacity. She didn’t pull punches.

But Emily continued. “Also, Mom’s not the only one with a crush.” She really didn’t pull punches.

I felt my face grow red hot as I tried to stammer a denial. “Shut up, little brother. I can read you like a book. You look at him like a starving man outside an all-you-can-eat buffet.” She smiled fondly, then paused and grew serious. “Be careful, Ty. You don’t need me to tell you Mom and Dad only seem clueless.”

I had a quick flashback to two years ago.

I was 16, Emily was 18, and she had just stunned me by telling me I was gay. Right out of the blue. We were sitting on these same swings on a summer night, after Mom and Dad had gone to bed. Emily was leaving for University in just a couple of weeks.

I tried to deny it, my voice catching in my throat, my heart rate doubling in a second. I tried to convince her she’d made a mistake. I wasn’t gay, I was just quiet, sensitive, artistic, a late bloomer. But she was confident. She didn’t ask. She already knew.

“You’re gay, Ty. I know it. I’ve known it since you were 12. You can lie to the rest of the world. In fact, you might have to, for now, to stay safe. But I love you, little brother. Just as you are. Your big sis loves you, and she’s always gonna protect you, okay? Even when she’s far away. Always.” And then she hugged me as my denials turned into tears, and kept holding me until I’d calmed down, and then kissed my forehead and took me to the 24-hour McDonalds.

Emily was like that.

My mind came back to the now, the same backyard, the fall scene, my sister on the swing next to me, the two of us dangling lazily, discussing the walking wet dream who had invaded our home.

“I don’t trust him, but… I don’t think he means us any harm, Ty,” Emily said softly. “You know Mom and Dad will go ballistic if they find out you’ve got the hots for him, and that probably would mean bad news for you and Evan both, so… try to keep your eyes in your head and your tongue off the ground. Maximum one awoogah noise per week, okay? But…” she smiled fondly. “Don’t count Evan out, either. Try to get to know him. Maybe he likes you back.”

I scoffed. “Impossible. Have you seen him? Have you seen me?”

“Yah,” Emily said, looking me directly in the eye. She never spun bullshit. “Yah, Ty, I have. I’ve seen you my whole life.”

And then she hopped off her swing and headed back into the house.

Thanksgiving night. Emily had left for Andrea’s house. Mom and Dad were in the living room, sipping scotch and watching bad TV. I was on the couch with them, bored. Evan was upstairs, studying.

Logey and still too-full from dinner, I rose from the couch when the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory ended, just so my departure wouldn’t seem abrupt or raise comment, and bid my parents good night.

I went upstairs. I stood in the hall outside my room. I looked at the closed door to Emily’s room. Evan’s room. The simple white rectangle. I looked at it for a few seconds, and I couldn’t have even told you what I was thinking while I did.

Then I went into my room and started getting ready for bed.

I heard Evan through the wall again, and the corner of my mouth quirked into a grin. I hadn’t had a release all day. Sure, a quick jack off session would hit the spot, help me sleep.

I pulled off my pants and eased myself carefully onto the bed, so he wouldn’t hear the springs squeak and shift through the wall.

Like Pavlov’s dog, my dick was already hard, but I had only given it a couple of strokes when I realized something was off.

The rhythm wasn’t right. The breathing was different.

It took me a second to understand what was happening.

Evan wasn’t jacking off in the other room.

He was crying.

I let go of my dick and lay still. Stared at the ceiling. Listened to the big man whimper, his half-stifled sobs, private sounds he thought no one could hear.

I felt like I was violating his privacy so much more than I did all those other times. Masturbation wasn’t serious. This… this meant something a lot more. Why was he crying? What had happened? I could never ask him without revealing… way too much. It was impossible to imagine. This big hulking muscle beast of a man, shoulders shaking, nose snotty, eyes red… Unthinkable. Yet the longer I listened, the more certain I was.

It took him a little while to cry himself out. I didn’t move the entire time. I lay there, still as a statue, my thoughts too fast for me to discern them.

I don’t remember when I fell asleep, but the next morning Evan was already in the kitchen when I went down, making his eggs and oatmeal. He greeted me cheerfully and he looked exactly the same as he always did, just a tiny bit bigger than the day before.

I watched him pack his bag with his stack of bodybuilder meals, his gym clothes and lifting shoes, his laptop and his notebooks. His melon-sized biceps flexing and bulging as he worked. He stood, shoulder strap over one enormous shoulder. He turned, his thighs and ass almost bursting out of his pants. He walked to the door, swinging each leg wide around the other, a slow awkward waddle. And he left, so wide in the doorway he subconsciously angled himself to one side a little as he went.

It was the first of December. I woke up from a nap, my dream quickly fading. Surreal snippets of images, slipping away like sand between fingertips even as I tried to recall them. Whatever the dream had been, it got my dick hard, and I was still throbbing even as I groggily became aware of my real surroundings. I smacked my dry mouth. Fuck, what time was it, even? How long had I been asleep? I got to my feet, still woozy, and stepped outside my bedroom.

At the same moment, Evan stepped out of the bathroom. I stopped in my tracks, my mouth hanging open. I might have made a noise, like “guh” or something.

He was wearing a towel. He was only wearing a towel. My still-not-awake brain noticed details almost at random, mixing the extremely erotic with the mundane. Little droplets of water beaded on his hairless lightly-tanned skin. He looked somehow both soft and hard, his skin like satin but his muscles like concrete. White towel, fuzzy terry cloth, tied to emphasize the narrowness of his waist. Two prominent cum-gutters. Wisps of steam cradled his body as it filled the doorframe. He had been in the shower. His hair wet, spiky, black. I’d never seen him shirtless. Heavy hanging pecs that jumped and twitched with every micromovement, topped by small, almost dainty little nipples. Faint squiggles of veins spanning his implausibly wide delts even as they were relaxed—made prominent by the hot water, perhaps. Even at rest, his abdomen was a defined six pack that flexed and bowed gently in and out with his breathing. Somehow the thick fuzzy towel only emphasized his big shelf of an ass projecting out from his narrow waist. The towel only made me wonder about the fresh soft cock underneath, probably smelling lightly of soap from the shower… For some reason I found myself considering how warm and tight his freshly washed asshole probably was… Made me wonder how it would feel to gently prise his mega glutes apart with my fingers… I realized I had just been… standing there, for way too long. Staring. Full mast. Tent pole pointing at Evan like a fucking compass magnet.

“Atticus,” he said. “Atticus, you okay?”

“... Uh, yeah! Sorry! Just woke up from a nap,” I mumbled, hurrying toward the stairs. “I didn’t realize anyone was home.”

“Class was cancelled,” Evan said as I hurried away. Idiot, he’s talking to you, don’t run off! Despite this clear and direct instruction from my brain, my feet were heedless, swift, and I thundered down the stairs toward the kitchen to get myself a drink and a snack. Evan’s big tub of protein powder gazing at me from its place by the toaster like the Eye of Sauron or something.

I guzzled a glass of tap water, opened the fridge to get a yogurt, and wandered into the living room. My phone was on the coffee table where I’d left it, before my nap. Not like me to not have it glued to my side—I must have been exhausted.

The bottom dropped out of my stomach as I opened my phone and saw the texts, the missed calls.

“Atticus where are you? Your shift started 15 minutes ago. Claire needs to leave and we’re slammed.” Received 18 minutes ago.

Fuck!!!” I yelled, putting my yogurt down and running back toward my bedroom.

“What is it?!” Evan yelled back, appearing at the head of the stairs as I charged up. He had put on a pair of grey sweatpants and a black XXL tanktop whose seams had not yet lost the fight against his burgeoning mass. It was pulled taut by his massive round pecs, twin suspension bridges spanning the gap between his traps and his chest. His short dark hair was still damp. He looked concerned, alarmed.

“I’m fucking late for work! I was supposed to be there half an hour ago and it’s gonna take me 40 minutes to speedwalk over! Fuck!”

“Oh, shit,” Evan said. “Grab your stuff and I’ll give you a lift.”

Somehow my anxiety doubled and my heart decided that now would be a great time to go for that Guiness Book tachycardia record. “You don’t have to do that!” My voice sounded strangled in my own ears.

Evan gave me a really? kind of look and said “I have a car and I have the day off and it’s not even that far away and you’re late. Come on, it just makes sense.”

Unable to counter this simple logic, I ran into my room, grabbed my work stuff, sent off a hurried apologetic text to my shift manager, letting her know I’d be there in 15 and oh my god I’m so so sorry.

Evan was sitting behind the wheel of his car when I popped out the front door. He looked concerned for me, but also like he was holding back a grin or something, like the situation wasn’t without its amusing angle. I climbed into the passenger seat, my heart thumping, my face burning, my stomach knotted.

Damn. The car was small, too small for Evan, really. His chest bunched up nearly to his chin when he grabbed the wheel, pecs mashed forward by his bulging biceps, and his far shoulder brushed against the door even as the one closest to me encroached on my space. In fact, I had to lean against my door just a little to avoid being in constant contact with his bare boulder of a deltoid. His skin was so smooth. Flawless. He still smelled like soap and shampoo, but the underlying testosterone musk was already beginning to reassert itself.

