Just a Chubby Kid From Brooklyn
When the sun moved lower in the sky, reflecting brilliantly on the water, Saul knew it was time to put-up or shut-up. Technically, he'd already put-out so how hard could putting-up be?
He snuck a glance at Jim. He was relaxed back on his elbows, the strong planes of his face turned to the weakening sun, and his legs splayed every which way. Saul often wondered if he'd ever be as comfortable with his own body as it seemed everyone else was with theirs. The memories of being teased and taunted as a teenager, the fat-shaming and gay cruelties, were still fresh in his mind even after more than ten years and a significant change in his body.
He wasn't that chubby kid anymore, but at times, he still saw only that guy in the mirror, could only feel the knots inside that bullied teenager when he was interested in someone. And he was really interested in Jim. In reality, he had nothing to lose by expressing himself, but fear tended to twist a vise around his heart when he was reaching deep for courage. Much as the way it was crushing him right then.
"You…um…" His voice trailed off while he flattened his palms in the sand, searching for a something to ground him so he could get through a few simple words. "I was thinking maybe we could…I don't know, grab something to eat after. You know if you're into that. Not that I'm pushing for another date—shit, that's not the right word either."
The sand sifted through his fingers as a thread of anxiety pressed against nerves, twining around his heart and sending heat to his cheeks.
"Yeah." The reply was more automatic than realized. He didn't dare look at Jim, didn't want to see the pity or disgust playing on his face, foreshadowing what Jim had to say.
"You know I asked you out in the first place, right?" Jim's tone was even but light, yet Saul couldn't detect amusement in his voice. He struggled with an answer that wasn't awkward or silly, but Jim beat him to the punch. "Because I like you. I'm not sure what happened between last night and now but that hasn't changed for me."
Saul swallowed around the tension in his throat before peering up from under the brim of his hat. Jim hadn't changed positions, still long, lean, sun-kissed limbs and warm, brown eyes. "Really?"
He flinched when Jim suddenly shifted towards him, looping an arm around his shoulders and leaning in close. "Really," he said, licking his chapped lips. "And I kind of hoped you felt the same way."
"I do. Yeah. Definitely."
"Then how about kissing me to seal the deal?"
So Saul kissed him—once, twice, ten times before the sun set, then forty after a week, one hundred more after a month, ten-thousand more after a year. And if Jim ever saw that chubby kid rear his insecure head, he just held Saul tighter and kissed him more.