Fat. Fatty. Fat. Fat. Fatso. Fat. Fatima. Why had her parents christened her that? Surely they knew that in an English Language culture it was a name that could always be used to mock her. Especially as they knew from their own corpulent frames that their daughter was unlikely to be svelte, slim or slender. And as second-generation immigrants themselves, not even especially religious ones, they understood enough English to know just how her name could always be used as a stick to beat her with.
Especially as it just happened to be true that she was fat.
Fatima hated being fat. She hated the word. If only she could ever think of herself as plump. Or tubby. Or stout. Or generously built. But Fatima knew that such words were just euphemisms for the same thing, Fat. Gross. Obese. She studied her naked reflection in the wall-length mirror, which was too narrow to encompass the whole of her girth. She was sure she wasn't ugly as such. She studied her face. Wasn't her face quite pretty from certain angles?
But from the chin down: fold after fold of light brown flesh, overflowing any clothes she wore. If she wore loose clothes, she looked like a sack of potatoes. If she wore tight clothes, it merely emphasised the swell of her folds of fat. 'Love-handles' she reflected on the indulgent name sometimes attached to the generous insulation around her waist. But handles that were far more substantial than they needed to be. Even with the mirror in front of her, she could barely see her own vagina. It was hidden under her engorged stomach. Even the pubic hairs were hidden from view. And her bosom. Perhaps the only part of her that was built to the proportions a man was supposed to like. Huge armfuls, which she had difficulty folding her arms over. Or under, for that matter. Her nipples, or at least the dark brown areola around them, were larger than her vagina. Each one almost the size of her face. But unlike the huge-breasted women of male fantasy, her bosom rested on an even larger stomach.
Fatima twirled around on her toes. Sometimes she found it a burden to even support her own weight. She turned her neck round to regard her buttocks, or their reflection in the mirror. Also huge. Also plump. Maybe they were designed to be comfortable to sit on, but not when squeezed into the narrow confines of a seat in a car, a train, a bus, or, worst of all, an aeroplane.
And yet, despite her plumpness, she had a date. With a man. Or at least, she thought so. When she'd left Freddy last night, she was sure he'd agreed to let her see him again. She'd kissed him goodbye after their brief fuck, and when pressed he admitted that he'd not got anything planned for the day and that she could come by. Not perhaps the most encouraging of invitations, but Fatima was never one to relinquish her clutch on the most tenuous straws. And, of course, they'd fucked. Or he'd fucked her. The ultimate act of love and affection. Reputedly.
It hadn't been a very romantic fuck, Fatima knew. But precious few of the not many fucks in her life had really been much better. At least he hadn't laughed in her face when she'd suggested meeting again. And it had been him who had made the first move, when he placed his hand on her thigh. Though, naturally, Fatima made bloody sure that it wasn't going to end there. She pulled out his prick, long and thin and hairy, rather like Freddy himself. She licked and gobbled at it, hungry for its taste after so long. And then she made sure it went inside her.
But it was over too soon. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. In. Out. In. Out. In fact, Fatima could barely feel the prick inside her at first, as it squeezed through the rolls of fat. But it was soon in. And Freddy was over her, his hands gripping on her enormous bosom to maintain his balance, his legs wedged between the fleshy grip of her thighs. In. Out. In. Out. Fatima was determined to get as much from it as she could. But before her anxieties of whether he'd continue for very long had passed and she was able to truthfully enjoy the pleasure of a man's cock in her cunt, reducing her to the creamy, slippery helplessness that she was sure was the final destination of lovemaking but which she'd never yet experienced, it was over. A squirt of come inside her. A damp puddle in her knickers. A stain on her sweatshirt.
And then Freddy tucked his cock away. Buttoned up his trousers. And it was almost like nothing had happened. But it had! They had fucked. And Fatima was going to go over to visit him at the house he shared with all those students and unemployed actors and people with undefined jobs. Even though she wondered whether she had the courage for another rejection. And they could be so hurtful. Made her wonder whether there was any point in living. All she wanted was love and affection. And all she got was hurt and rejection. And all because she was fat. A fatty. A lardy. Overweight and undervalued. It would be a fat chance that she'd ever find a lover who'd truly appreciate her for the beautiful person inside her podgy body.
"Yeah, sure he's in," said the slightly stoned young man who answered the door. "You're Fatima, aren't you? You were here last night, weren't you? Good gear, wasn't it?"