The inside of the car smelled like him too, but also stale, like old gym clothes. Fuck me, even that was arousing—my dick had retreated like a frightened turtle when I realized I was late for work, but now it stirred, began returning to life. I imagined Evan’s gym shorts, dank with sweat, riding up the crack between his big globular glutes. I imagined myself as those gym shorts, my face being pulled into that ass… fucking FOCUS, Atticus!

“You uh… you know the way?” I asked, brainlessly, as he backed out the driveway. He gave me a look while putting the car into drive and accelerating onto the street. Like, of course he knows the way. What the fuck was I thinking? He probably thinks I’m being bratty.

We sat in silence for thirty seconds. It was unbearable. I had to think of something to say. “You uh… you like… bodybuilding?” My soul shrivelled up like a raisin as I heard the words coming out of my own mouth. So fucking braindead.

Evan chuckled. “Yeah, I like bodybuilding. Hopefully people can tell by looking.”

I choked. “Uh… yeah, Evan. People can tell. You look… way different than you did eleven years ago.”

Evan shrugged, an avalanche of meat that threatened to unbalance the car and cause a rollover. “We were kids back then.”

“Yeah, but now you’re like, twice the size of me, at least.”

Evan grinned, clearly enjoying having his ego stroked. “You think? Thanks. I…” he seemed to be considering whether to continue speaking. “... I started going to the gym as a way to get away from my family. My mom, really. Lucky for me my dad would sign the permission slips for my membership before I came of age—Mom’s a classic narcissist, and she tried a few times to take the gym away from me once she saw how much I loved it. But yeah. Whenever I couldn’t stand to be at home, which was… most of the time, really… I’d just… go to the gym. Put my anger into the iron, you know.” He shrugged again, and his grip on the wheel tightened. The cables of his forearms jumped into relief, and the garden hose veins down his biceps bulged. “But yeah, thanks for noticing.”

“Out of the frying pan, into the fire?” I ventured.

Evan seemed confused. “Huh? Sorry?”

“Escaping your mom. My mom’s pretty obnoxious sometimes, too, and she’s uh… she’s really into you. Sorry if it’s weird.”

Evan seemed to think for a second, as if deciding which path to take, then the corner of his mouth quirked. “Your mom’s fine, trust me. There are worse moms than her.” He glanced at me before returning his eyes to the road. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, and whatever it was, he kept it to himself. We continued on in silence for a minute more, pulling into the strip mall where my Starbucks was located.

“What time does your shift end?” Evan asked as he pulled toward the curb.

“I’m here ‘til close at 9,” I said.

“Cool, I’ll pick you up then.”

“What! No! Evan, you—”

“Better get in there, they look really busy and you’re late.”

Reminded that my shift started 45 minutes ago, I cursed under my breath, hopped out of the car, and jogged into the store.

Evan’s beat up old Toyota was indeed waiting right outside the store when I walked out at the end of the day. He flashed his headlights at me as if I hadn’t had dreams about that dumb car and its musclebound owner for months now.

“How was it?” he asked as I flopped into the passenger seat, my feet throbbing. I’d been working this job for five months and my feet were nowhere close to being used to the abuse. Standing sucks.

“I hate this job,” I moaned theatrically.

“That bad?”

“Nah. Normal shift. I got a talking to, of course, but this is the first time I’ve been late, and they can’t afford to fire me, and I think she could tell it was an accident and I felt awful, so…” I sighed. “Back again tomorrow.”

Evan hadn’t started driving yet. He looked at me. Fuck, he was so handsome, so huge. The smell of him overwhelmed the small space. “You hungry?”

What was he asking? Part of me knew, but I wouldn’t let that part of me say it, even inside my own head. “Uh.. yeah, actually. Mom probably kept a plate for me back home.”

“She did, but, uh…” Evan grinned guiltily. “I’m a growing boy?” he offered, apologetic, voice rising in pitch, head sinking into his traps and delts as he raised his shoulders in a shrug, compressing his mouth. “So… where do you want to eat? What’s even open now?”

There’s no way this is happening. “There’s a 24 hour McDonald’s about half a mile toward the highway,” I said after a moment.

The car started creeping forward. “You sure? We can go a little fancier than McDonald’s, you know.”

Holy shit. “Yeah but uh… most places are going to be closed, or closing soon,” I said in a tiny voice.

“‘K, Micky Dee’s it is,” Evan said, the car accelerating toward the parking lot exit.

Evan insisted on treating me, since he’d eaten my dinner, he claimed. He put in an order for himself, too, and my eyes nearly fell out of my head as he riddled off about five menu items to the teen boy behind the counter, who was clearly even more enraptured by Evan’s massive muscles than I was—and that’s a high bar to clear. I was almost afraid he’d pass out from lack of bloodflow to his brain.

“What happened to chicken and rice and broccoli?” I asked as we walked toward an empty table, Evan’s tray overflowing with food.

“Issa treat,” Evan said, ducking his head to snatch a couple of fries into his mouth while still carrying the tray. One stray fry fucking fell into the cleavage between his pecs and stuck there. He grinned down at it, goofy, pleased. I walked just behind him. He was still wearing those grey sweatpants, and it looked like he was smuggling a pair of basketballs taped to the back of his body. His glutes shifted and flexed and bounced with each step as he swung one thick thigh out and around its rival/partner.

We ate and talked about stupid bullshit. Video games. Upcoming movies. Evan was excited for something coming out in January, and he said he’d take me to see it. What the fuck was going on?

Long after we’d finished our food, loudly sucking melted ice with a homeopathic hint of soda through our straws, clearly not wanting to leave yet, not wanting to break whatever pleasant fast food spell had us in its grips, Evan seemed to get serious.

“Atticus,” he said, his tone different, deeper. “I…” he struggled, as if trying to overcome some barrier inside himself. “Sorry for being so weird, that day I came into your Starbucks.”

I looked at him. Like, clearly there was something more he was going to say, right? Some form of explanation?

Evan blushed and averted his eyes, like I was the scary one. His voice became quiet and halting, his words jumbled. “I, uh… look, please keep this a secret, okay? I… I’m not… I’m not actually going to school. Never have been.”

I’m sorry to report that I laughed, although I was able to cut it short when he gave me a wounded look. “Sorry! It’s just… you had me so worked up, I thought it was something worse than that! Like you were some imposter who stole Evan’s identity and you had turned my sister’s bedroom into a meth lab.”

Evan grimaced. “I don’t like to lie, Atticus, but I felt like I had no choice. I just… I had to escape, and I didn’t have enough money to do it on my own, I needed somewhere to land that was far away but that I could afford, and well…” he sighed shakily. “Please don’t tell your parents. I…” He stopped, seemed to gather himself, regain control. He sighed, looked at me, his big liquid eyes framed by bushy sad eyebrows. “Sorry.” Fuck, he was beautiful.

“Don’t be sorry,” I said, reaching out to grab his hand without thinking. Surprised at my own boldness as it happened. It was like closing an electric circuit, and I almost gasped at the touch of his skin. His hand was so much thicker, stronger than mine. A man’s hand. “I’ve always dreamed about running away. You actually did it.” He held my gaze, his face becoming grateful.

“Thank you.” he said quietly. I let go of his hand, then, and the absence of his touch ached like frostbite.

The silence stretched. I felt like it would be wrong to press Evan, to quiz him. He’d tell me as much as he was comfortable telling, and I had to be content with that. I felt like he was ebbing away from me, like we had just experienced some sort of emotional high tide, an aqua alta, and now normalcy was gradually reasserting itself.

“Well. Thank you for telling me. I promise to keep your secret. And thanks for the late dinner. And for the ride,” I said, as I rose from my chair and gathered up my tray.

Evan gave me a winning grin. Fuck, he was handsome. “And thank you for letting me get that off my chest!” He bounced his pecs twice, playfully, the tanktop shifting and billowing.

“Cornball,” I said with mock-contempt, Evan’s grin only widened as we walked toward the door. Well, I walked. Evan’s musclebound waddle was an entirely different species of gait.

It was only on the drive home, Evan playing me some song he was into and telling me about the band, bright with dorkish enthusiasm, that it occurred to me. Was this… had that been a date?

Just the next day, at the dinner table, Dad asked a simple question. “So, Evan, what are your travel plans for the holidays?”

Evan paused, his fork halfway to his mouth, just for a split-second. I don’t think Mom or Dad caught it, but I did. “Oh, I was… I was planning on just sticking around here, if that’s okay…?”

Mom and Dad shared a look, like this was unexpected and troubling news. “You sure you don’t want to go home for Christmas, son?” Dad asked, brows knitting in confusion.

Evan shot me a quick glance, as if begging me for help, but I couldn’t think of anything I could say or do that would rescue him, or even buy him time to think.

“Well, sure, it’s my first Christmas away from home, but, uh… Mom and Dad are doing Christmas in Hawaii, and uh… it’s their 25th wedding anniversary a couple days after Christmas, so… it’s a just the two of them kind of a thing. They say I’m old enough, I stopped believing in Santa at least two or three years ago.” Evan laughed, and maybe it convinced Mom and Dad he was relaxed, but I could sense the tension buzzing through his big, over-muscled body. “Besides, like Mom said, it’s not like I’m going to be alone for Christmas…”

Mom sat back in her chair. “Well, this does present a problem, I’m sorry to say, Evan dear. I wish you’d told us sooner. I don’t know why we didn’t discuss it at Thanksgiving, when Emily was here.”

