Reaching out a hand, Griffin tapped Bastien’s chin until he looked up. “Bastien, are you broke?” he asked in the kindest tone he could. It was the only thing he could think of as to why the man wasn’t eating.
“No!” he shouted in horror. “I’ve got money.”
“Then why don’t you eat?”
Jerking his face away from Griffin’s finger, Bastien looked at the wall. “You saw me today.”
Griffin stared at him, not understanding. “And?”
Turning back around, Bastien waved at his slim body. “I’m a hippo! A marshmallow! I know I’m fat, Griffin. And I used to keep it fairly well contained when I exercised, but I stopped exercising when Carl let me know how ugly I looked when doing so. And I know I shouldn’t eat sweets but they’re so good. And when I eat one, I figure if I starve myself afterward, I won’t put on any weight.”
Griffin stared at him in shock. “Bastien, you’re not fat.”
“I am, too! I’ve always been round. I can’t help it. My parents were round, too. So are my two sisters.” Tears leaked from Bastien’s eyes. “And nobody wants the effeminate fat boy.”
“Holy shit,” Griffin muttered, yanking the man into his arms. “Did you feel this way before Carl?”
Bastien made an unsuccessful attempt at pulling out of his arms, but from Griffin’s point of view, he didn’t really try hard. “I always knew I was kind of feminine at times,” he mumbled after giving up and leaning against Griffin’s chest. “In college, I used to sneak into a local gay club every Sunday night for drag queen night. They loved Saffron Noel. But after college, my job took me to a new town and I was too afraid of being found out. And then Carl came into my life.” The silence in the room after that line was filled with so much meaning that Griffin wanted to go find the bastard and kick him in the nuts.
“Talk to me,” he murmured when Bastien stayed silent. If he could get him to talk, maybe he could get him to eat.