Fatima nodded. She had agonised on what clothes to wear. There was no way to conceal her corpulence, though. She opted for a skirt and sweatshirt, just as she'd worn the night before, as she thought it'd be the easier to pull off. Ever the optimist. She carried her make-up and things in a canvas bag she slung over her shoulder. Her sweatshirt misleadingly advertised Columbia University, although she'd never been to university and she'd never even been to the States. "Upstairs is he?"
"Yeah. Top floor. Seeya!" He disappeared back through the door he'd come from, while Fatima made her way up the badly carpeted staircase to Freddy's room, passing other rooms as she ascended, many of them pulsing to a different stereo beat.
Fatima could hear some two-step garage coming out of Freddy's room. She smiled. So much better than that Hard House stuff she'd had to endure last time she was there. She pushed open Freddy's door, with a selection of rehearsed phrases competing for attention, along with the one that had only just occurred to her which was to compliment him on playing rather more melodic music. But she had barely said "Hi there, Freddy! How're you?" when she realised that almost anything she'd prepared to say would be wholly inappropriate.
Freddy was there. And his bedroom was exactly as Fatima remembered it. Tatty posters advertising club nights that had ceased to exist years ago. A stack of clothes piled high on an armchair. A small TV and a much larger stereo. And a single bed taking centre-stage. And on that bed was Freddy. Unmistakably him. His lean thin face. The ragged hair. Not long but still lank. The perpetually unshaven chin. Those big hairy hands. And those hands were clasping into the thin, angular buttocks of a naked girl. One who was much, much, much thinner than Fatima ever was. Thin even compared to a thin girl. And those buttocks were pistoning up and down on Freddy's erect penis, which thrust up and down with rather less vigour than those buttocks pushed up and down on him.
The girl was leaning forward, her weight resting on arms stretched onto Freddy's shoulders, tiny breasts, almost all nipple that were nevertheless big enough to shake with the girl's thrusts. Her dark brown hair was short, but her long earrings swang wildly as she pushed herself up and down on Freddy beneath her. And she was gasping in a low punctuated rhythm, immersed in her lovemaking, not wasting any energy in shouts or screams of greater abandon than was necessary. Freddy raised his head as he saw Fatima hover at the door entrance, her greeting suspended in empty air with no response. The girl turned her head round, still grunting and gasping, and smiled at Fatima.
She didn't pause in her lovemaking, and it was clearly not that easy to articulate as she continued to pump up and down on Freddy's prick, but she spoke to Fatima amiably enough. "Hi! You must be… uh! … Fatima. I'm Ella…. Don't worry. We won't… uhhh! … We won't be long."
Andthen she resumed her fucking, leaving Fatima feeling vaguely humiliated. But also rooted to the spot. She couldn't leave now she'd been welcomed. But wasn't this Ella, who'd greeted her so pleasantly, just emphasising again her own inadequacy? Less than a day after Fatima had made love to Freddy. And thought, well imagined, perhaps fantasised, that she'd at last found a boyfriend. Here was someone Fatima had never met before, with rather fewer than the many weeks of preparation that Fatima had invested in getting to know Freddy better, who had so effortlessly succeeded in bedding him. And had already, in the interval of fucking that she'd already witnessed, enjoyed making love with him for rather longer than Fatima had done. And stimulating rather more passion in the man than she had managed.
And they continued making love. If this wasn't long, it was already, humiliatingly longer than any time Fatima had ever spent being fucked by a man. If it went on for much longer, it might even exceed the sum total of all the fucks Fatima had ever had. And Freddy was enjoying it so much. Fatima felt like running away from the room. Let the tears that were welling behind her eyes come to the surface. Instead, she felt obliged to sit there, on one of the two poorly sprung second-hand armchairs in Freddy's room, mesmerised by the sight of real fucking, wishing that she were the one being fucked and not Ella.