“What’s the problem?” I piped up, wanting Evan to know I wasn’t abandoning him, that I was on his side, just… I had no idea what I could say or do that would be of any help.

“Emily’s coming home for Christmas, of course, and we told her she could have her old room back while she’s here. She’s planning to be here for almost a full two weeks.”

“Oh.” I could see Evan’s face fall. He was a good actor, but not flawless. “I’m… I’m sorry, I just assumed I was welcome, I… I can find a hotel, or ask… one of my classmates if they’ve got space on their couch….”

Poor Evan. I knew he had no classmates. I knew he couldn’t afford a hotel. I had to do something. A brazen idea flew into my head. Something possessed me—maybe it was my sister’s bold spirit inspiring me? But my mouth was moving before I could overthink it.

“Evan can stay in my room.”

Mom, Dad, and Evan all turned their heads to stare at me. I plowed forward. Can’t unring a bell.

“It’s just two weeks, I’ve got a queen sized mattress, there’s space enough, it’s Christmas, we shouldn’t let him be alone at Christmas.” I cut myself off, knowing I’d start babbling otherwise.

Mom and Dad shared a look. “That’s mighty generous, son,” Dad said slowly, the unspoken uncharacteristically so lingering in the air. A memory of my sister’s warning echoed in my ear: Mom and Dad only seem clueless.

“You’re right, Ty, I’d feel just awful if Evan spent the holidays alone in a hotel, or on some cheap couch in a basement across town,” Mom purred, rescuing me from my father’s scrutiny.

Evan looked at me. I couldn’t read his expression, then I noticed the corner of his mouth quirk. He was holding back a grin.

“That’s very kind of you, Atticus. I promise I won’t get in your way,” he said, as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

Oh, fuck. What had I just signed myself up for?

It was the 23rd of December. Emily was due to arrive early that afternoon. Shortly before she showed up, Evan moved his suitcase, laptop, phone charger, and a few other things into my room. I sat at my desk watching as he carefully arranged his things in the corner.

As he worked I was treated to a view of him from behind, his broad back and shoulders. He turned toward me, his big round glutes rotating in their full 3-D glory, and gave me a grateful smile. “Thanks so much for doing this, Atticus. I promise I’ll do my best not to get in your way. You really saved my bacon.”

“Don’t mention it,” I said, my voice sounding unnatural in my own ears. My mouth was dry. My room wasn’t all that big, and he was such a huge guy, it seemed like he practically filled it. Even if I put on headphones and stared at my computer and did my best to ignore him, I knew it would be futile. I’d still be smelling him, still be catching glimpses of his muscles in my peripheral vision. Still be constantly aware of his presence.

And we’d both be sleeping in that same bed tonight. And tomorrow night. And ten more nights after that.

“Well, we should probably go downstairs and join the family, or whatever,” I offered, rising from my desk and leading the way. Emily had texted from her last highway stop a half hour ago, so she would be in the front door any minute now.

The afternoon went well, all things considered. Mom made the three of us, Evan included, wear Santa hats. It was ultra-dorky, childish, yet somehow, on Evan’s handsome masculine face and his super-muscular body, it was extra-sexy. It humanized him. I looked at him, rolling out gingerbread dough at my sister’s direction, his big arms flexing and bulging as he pushed the rolling pin back and forth, thick veins popping, stupid fuzzy Santa hat on his head. I was overcome with a desire to slip behind him, snake my arms around his tight ab-cobbled waist, lean my head against his wide back, feel his body warmth, feel his abdomen rise and fall with his slow breaths, smell him, hear—no, feel—the rumble of a chuckle in his massive ribcage as my dick hardened between his sweatpants-covered glutes…

Emily dabbed the tip of my nose with icing to rescue me from my own overheated imagination. “Earth to Ty! Come in, Ty! Start greasing the baking trays, please.” Evan grinned at me as I scrunched my face and wiped the icing off my face.

“Yes, Mistress,” I said with mock servility.

It was just the young people in the kitchen. Mom had left for a couple of hours, gone to decorate the church for the Christmas service with a bunch of other volunteers. Dad was in the living room, watching Fox News. I could barely hear some blowhard yelling about the War on Christmas in there. I imagined my dad, nodding along, grim-faced as he imagined the fall of western civilization at the hands of atheists and homosexuals saying ‘happy holidays.’

I glanced at Emily and Evan. She was so small, he was so large, yet he was paying close attention to her instructions. Hanging on her every word. At Thanksgiving Emily had been cautious, testing him, smelling him out. Now, she was open, confident, friendly. A pang of jealousy struck me out of nowhere. He looked smitten. What if Evan was my future brother-in-law? Would that be so bad?

It would be terrible.

I tried to shake the feeling, hid it as best I could, but for the rest of the day it haunted any moment when I let my mind wander, when I let my guard down. Ingrate, I thought to myself. Coward. She knows you’ve got a crush. She’d never do that to you.

So? So what if I’ve got a crush? Evan is probably straight, and he’s so sexy, and so gentle and kind, and she’s so pretty, and brave and good. If he’s into her, and she’s into him, what kind of monster would I be to stand in the way? To say no, you can’t have him, because he makes my dick hard, so no one else ever gets to touch him? Hideous. I need to… I need to get used to the idea now, so when it happens I’ll be able to act normal, maybe even be happy for them.

And so the rest of the day passed. A late-ish supper happened. Dad’s Christmas work party was that evening. He and Mom got dressed up and left, saying not to expect them back before 10 or 11. Emily disappeared a little bit after that, meeting up with Andrea and some other of her friends at a house party. She and her friends were all legal drinking age now, after all, although I knew that hadn’t stopped Emily before. Rules, to her, were things to work around.

I felt Evan’s eyes on me after Emily left. What was he thinking? Why don’t you have any friends, Atticus? Shouldn’t you be invited to a holiday party or two? The house felt big and empty and silent with just the two of us in it.

“Do you wanna…” I began, then stopped, feeling too dorky to continue.

“Do I want to what?” Evan’s eyebrow quirked at me.

“Uh… well… we’re 19, that’s… that’s legal age in Canada, I think. We could… pretend to be Canadian?”

“Atticus, what the hell are you talking about?”

Sigh. Too late now. “I’m asking if you want to raid Dad’s liquor cabinet. Just one drink each, he’ll notice if too much disappears.”

Evan let out a hoot of a laugh. “Atticus Tyler Williams!” he said, in a pretty good imitation of what my mother says whenever I’ve shocked or surprised her. And, yes, when I was little they called me Ty-Ty, and if you ever call me that I will find some way to discover your identity and murder you when you least expect it. “You do have a bad side, buried deep down in there, somewhere!”

I scowled. “It was just a suggestion. We don’t have to.”

Evan grinned. “No, no, I want to. Usually I don’t drink. It’s bad for bodybuilding. But, it’s the holidays, and it’s just the two of us… Lead the way, good sir. I won’t tell Santa if you don’t.”

And so that’s how we came to be in the basement rec room, Dad’s attempt at a ‘man cave,’ although he didn’t use it much. Occasional poker nights. I would beg for a closing shift those evenings. I’d walk home extra slow and hope all those loudmouth homophobe good ol’ boys would be gone by the time I dawdled up the driveway. Years of your dad’s friends calling you a sissy and a faggot in your own home, while your own father says nothing or, worse, laughs. Or them showing me pics of babes in bikinis and asking me what I thought of them and laughing at my discomfort… those experiences leave a mark.

There hadn’t been a poker night since Evan started picking me up after work, which he now insisted on doing any time I had to close. I wondered if I could trick him into another long night at McDonald’s, the next time Dad had his friends over late.

But those are problems for another day. Today’s problem: convince Evan that I’m smooth and sophisticated when it comes to alcohol. “I’ve only done this a couple times before,” I confessed, kneeling down to explore the liquor cabinet. “But it’s like most things, if you follow the recipe it turns out okay.”

Evan blushed, almost as red as the Santa hat still on his head. “I… I’ve never had a drink before.”

I looked at him, shocked. I just… assumed. Good looks, muscles, confidence, charm—he must have had an active adolescent social life before fleeing California, with plenty of underage drinking.

He shrugged his massive shoulders, his heavy pecs bouncing from the motion. “Like I said, it’s bad for bodybuilding, and, well, I never…” his eyes darted away and down. For all his massive bulk he seemed like a chastened boy. “I never really had… friends. Older guys at the gym mentored me, taught me. I did go to the gym Christmas party last year, back in California. But they’d never serve an 18 year old booze. They were good guys.”

My heart was hammering as I rustled through the bottles. “I never had friends either,” I said. “Which you’ve probably noticed. My best friend is my older sister. How fucking pathetic is that?”

“She’s nice,” Evan said. “She’s a good friend to have, I think.”

There was that spike of jealousy again, like a splinter in your finger making its presence known even after you think you’ve plucked it out. My hands found the bottle of spiced rum. “Here we are,” I said, pulling it out. “Spiced rum and Mexican coke. Tastes like Christmas. Or so I’ve read.”

