Steak in the Fridge
Hey! Uh, I don’t want to sound pushy, but I was wondering if you could write me a birthday fic? It’s my birthday, and I really love your fics. Uh, it’s fine if you don’t write it. Sorry if this sounds pushy also. Jesus, I’m really nervous talking to you, so sorry for the awkward texting thing that’s happening D: Oh! The prompt, right. Could it be a ahot6 (Jack centric) where he’s self conscious about his weight, since gav/ray are sticks, so he like, slowly stops eating? Angst or fluff, whatever.
A/N: Happy belated birthday, my Birfday kid! I’m still sorry this is late. Warning for starving oneself, self esteem issues, and the start of a possible eating disorder.
He’s not obese. Jack knows that, and he knows that having the fat he does is perfectly healthy. It says nothing about his strength, his personality, or his life. There’s only one thing it really says about him- he eats. Really, it’s something Jack tries his best not to worry over. He’s comfortable in his body. Sure, sometimes he’s got moments of low self-esteem but it’s normal to feel that way every once in a while. Normal to have some doubts at times.
What’s not normal is starting to have them on a daily basis when they were rare before. The days where he catches himself staring at his chest and stomach in the bathroom mirror before and after a shower, losing himself in the thought that if they were just a bit smaller…If he was just a bit more fit…Jack knows that they started to increase when they all moved in together- stemming from his worry that he’d roll over and crush Ray or Gavin in his sleep.
They were just so tiny. So very thin and frail-looking even though he knew they were healthy. They were fine, healthy, and very nice to look at. Especially when stood next to him. They looked far more attractive in comparison to him- he’d even gotten used to it being assumed that he was just their brother or friend while they were out. Gavin got hit on a lot when the two of them went out alone- no matter how close he stood to Jack or how tightly they held hands. Ray just generally got pulled aside to talk to people who didn’t quite get how to flirt.
Very few of either group actually believed they were with him. There’d been more than one comment about how they could never find such a whale to be a catch, how they got he was a protective brother, and how surely they didn’t have to settle. Jack ignores such idiocy for the most part but when the doubt started to grow, they snuck up on him. Found the weakness in his eyes as they examined what he was losing confidence in.
Jack didn’t purposely stop eating. Really, he hadn’t even noticed he was doing it at first. A few snacks missed was nothing. A breakfast skipped every few days was ignorable. Passing on dinner once a week wasn’t out of the question. It wasn’t until the idea of eating out with the boys filled him with a sense of dread that he even realized what he had been doing. He’s not stupid. He knows that not eating won’t help any. Especially if he keeps eating every once in a while- that’s a surefire way to gain weight. Doing it just makes the body cling and store the food it’s afraid it may not get again in time.
Skipping meals isn’t healthy, and starving himself isn’t any healthier. Honestly, he’s more surprised that he lasted for so long without them really noticing anything too out of the ordinary. Sure his energy was lower, but they were recording more and they were all stretching themselves thin. He was tired more often, but that was easily passed off as stress. Drinking more water more often was just a sign of summer, even if his water level seemed excessive. Even the pain was easily explained away.
However, turning down being treated to his favorite barbeque place for lunch with Geoff and Michael?
That isn’t something he can just explain away. He’s already said today that he’s not sick. That he’s a bit tired and a little stressed, but not that he had any sort of illness. There’s no way he can just undo what he’s done, or hide this away anymore because he’s never turned down a free lunch there. Sick, busy, full, it didn’t matter- he’d still go. But now he’d said no without even giving it thought, without justification, without hesitation.
He may as well have just admitted he was on the verge of developing an eating disorder- it’d have the same effect.
“Jack, what’s going on?” Michael asks, brows furrowed.
“Baby are you sure you’re not sick or something? You said you’d been having stomach pains yesterday…” Geoff adds cautiously, and he knows that it’s an out. It’s an option to avoid this conversation and never have to face it again. He can’t take it.
“I’m fine. I just can’t eat right now.” Jack tries, waving off their suspicion.
“We’ll bring you something back then. What do you want?” Michael insists. It hurts Jack’s heart a bit. They just want to treat him and he can’t even let them because he feels like he’s not skinny enough to be worthy of them. To be attractive to them. To be happy with them. It’s shallow, it’s dumb, and God damnit he knows better. That doesn’t stop him from shaking his head anyways, digging this hole further. Failing to be able to get over a wave of self doubt- when the love of his boys is obvious- is one of the most frustrating things he’s ever dealt with.
“You’re getting something anyways. You can’t go the whole day without eating.” Geoff doesn’t know he’s been doing exactly that for almost four days now. Two weeks before that he was only eating dinner or lunch. Now he tries to protest but it doesn’t get him anywhere. The two of them won’t allow him to just not get something- they even start to worry about leaving him alone in the office. So he agrees to something he doesn’t actually listen to as a dinner option they’ll bring for him.
When they get back, he hides it in his backpack and says he’ll eat it at home. He doesn’t. Jack waits until the crew falls asleep before taking it out of his backpack and hiding it in the back of the fridge. Someone will eat it before it goes bad, probably without questioning where it came from. Sliding back into bed, he can’t ignore the way Gavin flinches away when he accidentally lies some weight on him- still too heavy. Still too big. Jack lays a bit further away and falls asleep wondering how much they’ll come to hate him when they realize what he’s been doing.