Fatima had time to study the scene in detail. It was a little like the porn films she'd seen. Only there was none of that chintzy synthetic music: the soundtrack being the garage sound of Ayia Napia coming from the stereo and totally out-of-synch with the action. The grunts and wheezes and gasps and other noises were much more random and unstructured than in a movie. Sometimes building up together as the genitals ground together more furiously. Sometimes dying away as the thrusting became gentler or more relaxed. And without the camera angles, all Fatima could see was the view that was allowed by Ella's posture on top of the prostrate Freddy. And basically this was of a pair of testicles flopping up and down below a pair of angular, bony buttocks. Ella's body moved in rhythm with her buttocks. Angular sharp shoulders, and a back where the knobbles of the spine and the full details of the shoulder blades were delineated on her pale freckled skin. And the spine leading in a graceful arc along her neck to the one or two inch crop of her hair and those swinging earrings. The only thing she wore. Unlike Freddy, who still had on his socks and a tee shirt. And the earrings were of the cheap ethnic kind you could easily buy at Camden Lock or Portobello Road markets.
Finally, it was over. Ella jumped off and onto the carpet in front of Fatima. Fatima could see that the teat of Freddy's condom was full of the sperm he'd produced. This gentlemanly use of prophylactics demonstrated rather more concern for any fear that Ella might have for sexually transmitted diseases than he'd ever shown Fatima. Ella smiled at Fatima while Freddy unwrapped the condom from his limp penis.
"See! I told you I wouldn't be long. I guess you two will want to get it together now. I'll go and get some coffee. How do you have yours?"
Too startled to object to anything, Fatima could respond only mechanically. "White. One sugar." Her eyes darted from Ella to Freddy and back to Ella, as she pulled over her head an old tee shirt with 'Pacha' written across it and the skimpiest of cotton briefs that barely covered any of her lush pubic hair. And then out of Freddy's room and thundering down the stairs to the kitchen.
Freddy looked up at Fatima, as he sprawled on the bed, wearing only socks and tee shirt and a lifeless penis resting on his thigh, still shiny and sticky in the early evening sun. "Holy Fuck, Fatima. I didn't expect you here."
Fatima sat on the bed, too dazed to even contemplate upbraiding Freddy for his unfaithfulness. She didn't wish to face the humiliation of him telling her to her face that he didn't consider what they'd done together the day before as being of any consequence. "How come Ella knows who I am?"
"Does she? Yeah, I guess she does. She used your name, didn't she? Maybe she'd talked to the others in the house. They might have mentioned you. You've been quite a regular visitor the last few weeks. She moved in a couple of weeks ago. Her bedroom's down on the first floor."
"I've not met her before."
"Well, she keeps real irregular hours."
Fatima lowered herself onto the mattress next to Freddy and placed a hand on his thigh, emboldened by the fact that he didn't push her hand to one side. "She's got to know you pretty well, hasn't she?"
Freddy smiled. This was obviously something that rather pleased him. "Yeah. She has, hasn't she?"
Fatima idly stroked the hairs of Freddy's thigh, wondering whether she would ever get to know that prick of his again. It was tempting, lying there, even inert and exhausted. She wondered whether she could just lean over. Pinch it. Perhaps suck it. Bring it back to life. "Is she your girlfriend, Freddy?" she asked cautiously.
"'Girlfriend'? Fuck no!" Freddy replied, immediately reassuring Fatima. She smiled, but not for long. "I haven't got any girlfriends." Not even me? wondered Fatima. "She just fucks whoever she likes. In fact, she's fucked everyone in the house, I think. Well, perhaps not quite everyone. I don't think Giles quite realises what an easy pull she is."
"So, you're free still?" wondered Fatima, boldly placing a chubby hand on Freddy's sticky prick, hoping to bring it to life. Fat chance! It just stayed limp.
"Oh. Fatima. I'm too tired. You can see that," said Freddy, lifting her hand off and placing it on the sheet.
"Maybe later this evening?" Fatima pleaded.
Freddy frowned. "Fuck, Fatima. I've got other things arranged for tonight. What made you think it'd be a good idea to come round?"
"Well, after yesterday…"
"Yesterday?" Freddy frowned. "What do you mean?" Then his face lightened up. "Oh, I remember. Yeah. Well, don't worry about yesterday. These things happen."
"What do you mean? 'Don't worry about yesterday'? Are you saying that…?" Despite herself, Fatima could feel tears of frustration and self-pity surface and threaten to burst free.
"Oh. Fuck! Fatima! Don't make a scene," sighed an exasperated Freddy. "Look. We're friends, right. Yesterday was just one of those things. Just don't take it personal."
Fatima took her hand off Freddy's thigh and wedged it together with her other hand in the expansive comforting flesh between her round knees. Her shoulder-length bob fell forward over her round cheeks and hid her eyes from view.