Evan screwed up his face. “The sugar…” he moaned.

“Christmas comes but once a year,” I replied, carefully filling two glasses with ice, measuring out two shots, then filling in the cracks with coke. I gave one a gentle circular motion with my hand and passed it to Evan, then repeated the maneuvre with my own. “Cheers.”

We each took a swallow. It was cold and sweet and, indeed, tasted like Christmas. I felt the heat in my belly within moments. I smiled at Evan, and found him smiling back at me, his big puppy dog grin.

“It’s nice,” he said, taking another sip. “Mom used to make me taste her wine, sometimes, and that stuff was foul. It was cheap shit, I don’t know if that’s why, but man was it gross. And she’d get mad at me if I said it tasted bad or if I screwed up my face, like she took it as an insult. But this, this actually tastes good.”

“I’m glad,” I said, enjoying the unexpected feeling of worldly sophistication. I’d given Evan a new experience, had shown myself to be competent in at least one traditionally masculine art, even if I was a failure at most of the others.

“Let’s sit,” Evan said, moving toward the leather sofa in front of the big screen TV. I picked up the controller and turned to the fireplace channel.

“Oh, good,” I said, putting the remote back down. “I love this show.”

“Me too,” Evan said, “but it really jumped the shark in the fifth season.”

I took another sip of my drink, feeling the warmth spread through me. My anxieties were loosening their talons. We sat comfortably in silence for a few moments, sipping. Two young men on a leather sofa in a basement in the suburbs. In some ways, not too different from eleven years ago. In other ways, completely different.

“Hey, Evan,” I said.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“You know how we both said we never had friends.”


“... We’re friends, aren’t we? Me and you?”

“... I think we are.”

I smiled, and felt my eyes get kind of hot and full-feeling. “I’m glad.”

Evan reached his big heavy arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer to him, snuggled me up to him, made me lean against him. Feeling his muscles against my skin, even through two layers of clothes, was almost too much. The manly smell of him was so strong, this close. It felt like my heart was going to burst out of my ribcage. He grinned down at me and tousled my hair. Then, without warning, he planted a quick kiss on top of my head. It wasn’t really a romantic or a sexual kiss, yet I still felt waves of warmth radiate through my whole body.

“I’m glad, too. It feels good to have a friend.”

I felt something hard and warm pressed against my body. There was a gentle rocking motion, an up and down and back and forth, very soothing in its way. My eyes fluttered open and I saw the ugly popcorn ceiling in the stairwell leading from the basement to the main floor.

“...wha?” I attempted, but my mouth was very dry.

“Shh. You fell asleep against me on the couch. Your mom and dad are going to be home soon.”

A surge of adrenaline. “Oh shit we left the booze out,” I tried to say, but it came out in a jumble, like “oh shoo we leffa booze out.” We’d been down there for hours, and had enjoyed several rounds. So much for ‘just one each.’

“I said shh, don’t you worry, I put it all away.”

“Dad’s gunna know,” I moaned.

“Maybe,” Evan admitted. “We had… more than one each, that’s for sure.” The warmth, the pleasure of sharing something with Evan, of showing off for him, the courage it gave me to relax around him, it had all been too much to resist. “We almost killed the bottle, but we can pay your sister to buy a replacement and sneak it in there, right?” Evan continued, pushing the door at the top of the stair open with his hip.

“I can walk,” I protested, feeling very embarrassed at having passed out, and now being carried around like a new bride. Or someone who broke their ankle.

“Maybe I like carrying you, though,” Evan said, looking down at me over his pecs. God, his smile. His brown eyes were so soft and kind. The butterflies in my stomach were on the verge of forming a union and organizing a hostile takeover.

He carried me all the way to my room—our room—and set me down gently on the bed. He turned around, then. “Get into your pyjamas or whatever, I promise I won’t peek.”

Face burning, I pulled off my clothes, acutely aware of my unimpressive build, my skinny limbs, my soft stomach. Evan was as good as his word, staring at the corner while I changed.

“Done,” I said.

Evan nodded, and simply began pulling off his own clothes. I guess my eyes just about popped out of their sockets, because he paused, shirt half off. “Oh,” he said. “Guess I should have told you sooner. I… I usually sleep naked. I don’t own any pyjamas. I was gonna sleep in a tank top and underwear while we shared a bed. It’s the best I can do. You don’t mind?”

“I’ll go brush my teeth while you change,” I said, my voice sounding strangled and strange in my own ears. Evan just shrugged as I rushed past him into the bathroom, my balance still a bit off from the booze.

“Hey, make sure you drink some water,” I heard him call. A few moments later he appeared behind me in the mirror, in a pair of boxer briefs and a tank that left very little to the imagination. His massive glutes pulled his underwear tight, making his bulge even more apparent, and his monster thighs tested the fabric on both legs. His quads hung over his knees, and his fat adductor muscles forced his stance wider than a normal man’s, so he seemed a little shorter than he really was. His arms looked so big that it was a wonder he could wear anything but tank tops, actually. Surely they were too big for any sleeves.

The rum was still in my system, and I found myself saying things I’d normally keep to myself. “Fuck, Evan, you’re huge.”

He smiled at me as he started brushing his teeth. “Not huge enough,” he said, flexing experimentally with his free hand. My eyes nearly fell out of my head. Just with that casual flex, it looked like his bicep was going to rip out of the thin skin that barely contained it.

“How much…” I swallowed. “How much do you weigh?”

Evan paused brushing and spat in the sink. His voice became softer, more intense. “I was 273 pounds this morning,” he said. I made some wordless sound, my own toothbrush abandoned. “I was about 240 when I showed up here at the end of summer… 33 pounds in four months is pretty good, I’d say. Fuck me, I wanna get to 300 next year. Fuck. My birthday’s in April, imagine if I can do it before I turn 20. 300 pound teenager.” He breathed heavier, flexed harder, stared in the mirror. I looked tiny next to him. “And then, after 300…” he was almost panting now, as he shifted from a double bicep into a side chest pose, his pecs rising almost to his chin level. “... after 300, more. Freaky. No such thing as too big.”

Fuck dental hygiene. I was rock hard, and, I was shocked to discover, so was he. His boxer briefs made it impossible to hide; his cock was angled out over his left hip, visibly stretching the fabric. I could see the ridge of his corona through the cloth; his cockhead the size of a fat plum. It throbbed in time with his heartbeat as he continued flexing and talking about how he wanted to get so much bigger.

“I wish I had muscles like you,” I said, watching him flex and move. “Why don’t you teach me, Evan? Show me how you did it. You were a skinny nerd and now you’re massive. Take me to the gym and teach me how to lift and I’ll eat all the same stuff you eat. And I’ll get big like you. Right? Please?”

Evan stopped flexing and got kind of weirdly quiet. Whatever fire had been catching suddenly guttered. “We should get to bed, it’s almost midnight, your parents and your sister are gonna be back any minute now,” he said, ignoring my plea. “C’mon.”

I felt myself sobering up quickly. He said he was my friend just this very same night. So why wouldn’t he take me to the gym with him? Was he embarrassed to be seen with me? I couldn’t bring myself to ask him these things. I followed him into the room and we bade each other a cursory good night.

He passed out within seconds, but I lay awake for what felt like hours. I heard the front door open for mom and dad. Overheard the murmurs of their conversation. At some point, I must have fallen asleep, because I don’t remember hearing Emily get home.

Of course I had to work on Christmas Eve. Of course fucking everyone and their second cousin was out shopping. I had a headache, I guess it was a hangover, and I kept alternating between dejection and anger. I hadn’t been so drunk that I forgot last night. Cuddling with Evan on the couch, declaring ourselves to be friends, falling asleep against him, being carried up the stairs. Evan getting off on flexing in front of me, revealing just how freaky big he wants to get, and then, when I asked him to help me get big like him, he… just shut down, pulled back. All business, all of a sudden. Like I said or did something wrong.

It hurt. My stomach felt all twisted and I don’t think it was just from the rum. For a couple of hours last night I felt like… like maybe I wasn’t alone after all, like maybe I had finally found someone to… to what? I didn’t even know. My emotions wouldn’t settle in one place. He hadn’t done anything wrong, actually. I had just foolishly got my hopes up, like I always do. Then I’d start to get mad. He had treated me so tender and nice, but then froze me out without warning, that’s fucked up and not fair.

And while having all this turmoil, I had to keep my plastic smile painted on my face, chirp at customers, laugh at their dumb jokes, absorb their temper tantrums, their meltdowns. Pretend that I loved my job and I was happy to be there, basically.

And that’s what they mean by emotional labour, folks.

Finally, my shift ended. I gathered up my little holiday gift from the store manager and trudged outside, exhausted, feeling vaguely sick. It was close to 10 pm.

Evan had been picking me up after work ever since that first night. He hadn’t said he’d do it again today, but then, he hadn’t said he wouldn’t do it, either. I didn’t see his beat up old wreck anywhere in the parking lot, though, and my stomach sank further toward my shoes.

Then I heard three quick horn blasts. I looked over. Emily’s car was parked nearby, not quite so old nor quite so junky nor quite so cramped as Evan’s. My sister waved happily at me. Evan grinned at me too, his bulk overflowing the passenger seat. I could discern his pecs at a hundred paces, not only through his shirt, but through the goddamn windshield.

Well fuck, I thought unhappily. At least they didn’t forget about me. I guess I really did have to start getting used to the idea that something was happening between them.

“Cookie?” Emily asked brightly as I climbed into the back seat, offering me a tin of the gingerbread we had made yesterday.

“They came out good,” Evan said. Emily smiled at him.

“Not hungry,” I said, knowing I was being too grumpy, spoiling the mood, not able to stop myself.

“Bad shift?”

“Yeah. You know. Christmas Eve. No one wants to be out and about yet everyone is out and about. Can we just go home, please? I have a headache.”

Emily and Evan shared a look, then. “Sure thing, Ty. I’m sorry you’re having a rough day.” Emily put the car in drive and we started rolling. We were mostly silent the whole way home.

As we walked into the house, Emily gently hooked her arm around mine. “Basement,” she said. “Sibling meeting.”

Mom and Dad were in the living room, watching TV; they offered me half-hearted greetings, didn’t get up. Evan was digging in the fridge for yet another one of his chicken and rice tupperwares. I let Emily drag me into the basement. She beckoned me to go down first, and closed the door at the top of the stairs behind her as she followed.

“What’s up,” she said gently, quietly.

I squirmed, not wanting to answer. “Nothing. I’m just tired. Working service industry at Christmas is hell. I never want to hear Mariah Carey again.”

Emily snorted. “Bullshit. Something’s up.”

I felt like such a turd confessing to her. “You and Evan are gonna start dating and I’m jealous, and then I hate myself for feeling jealous.”

Emily laughed softly and pulled me into her, gently yanked my head down to hers so our foreheads touched. “Darling brother. I promise that won’t happen. It’s gonna be fine, Ty.”

“You don’t have to keep your hands off him for my sake. I’ll get over it. One of us should have him, right?”

Emily snorted. “So pragmatic. Listen. I said it’s gonna be fine. So: it’s gonna be fine. Okay?” She went on tip-toes to give me a quick peck on the forehead, then she stepped back. “Now.” She still had her purse. “I believe we have some espionage that needs doing. I heard from a not-so-little birdie what you boys got up to last night.”

Emily pulled an identical, newly purchased bottle of spiced rum out of her purse. She kneeled and fished the nearly empty one out of the cabinet. She opened the new bottle and carefully began pouring, refilling the old. “I bet the old man hasn’t touched this since I stole a nip from it three years ago. Too threatening to his fragile masculinity, I’m shocked he has it at all. What do you think, about… 85% full?” She stopped pouring. “That look right?”

I nodded. “Yeah, that looks about right.”

“Perfect. I’ll just keep the leftover for myself, then. Handling fee.” She deftly returned the old, now mostly-full bottle to the cabinet, and slipped the now mostly-empty bottle back into her purse.

“What do I owe you?”

Emily winked at me. “You don’t owe me nothin’, Ty. Merry Christmas! I’m just glad you’re finally figuring out how to break some rules. Now let’s get back upstairs and pretend we’re a happy family, okay?”

I was surprised to discover Evan had already gone upstairs for the night. He must have really slammed back that chicken and rice. I was equally disappointed and relieved. Sure, Emily had reassured me that nothing was going to happen between them, but that only eased part of my distress. I still felt shut down and rejected, the way last night ended. Emily and I sat in the living room with our parents, but I only lasted another half hour or so. My head hurt, I felt sick and out of sorts, and I wanted to go to bed. Maybe Evan would apologize, or even take it back, once we were alone and had a chance to talk?

He was asleep when I slipped into the bedroom, though. Not only was he asleep, he was whimpering, his face twitching and contorting. Some kind of nightmare. Half-remembered advice about not waking someone from a dream conflicted with my desire to rescue him from whatever was happening to him inside his own mind. A tremble ran through him, and he whimpered louder, a closed-mouth restrained cry, really. He sounded anguished and afraid.

“Shh,” I said, gingerly placing my hand on his huge round deltoid, a hot boulder covered in soft velvet. “Shhh.”

“Please,” he muttered, sleep-talking. “Don’t leave me, don’t leave, don’t…” then he whimpered again, but seemed to settle after, like whatever it was had passed. His face relaxed and he grew quiet.

I lay there, my hand on his shoulder, almost afraid to remove it, like maybe me touching him was what helped the nightmare pass. I remembered Thanksgiving night, when I heard him weeping through the walls. He’s not really going to school, but what other secrets is he still keeping?

I fell asleep like that, with one hand on his shoulder.

“Merry Christmas, Atticus,” I heard a deep, warm voice rumble from a couple inches away.

“Nnngghaaah,” I moaned. Funny how for most of my life I’d be up at five a.m. on Christmas morning, too excited to hold myself back. When we were little, me and Emily would creep downstairs in the dark, the house quiet and cold, and see the big lumps of presents waiting under the tree. Santa came—the world was generous and kind. There was a benevolent power out there that could make your hopes, dreams, and desires come true. The stupid shit kids can believe.

I opened my eyes and saw Evan lying on his side, staring at me, his eyes bright and shining, an irrepressible smile on his face, his pecs bunched together under his chin. I was close enough to see the thin layer of stubble on his face, the simple bowed shape of his lips. A wild ache in my chest. He was so beautiful. It would be so easy to pretend he was mine, waking up next to him like this.

“Merry Christmas, Evan,” I groaned. I reached to my nightstand for my phone. 7:01.

“C’mon,” he said, getting out of bed. “I’m gonna make everyone breakfast, you can help me.”

And so I became his reluctant sous chef, doing my best not to fuck things up. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, coffee, thickly buttered toast. “Your sister and I went to the store yesterday while you were at work, and I picked up all this stuff. Not much of a present if I’m just using groceries your parents paid for. Plus I could splurge that way.” He waved a fancy thing of maple syrup at me and grinned with delight.

“Evan,” I said, groggily, keeping an eye on the pancakes, trying to judge best when to flip them. “This must have cost a bunch.” I glanced around, just to make sure. “I thought you were broke.”

Evan concentrated on the bacon frying in the pan. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Okay, we’re just about done here, let’s wake your folks. Emily already knows about it, she said she’d set an alarm herself.”

Of course Mom gushed over Evan’s surprise, and Dad grunted his approval over the bacon—in his world, liberals don’t eat bacon, so this was a strong indication to him that Evan was The Right Sort of Man. We almost felt like a happy family, the five of us eating this nice meal that the handsome, athletic, confident surrogate son had prepared.

Then it was on to gifts. Ever since we were little, Emily had designated herself as the elf who sat under the tree and handed out the gifts one by one. Midway through, she pulled a medium sized package out, glanced at the tag, announced “To: Atticus, From: Evan,” and passed it to me with a sly secret-sibling smile. This wasn’t a surprise to her, I realized.

My heart hammered. Evan’s gift to the family was breakfast, I thought. I unwrapped it. Evan watched, his face turning pink. He kind of gathered his big body up into himself, like he was nervous or something.

Inside there was… Fabric? I pulled it out. Two pairs of sweatpants, one grey one black. Three t-shirts and one tank top. And, at the bottom, two pieces of paper. I looked at him, and he nodded. “Read the paper.”

One slip was a six month gym membership. The other was a dorky, hand-drawn certificate for personal training sessions, infinite use, no expiry, sessions provided by Evan Michael Rossi, redeemable by Atticus Tyler Williams. Little cartoons of guys flexing along the border.

I looked back at Evan, who was looking at me, hopeful. “Do you like it?”

“Evan, I… yes, thank you.” I had to cut myself off. Stupid me, I think I might have cried if I tried to keep talking.

“I couldn’t spoil the surprise, now could I?” Evan said, his face breaking into a huge, relieved smile. “Merry Christmas, Atticus.”

I had never been so sore in all my life than the day after our first workout. Lying in bed the next morning, I wasn’t sure I had the strength to rise. My thighs, my chest, my lats. All of them too small to even be properly perceived, externally, yet they dominated my awareness of the world, like a dizzying array of blinking neon signs made of pain.

I opened my eyes. Evan was up already, sitting in my desk chair, in his underwear, his laptop open in front of him, the room grey in the muffled morning light of winter. His side of the bed still dented from his weight, still smelling like him, still gently radiating his residual warmth. If he wasn’t sitting right there, I would have happily buried my face in that dip in the mattress and suffocated.

He didn’t realize I was awake, watching him through barely-opened eyes. He scrolled his laptop, engrossed, his torso illuminated by the blue glow of the screen, the big pecs crowned with the little nipples, the six bumps of his abs, the heavy hanging biceps twined with veins... My morning wood throbbed harder, taking some—just some—of the spotlight away from my aching muscles.

He held his chin in one hand, as if thoughtfully considering what he was seeing. The other hand idly scratched his balls through his underwear, making unthinking adjustments to his sleeping genitals. The scritch scritch scritch sound of his pubes as he scratched, clearly audible. He was all pale bulges, rounded shapes, bigger than any human has a right to be. His angular bedhead of dark hair, his alert, attentive eyes, drinking in whatever he was looking at on the screen. His perfectly shaped lips. Completely unselfconscious. Fuck, he was beautiful.