It was actually quite a relief when Ella finally returned from the kitchen carrying a tray with three mugs on it. It had been a long three quarters of an hour for Fatima, sitting on the side of the bed, avoiding any conversation on the two things uppermost in her mind, namely her disillusionment with Freddy and her rapacious desire for sex. Freddy just lay there, his prick still on view, leaving it to Fatima to change the CD to another choice when the final vocal breaks had died away. Fatima chose the more relaxing sound of M J Cole, dismissing all the Hard House, Acid Techno and Breakbeat compilations that mostly dominated his collection. Freddy didn't complain about her choice for a change, but Fatima almost wished she'd chosen something with fewer lyrics and definitely fewer on the subject of love and romance. She could imagine herself in every heartfelt song, either relating to lost love or envying those who had it good.
"I was terribly afraid I'd not given you enough time together," Ella said with a smile as she handed out the coffees. "But you've definitely not wasted your time." Ella seemed oblivious to the lack of complicity to her comments in the sight of a Freddy who was collapsed in much the same state as he was when she'd left and a Fatima who was rolling up on the cover of one of Freddy's dance magazines. "I was talking to Barry down there. Seems everyone's out this evening 'cept me and you. And Fatima here."
"I'm out as well. I've got an appointment in South Ken," Freddy boasted.
Ella smiled. "Well then, it's just me and Fatima. But hey! We can always go down the Elephant. You fancy that, Fatima?"
"Yeah. Sure," Fatima agreed, sealing the seam of her three-skinner and tightening the twist. "Whatever."
Thank fuck for Lebanon's principal export, which ensured that the next few hours passed by with rather less stress and tension than it might otherwise have done. And also spared Fatima the embarrassment of seeing Ella and Freddy make love again. Even when it was her turn to wander down to the kitchen to refill the coffee mugs, and she got talking to Eunice about the dreadful stink coming out of the lavatory bowl, when she returned, half-expecting to see Freddy's prick inside Ella again, all there was to see was Freddy sorting out some clothes to wear and the back of Ella's arse, barely covered by her pale green undies, as she hunted for CDs of her choice in Freddy's extensive but not diverse CD collection. And so it was to the happy clappy handbag beat of one of Freddy's older compilations that the three of them prepared for their Tuesday evening out.
The Elephant & Firkin was not one of the trendiest pubs around, but it was the one that Freddy and the others from his house tended to visit most frequently. Ella ordered the first couple of drinks while Fatima sat in an alcove tapping the end of her Marlboro onto the table. She'd warmed to Ella as the evening progressed, and hadn't really minded too much when Freddy left them for the Northern Line. Though she felt a pang of regret as he kissed Ella goodbye for much longer than he had ever kissed her. And it didn't help that almost as soon as Freddy had gone, Ella was dissing his lack of imagination in bed. It wasn't imaginative lovemaking that Fatima missed. It was lovemaking of any kind.
Ella was cheerful and fun to be with, dispelling many of Fatima's darker thoughts, as they sat together, cigarettes dangling from their fingers, watching the traffic of regular pubgoers through the blue haze of tobacco smoke. But Fatima wished that Ella wouldn't keep going on about sex. Sure, it was a subject of almost infinite interest, but her conversation only made Fatima feel the more inadequate. It wasn't only that she talked about Freddy. In fact, Freddy was barely mentioned at all. But there were too many names for Fatima to keep up with, and she knew only a small percentage of them. And the boys were all described in terms of sexual preferences and the sexual activity that Ella had enjoyed with them. Twosomes. Threesomes. Anal. Double entry.
"Though I much prefer two in the front, rather than one in both hole," Ella asserted. "It can get quite sore in the arse, you know."
Fatima didn't know, but she nodded sagely.
Was there no combination that Ella hadn't enjoyed? Was there no place she'd not done it? She'd gone mad in Ibiza. She'd gone mad in Crete and Turkey. She'd done it on the dance floor. She'd done it at the bus stop. She'd done it on the beach at Brighton, after a night out at the Zap Club.
"So. What about you, Fatima? You ever gone mad?"
Fatima shook her head sadly. She just couldn't compete with Ella. And she didn't have the confidence to lie about it either. "I've never really gone mad. In that way. Ever."
"What? You've never been to the Balearics or anything?"
"Yeah. I've been there. With a friend. But we never really got it off much."
"Surely you got fucked by someone? You can't go to Ibiza and not get fucked."