I saw the bulge he had been pawing at shift and move of its own volition, the cloth of his underwear pouch subtly tightening. Evan’s mouth parted as his rate of breathing increased. I couldn’t tell, too far away, but I’d bet $20 his pupils dilated. He reached down and groped himself again, a little more forcefully this time, visibly squeezing his cockhead between his thumb and his index finger, and then—curse my bad luck—he glanced toward the bed to make sure he was still unobserved.

“Oh! Morning,” he said, cheerfully, abandoning the brewing erection with no sense of shame or affront. Like it was no big deal that I’d caught him on the verge of masturbating. “Sore?”

I moaned dramatically and flopped over. “I’m never going to walk again.”

“Heh, well. The sooner you get moving the sooner it’ll ease off. Staying still is when it’s worst. Remember, we’re going again today, at 9. And then you have a shift at work. I’ll go get breakfast started. We need the calories. You get out of bed and drink lots of water.”

He hopped up, muscles flexing and re-arranging, turned his back to me, and jimmied himself into a pair of sweat pants, doing a little hop to pull them up over his enormous ass. I almost swallowed my tongue watching his glutes bounce and flex. “Up!” he said once again, grinning at me, as he waddled out the door and down the stairs. I could feel the vibrations in the floor as he went.

Fuck, I was really sore. What was he looking at that had him grabbing his junk, though? My eyes were bleary from sleep. His laptop was still open. The screen still glowing. It would go dark soon, though. I didn’t have much time. I painfully hauled myself out of bed, my knees threatening to buckle under me as my thighs protested, and hobbled my way over.

I listened carefully. Evan was audibly making us a bodybuilder’s breakfast in the kitchen, and if he decided to come back up, I’d hear him on the stairs with ample time to react… Emily was in her room, and she would be asleep til ten or eleven, at least. Mom and Dad had their master bedroom on the ground floor, an unusual quirk of our house. A later addition to turn the two bedroom into three. They didn’t go upstairs all that often, a fact I was regularly thankful for.

I was all clear.

It was just a gmail inbox on the laptop screen. I shouldn’t invade his privacy… But I wasn’t interested in his private emails, I just wanted to know what turned him on. Is that so awful? Okay, maybe it is. I never claimed to be a good person, are you satisfied?

I quickly glanced at the other tabs Evan had open. Bingo. OnlyFans logo blaring out at me, one over. He must have just tabbed to gmail before he got up, trusting me not to snoop. My conscience jabbed at me, but I ignored it. I carefully navigated the cursor over to the OnlyFans tab and clicked.

I was braced for a bunch of hetero stuff. Girls. Bikini babes or whatever. Vaginas, I guess? I’d never really seen straight porn, okay? Just… I was preparing myself for bad news so that any and all surprises were good. I still believed Evan was probably a straight boy who didn’t know he was toying with both my heart and my cock. I needed to believe that all my wishful thinking was delusional, just to get through the day. Hope felt far too dangerous a flower to let bloom in my garden.

But the pleasant surprise wasn’t a feed of gay porn. Nope. He was on a single OnlyFans profile page, not a feed.

His own.

Help this big guy get even bigger! Erotic bodybuilding videos (solo) 6’1 275 pounds 19 yrs old 8” uncut

My heart started racing. I could only see the two most recent post without scrolling.

The first was text under a selfie, him in a tight black t-shirt, behind the wheel of his car, flexing a bicep and grinning at the camera. I recognized the parking lot outside my Starbucks—waiting to pick me up from a shift, maybe? The text was an apology for taking two weeks off without posting new content, due to unforeseen circumstances. I glanced back at my—our—bed. I guess those were the unforeseen circumstances. Can’t really make movies for OnlyFans when you don’t have a room of one’s own.

The second was a video. Emily’s bedroom was unmistakable in the background, but only to me. To Evan’s credit, he seemed to take care to make sure nothing overly identifiable was in frame—I just knew that room inside-out, is all.

What was in frame, though, was, well. Him. Veiny cock in one hand, the other arm flexing his bicep, cocky grin on his face, big round pecs hanging heavy, big triangular play button emblazoned over them like a superhero chestpiece. 471 likes, 37 comments. Evan was very, very popular, it turned out. No wonder he had been able to afford those gifts. I drank it in. I’d only seen the suggestion of his cock through his underwear before. It exceeded the promise of the bulge—Evan was hung. I guess the 8” thing wasn’t an empty boast. Gorgeous, uncut, foreskin half-pulled back, tight on a plump head.

The top comment was automatically displayed under that video. It was from some user named Mateo. It said “Fuck, you’re blowing up! That Mutant Juice is treating you real well ;) Let’s see 300 before your bday, big guy.”

My finger itched to hit play, to watch. Or to scroll down and see what else was here. Had he done any, well… collaborations? With men or with women? The question of what he was, sexually, still rankled me.

But this was too dangerous, and also, too, well… wrong. I returned to his gmail inbox, trying to position the cursor exactly where it had been before I touched it. I stepped away from the computer, my heart pounding, and began the arduous task of getting dressed. Guilt throbbed in my heart even as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness throbbed in every other part of my body.

But of course I also memorized Evan’s username and resolved to have a good, long, close look at it later.

And just what the fuck was “Mutant Juice,” anyway?

Finding time to investigate Evan’s OnlyFans was tough, it turned out. Evan was stuck at home until he could pretend that class had started again, and I was his only company. The only time I got away from him was at Starbucks, and I couldn’t very well leisurely browse porn while on a busy shift.

Evan and I watched movies, played video games, went for drives, hung out with my sister when she wasn’t with her friends. In fact, the three of us made a nice trio. We did a bunch of things in the nine days that remained of Emily’s visit. We went skating after dinner on the 29th, for example. Emily had gone pretty far as an amateur figure skater in her teens, and I was decently good at it, but Evan, California boy, had never been on a pair of ice skates before, and it was like watching an elephant trying to tap dance. Hilarious, cute, and weirdly sexy to see this muscle freak of a man hobble around so awkwardly. He landed on his butt many times, big heavy arms clumsily windmilling as he went down, but, like Emily and I reassured him, he had plenty of padding back there, so not to worry. We laughed and got hot chocolate. So wholesome.

But OnlyFans nagged at my mind. As the days went by, I felt more and more like… maybe I shouldn’t look at it. I felt guilty for having snooped. Maybe I should pretend I hadn’t, try to erase the memory. Despite his obvious comfort with near-nudity, Evan never took his underwear off around me, and I should respect that. No matter how much I obsessed over his thick ass, his veiny cock, his heavy balls…

A part of me dared to hope I might see them in real life, and I felt a little sad I had spoiled the surprise of that first reveal. Like peeking at your Christmas presents in early December. Foolish thoughts. As if that would ever happen.

After a couple of days, I decided I would ignore my discovery. Evidently, Evan was making enough money from OnlyFans that he didn’t have to worry. Good for him. The way he acted, tricking my family into taking him in was the only option he’d had, last summer—he had to escape what his home had become, but he didn’t have the money to afford it. Now, he had that money, or at least I assumed he did. Did that mean he’d be moving out soon? Not like I could ask him without admitting I’d snooped on his laptop.

But it’s easier to create porn for the internet when you’ve got a place of your own, after all. And he wouldn’t have to worry about his lies being discovered by my Mom and Dad. So he should move out, as soon as he can afford it, right?

And. Well. That was a dismaying thought. But did I really think he’d just move into my family home permanently? Did I really think he was my new sexy step-brother? And that was how it’d be forever? That was so fucking stupid of me, but yeah, part of me did kind of think that.

I forgot about OnlyFans, but I did google “Mutant Juice,” though. That comment from Mateo, talking about how the Mutant Juice would have him over 300 pounds before his birthday. It was just some supplement. I could have guessed that, I suppose. “Mateo” was probably a spambot, probably not a guy at all. The Mutant Juice website made some wild claims, and had some clearly photoshopped models hawking their wares. Just silly and unbelievable before and afters. A lot of snake oil salesmen in the fitness world, I guess. No one could be that big—they made Evan look like an anemic bookworm.

After we got back from skating, Emily got dressed up for a night out with her girlfriends, and Evan and I relaxed in my bedroom, watching a movie on my computer, eating popcorn in our pyjamas—or boxer-briefs and tank-top, in his case. He made us both protein shakes before the show, and paused the movie halfway through to run downstairs and get both of us yet another meal of chicken and rice. He was really focused on making sure I was doing this muscle growth thing right, and every now and then, when I hadn’t had a forkful for a few minutes, he’d softly yet insistently say “eat.” A simple one-word command that I was powerless to resist.

After the movie, we got ready for bed, turned in, and went to sleep. Evan told me that after food, sleep was the most important part of growing muscles. You can’t grow if you don’t get enough sleep. And we were due in the gym at 7:00 the next morning, thanks to an earlier start at work later that day. My adolescent nighthawk tendencies had to be severely reformed. And Evan was just the man for the job. When he said eat, I ate. When he said sleep, I slept. When he said lift, I lifted. He was remaking me, slowly, inevitably.

Yeah, it was hot.

At some point during the night I woke, disoriented. I felt something warm against me. Solid, Enveloping me. It was snowing outside. The world was muffled. It took me a moment to realize.

Evan was holding me in his sleep. His huge muscle body was enveloping me. I felt his skin on my skin, his breath, his warmth, his smell, his… him. Stiffly poking my scrawny little hamstrings.

I became terrified of moving. He’d wake up. He’d break the embrace. And I wanted this to last… so long. Forever. I wanted time to stop right here and never resume.

The erection between my legs throbbed with such intensity, I worried I’d cum without even touching myself. Just the flexing of my cock would be enough to drive me over the edge.

Then I felt Evan’s mouth against the nape of my neck. Lips just gently brushing against my skin. Rapid shivers of pleasure raced through my body. He wasn’t kissing me. Our contact was microscopic. Electric. Arcs of intense pleasure closing the circuit.

I couldn’t help it. I whimpered. I trembled.

Almost as if by reflex, Evan reacted by tightening his grip, pulling me closer into him. His lips were fully pressed against the back of my neck now, no gentle feathery touch.

And then he kissed the back of my neck, tenderly, lovingly, slowly, as he held me against him. I don’t know how long he kissed me. At least fifteen or twenty seconds. It felt like hours. I felt him throb against me. I felt myself throb. I was going to ruin these sheets any second.

Then he made a contented grunting sound, wiggled a little as if trying to burrow deeper into the mattress, sighed, and began faintly snoring, his breath hot against my skin. Using me as a fucking body pillow. Now that I minded at all, you understand.

I teetered on the precipice of orgasm for god knows how long, but I didn’t cum. I can’t tell you if I was happy or sad about that.

I have no idea how I fell back asleep, but somehow, it happened. When I woke up, he was back on his side of the bed, a mountain taking up most of the sheets, his mouth hanging open adorably. Like it hadn’t happened. But it had. I was sure of it. It hadn’t been a dream.

Mom and Dad really wanted Evan to start coming to church with us on Sundays, and had tried to convince him to do so at multiple family dinners over the fall. He’d always resisted, made excuses. But my parents had him cornered, now. I couldn’t say no, they traipsed me out there any Sunday I didn’t have a shift at work, the dutiful son. Even Emily, our rebellious wild child, understood it would massively torch her social capital to try and fight Mom and Dad on this. So Evan had to either come up with some reason he was busy on those Sundays during Christmas, or he had to take a cue from me and my sister and play along as best he could.

Evan really didn’t have anything like church-appropriate clothes. He’d brought a few ‘nice’ articles of clothing with him when he moved in back in late August, but he’d gained more than 30 pounds of muscle since then. He tried on one shirt in front of me. I almost came in my pants as he stood there, goofy grin on his face, joints stiff from the screamingly tight fabric. Then he flexed and the cloth loudly ripped as his massive muscles erupted through the seams. “Wish I had filmed that,” he said to himself as he pulled the rags free from his body.

So we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart. Evan was now wearing a pair of size 44 camel pants that barely fit his thighs and ass but which pooled with endless loose fabric around his waist, sloppily cinched by a belt, and a polo clearly meant for a very obese man, judging by the way the shirt billowed around his waist, even when tucked into the belt—yet Evan’s arms still filled the sleeves like sausage casings.

“Sorry, Evan,” Emily said as the three of us drove along in her car, on our way to the service. At least our parents had been content for us to take two vehicles. I think they had the same idea I did—that maybe there was something brewing between Emily and Evan—and I think they cautiously approved. Evan’s performance during the service today would probably go a long way to encouraging or demolishing that opinion. So letting the two lovebirds drive together was good, and having me along for the ride as a chaperone to ensure it didn’t get too sinful was also good. “Are you even religious at all?” she asked as we waited at a red light.

“Not really. Most of my life we weren’t anything. I guess Dad was Catholic, Italian surname and all that. But his mom, my grandma, was actually Japanese. His side of the family were just like… low key don’t care about organized religion. My understanding is Grandma and Grandpa Rossi both kind of burned bridges with their families to get together—Italian boy and Japanese girl in the 1960s, not that common. But yeah, Dad’s family weren’t the kind of folks to put much value in tradition.” Huh. Evan was one-quarter Asian. I hadn’t realized. Now that I knew, I guess I could see it in him, subtly. He shifted in the front passenger seat—obviously the big guy was stuffed up there, it would feel cruel of me to ever call shotgun when Emily took us anywhere. “As for Mom… after Mom and Dad split up, Mom kind of got into like… multi-level-marketing spirituality, if you get my drift? Sending money to strangers and expecting spiritual rewards from it. Complete nonsense. Whatever we’re in for today, can’t be worse than that.”

“Just pretend to pay attention and don’t react if someone says something outrageous,” I offered from the back seat.

“Is someone going to say something outrageous? Christmas service wasn’t bad at all.”

“Probably, yeah. Christmas service is basically a variety show. This is a lot more, uh, intense. And bad.”

“So bad,” Emily echoed grimly.

“Okay. Well, I’ve got a pretty good poker face,” Evan said. Emily took her eyes off the road for a brief moment to shoot him a ‘it’s cute that you think that’ look, which he seemed to completely miss.

And sure enough, the sermon was awful, and it dragged on. I could feel Evan shifting next to me. I occasionally caught Emily’s eye, on the far side of him; it felt like the two of us were on a ‘get Evan through this, the poor innocent dear’ team. Mom and Dad were to my other side. The other church people eyed our family openly, with our XXXL new addition very obvious. I wondered what sort of gossip they’d concoct about Evan. I didn’t really care, but there was very little else for me to do, and I certainly wasn’t going to tune into the sermon, which, I am so sorry to inform you, was on the topic of drag and grooming and the LGBTQIA+++ menace to society. Now that Christmas had yet again—somehow!—survived the annual assault against it by the Woke Mob, the fearmongers and bigots had to find a new thing to whip the crowd up, and degenerate homos were next on the menu.

I could feel Evan tense next to me. He didn’t have my practice at letting this rhetoric slide off his back. I noticed Emily subtly reach out and squeeze his hand. The mostly-dead embers of my jealousy did threaten to flare, but even an idiot like me could see she was trying to anchor him and help him endure the spectacle of hate parading as piety in front of us, which we simply… had to accept without question or comment or protest. There was no fucking way I could make a similar move in this room, no matter how stealthy. A man giving another man’s hand a reassuring squeeze? Safer to tightrope walk the Grand Canyon with no training. And one of us had to steady him.

I let my mind wander while keeping my eyes forward and my head up and still, a skill long honed from just such scenarios. I wondered if Emily hadn’t been there throughout my childhood, if I would have just accepted all this hateful nonsense as true, and how that would have twisted me as I fought against my own nature. Sure, I was still a closet case, but at least I knew myself, at least I wasn’t at war with who I was.

I didn’t recognize it at the time, but now I did. All through our childhood, Emily pushed me to think for myself, gave me counter-examples, exposed me to ideas that ran contrary to the narrow worldview being violently imposed in this room on a weekly basis. Thank fucking god, should a deity really exist, for my older sister.

But where did she get it from? How was she such a free-thinker with an unbreakable will of her own? I could almost hear her sardonic response: because I’m an Aquarius, duh. My mouth quirked slightly before I regained control of my face. Probably only ten or fifteen minutes to go.

Finally, it was over. But there was no escape—we had to endure the post-service coffee social for at least fifteen or twenty minutes. Running for the exit right away would be rude, and was therefore impossible. Was it rude that I had to sit still for an hour and listen to a full-frontal assault on my identity, with open calls for people like me to be driven out of society? No no, of course not. But god fucking forbid I don’t stick around and having coffee and an apple square with these people for ten minutes. That would have been wrong of me..

Evan looked miserable in his comically ill-fitting clothes, cornered by the coffee machine, being interviewed by a scrum of church ladies in their pastel dresses and fancy hats. So much for his poker face. I could hear them as I approached. “You must play football with a build like that!” “It’s so good you managed to escape California, I hear it’s mob rule in the cities out there, you’re so much better off here.” “Oh, my daughter is taking classes at the college too, let me call her over and introduce you, it can be so hard to make friends in a new place.”

“Evan,” I said, raising my hand to him. His eyes met mine, and they all but screamed help me. “Emily’s car is having some sort of problem, come have a look at it.”

“Excuse me, ladies,” Evan said, trying to gracefully manoeuvre his way free, his big muscle ass almost knocking over the coffee urn. “I believe my very gracious hosts need me.”

I led him out of the room. He leaned in close to me. “I don’t know jack shit about cars, Atticus,” he said softly.

I shot him a quick flat look, but waited for us to be in the hallway leading to the parking lot before I whispered incredulously “Em’s car is fine, Evan.”

“Oh. Oh.“ He had the grace to look embarrassed. “Sorry. I just… god. My brain is like soup after all that. How do you put up with this? Every week?”

“Oh, those ladies know every single detail about me, down to how yellow my pee was this morning. They’re no longer interested in me, they leave me alone and wonder why I don’t have a girlfriend yet. But you’re a puzzle, a mystery, and they consider it their business to know everything about everyone.”

Evan frowned. He looked hurt. “No, not that. The… the other stuff.”

“The sermon?”


I shrugged and pushed the door open. Outside, it was a clear, sunny day, cold for this part of the world, yet so much warmer than the well-heated room we had just escaped in the ways that really mattered.

“You just do. You get numb. You just… realize that the world is like that. Can’t change it.”

Emily was already leaning against the car. She gave a relieved wave as we approached.

“Hostage successfully extracted, commander,” I said when we got close enough.

“Great. Let’s get out of here before they find a lasso big enough to fit over this one’s neck and wrangle him back in,” Emily said, unlocking the car and climbing behind the wheel.

The drive back was quiet, though. Evan spent most of it looking out the window. Whatever his thoughts were, he was keeping them to himself.

Evan and I were only sharing a bed for twelve nights, and they were rapidly slipping by. I spent most of my days yawning and bleary-eyed, because I would lie awake and watch him sleep in the half-lit gloom, instead of sleeping myself. His peaceful face, his huge body. I’d inhale deeply through my nostrils and smell him, feel the unbelievable warmth radiating off his body, the way my mattress tilted toward him, like I was caught on the lip of a gravity well.

Sometimes before turning in for the night, we’d lie on the bed next to each other and play on our phones, showing each other stupid TikToks and memes and whatever that made us laugh. Remembering our drunken cuddle session and that deeply tender nocturnal back-of-the-neck kiss, I’d slowly, slyly inch closer, until my head was nestled on his big delt, or against his pillowy left pec. We were nice and snuggled up. He didn’t seem to mind. Sometimes, he’d idly play with my hair for a few seconds before returning to his phone. I could feel his breathing, feel myself slowly rising and falling to its rhythm.

I felt so happy during these moments that I don’t know how I could stand it.

Of course, we couldn’t close the bedroom door, that would have been immensely suspicious. But I kept my ears open, and the moment I heard a footstep on the stairs I would shoot over to my side of the bed, create a generous safe buffer zone between us. Thankfully, that only happened two or three times.

It was our last night sharing the room. Emily was going back to college tomorrow morning. This was potentially our final “friendly” cuddle session. Maybe that’s what made me finally get brave.

“Hey, Evan, how… how big do you think I can get?”

He shifted a little. “Hard to say, Atticus. Depends on if you stick with it. It’s not like there’s a simple equation. It’s a years-long process.”

“Let’s say I stick with it.”

He shrugged again. “I still can’t really say, dude. Can’t tell the future.” He could sense my dissatisfaction. I could feel his chest flex and twitch as he started working on his phone. “Hold on.” After a few seconds had passed, he handed me his phone. It was displaying a picture.

“This was May of last year, I’m like 215 in this photo,” he said as I examined the image. It was Evan, all right. Smaller, but still sturdily built, athletic. Handsome. Looking nervous, though. Out of his element.

He was standing next to a jaw-dropping monster of a man in a skin-tight black tanktop and black booty shorts. He had dark hair and a beard, handsome, but his face was the last thing I noticed. Unthinkable thighs exploded out to both sides from the legs of the shorts, which were practically twin tourniquets. His arms were comically elevated by lats, which simply refused to let them be lowered. His inflated delts and traps gave him an outlandish, exaggerated appearance, a cartoon of masculinity, threatening to swallow up that handsome face. His biceps looked like they were attempting to burst out of their skin as he flexed his free arm, the other hand clasping Evan’s. I’ve known girls with waists smaller than those arms. Hell, I’ve known guys with waists smaller than those arms. This other man… he couldn’t be real.

“That’s Joe, one of the Mutant Juice Spokesmutants. He’s the one who gave me my first dose. I paid extra for that, even though I was trying to save up money to make a break for it. Worth it. They took this pic literally right after. I guess… I ought to have come clean to you sooner that I was on the Juice, no 19 year old can get this big without it.” He clearly sensed my confusion. “Spokesmutants. You know.”

“... no?”

“Atticus, have you… not been paying attention over the last couple years?” Evan took his phone back, opened his instagram feed, and began scrolling so that we could both see it. “All the big guys have just been blowing the hell up, bigger than what used to be possible, and there’s new mass monsters popping up every week. Let’s see.” He narrated as he scrolled through his feed. “That guy’s on the Juice for sure. Him too. Bullshit, bullshit, fake natty, keep meaning to unfollow him… ok, here we go. There’s Antoine. Fuck, look at the size of him. See the caption? 445 pounds, cripes. Another Spokesmutant.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Mutant Juice? It’s basically replaced steroids? Well, not replaced them. It works better if you use both of them, but the Juice is legal, at least for now, so lots of folks just use it alone. Still works wonders. You really don’t know what I’m talking about?”

I felt myself shrink, embarrassed by my ignorance.

Evan sighed. “Well. It’s a legal muscle building compound that came on the market like a year and a half ago, and it works incredibly well. It’s raised the ceiling for what kind of size can be achieved. There’s no way I’d be pushing 280 pounds months before my 20th birthday without it..”

“And it’s… safe?”

“Yeah, remarkably so. They’ve been itching for an excuse to ban it, but so far they haven’t been able to find any reason. Well, there’s one, potentially, but it’s so rare… never mind.” Evan shifted to look down at me, like he was unsure of how I was taking this.

“So… will I get to use this stuff too?”

Evan grinned, clearly relieved that I wasn’t going to give him a hard time. “It’s still tough to get your hands on, they just can’t make enough to satisfy demand, but… I do have a contact, you can probably cut the line. Might still take a few months.” His left hand dropped from his phone to my puny little baby delt and he gave it a fond squeeze. “Better if we build you up naturally as best we can first, anyway, so a little delay isn’t the end of the world. But yeah, if you want it… we can make that happen for you. If you really wanna see just how freaky huge we can blimp you up. I want that for you, you know. I wanna watch you just…” he held his hands close together, then shot them wide apart while making an exploding sound with his mouth. “Blow the fuck up.”

“Hey, Evan.” I could feel his breathing. It was faster, heavier. His skin felt hot to my touch.

“Yeah, Atticus?” His voice was lower, darker. I could taste the sexual excitement in it.

Visions of Joe and Antoine, these 450 pounds muscle freaks, floated through my mind. “How big can you get?”

My head bobbed as he gave out a little <I>heh</I> sound. “Let’s just say, I wanna take a sequel of that photo with Joe in a couple years, but by then, he’ll be the small one.”

I glanced down. Evan was hard as a rock, his big dick making a blatant tent in his shorts. I was too, of course. And Evan was looking down at my cock, and the tent in my pyjamas.

“You wanna see that, right, Atticus?” he breathed, reaching for my cock. He gave it a squeeze through my pyjama pants. “You wanna see me get so big I don’t fit through doors, huh?”

I moaned despite myself, trying to keep it quiet. Evan was squeezing my cock rhythmically now. “Y-yeah,” I stuttered, melting under his touch.

“Guess what I wanna see?” Evan answered, voice so low, so deep, so sexy.


“I wanna see you get so fuckin’ big that you make me look like the small one.”

I whimpered helplessly, not able to formulate a response, as my erection, already one for the record books, strained to get even harder. Evan shifted, letting my head fall to the mattress. He tossed his phone to the floor and pulled my pyjama pants down. My dick popped free, reaching desperately toward the ceiling.

“Jeeezus, you’re hung,” he breathed as he brought his face closer to my dick. I could feel his hot breath on my quivering cock. “I thought I had a big one. This thing has gotta be ten inches at least. Fuck, Atticus, you’ve always been a big boy in one way. I wanna grow you a body to match this dick. Or more. Get your thighs so big this monster cock looks small.”

I could only whimper in reply as he slowly closed his mouth over my dick. Making eye contact with me, almost as if pleading, he slowly slid it down his throat, stopping at less than halfway as he gagged and pulled back a little.

Embarrassed, I reflexively tried to stop him, to apologize for almost making him puke, but he pushed me back down on the bed. “Shh.” Then he resumed working on my dick, focusing on the head, swirling his tongue around the corona, applying very strong suction to the sweet spot right on the underside of the dick, just below the head.

I looked down. He was working intently on my dick, his cheeks caving in from the suction. His spiky dark hair. His thick traps. He was propping himself up with an arm, and his bicep and tricep each bulged alarmingly, almost too much meat for the limb to handle. His big round pecs hanging so beautifully, bouncing slightly as he bobbed up and down my cock.

And he was going to get so much bigger. Bigger than Joe. Bigger than Antoine. 500 pounds? 550 pounds? 600 pounds? More? How much was even possible? Just how huge could Evan get?

How huge could I get?

Thank god some small part of my brain was still thinking about our long-term survival in this homophobic conservative household in a red state. I grabbed a pillow and stuffed my face into it a split second before I started pumping cum down Evan’s greedy throat. I couldn’t stifle my moans, my ragged heavy breathing, but at least the pillow probably meant it wasn’t audible downstairs, that we wouldn’t be discovered by my parents.

The moment passed, I removed the pillow and lay back, dazed, staring at the ceiling, my mind too fractured for thoughts. Evan crawled back up, grinned that stupid adorable puppy dog grin of his. Then he leaned in and kissed me.


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