Chapter 1 | The Beginning
*Beep beep beep*
I groggily open one eye while struggling to lift my left arm over towards my bedside table.
*Beep beep beep*
I slam my hand down on what I thought was my purple alarm clock, but instead I just hit the surface of the table causing me to grunt.
*Beep beep beep*
Feeling irritated, I lift my head up and pop both eyes open making sure to actually hit the alarm clock with determination, suddenly relieved when I am welcomed with silence.
I slowly lower my head back down against my plush pillow, letting my eyes flutter until they are fully closed, smiling at the darkness that surrounds me.
I inhale a deep breath of air and sigh contently, snuggling my comforter around my shivering body.
I am finally at peace again when suddenly...
“Addilyn Bishop, you better not be sleeping!”
I glare, but make no attempt to move.
As I hear loud footsteps echoing from outside of my bedroom door, I quickly pull the covers over my head and pretend to be at one with the mattress.
When my door suddenly swings open, I instantly cease from moving.
“Addilyn. If I heard correctly, and I know that I did, your alarm has gone off already.” My mom says from across the room.
“This is all a dream mom. You’re actually still sleeping soundly in your own bed.” I smirk from under the covers.
“You know what, you’re right. This must be a dream because the Addilyn I know would never keep her room looking this bad.” I hear my mom sigh.
I resist the urge to roll my eyes.
I fling the blanket off my face and turn to look at my mom who is now picking up my clothes from the floor, and placing them in my dirty clothes hamper.
“Mom, stop cleaning my room. I am more than capable.” I deadpan.
“Oh really? Then why wasn’t this done already?” She asks.
“I said more than capable, not that I wanted to.” I smirk as I sit up in bed and stretch my arms out.
“You kids today... I don’t see how you enjoy living like slobs.” My mom states while putting the last piece of clothing into my black hamper.
“Times have changed mom. Nobody cares if their rooms are messy and you shouldn’t either.” I get up from bed and drag my feet towards my closet to pick out an outfit.
Just as I yank my closet door open, my dad pops his head into my bedroom door.
“Breakfast is ready!” He cheers.
“The sass is real with this one.” My mother scoffs while pointing her head towards me.
“Sass huh? Should we return fire or just break out into song?” My dad smirks in my direction.
“Ugh both of you get out!” I yell while taking out a pair of plain blue jeans and a dark purple sweater from my messy closet.
“Fine Addie, but hurry up if you want any breakfast. You know how your brother is.” My mom sang as she pushes my dad from the entrance of my bedroom door and closes it behind them.
My parents are everything to me. Their quirky and odd behavior is what actually gives them their charm, if I'm being completely honest.
I grab my phone from my bedside table and send a text to Angelica.
Me: Hey Ang, meet you by my locker! Xoxo
Angie: You got it babe!
I smile at her reply and place my outfit for the day on my bed while I make my way to my bathroom.
I shut the door behind me and make sure to lock it.
I take one look in the mirror and cringe at my awful appearance. My hair is a knotted mess and pointing out in about fifty-million different directions. I lick my lips and can actually taste that my teeth are screaming to be brushed.
After brushing my teeth, I slowly discard my pajamas and throw them on the floor beside my feet.
I look in the mirror again.
The mirror. My worst enemy.
I blink a few times to adjust my eyes, though I know my vision wouldn’t be clear without my glasses. I debate on going to grab them, but that would require more moving and I am simply too lazy for that.
Besides, I’d rather not see clear right now.
I look at my naked, vulnerable body through the glass of rejection and I frown.
I poke at my stomach and watch it move slightly. I lift my arms up and shake them to see if my slight arm fat is still there. It is.
I turn to the side and see the faint beginning of stretch marks forming around my love handles.
Scrunching my nose up in disgust, I quickly turn around and face the one household object that I obsess over. The one object that could make me or break me.
I suck in a deep breath and slowly place both feet on the cold, plastic surface. I slowly lower my head to see the number at the top rising. After what felt like a century, it stopped.
My eyes begin to water as I stare at the number.
Two hundred and seven.
I have gained five pounds since Thanksgiving. What is wrong with me?
I open the far right drawer of my bathroom sink and take out the tampons that fill the drawer. I lift the bottom of the drawer and place the piece of wood on the top of the sink, revealing a secret compartment inside of the drawer.
I reach in and pull out my little black journal. My diet journal.
I open to the last written page and look at the date.
October 25th, 2016.
My eyes widen in realization. I haven’t opened this book since the end of October. That means for nearly two months I haven’t been keeping track.
I silently curse myself and place the journal back into the compartment, placing the piece of wood over it and shoving the tampons back in the drawer, slamming it shut.
I need to do better this year. 2017 is a new beginning for me.
I will reach my goal.
I take one last longing look in the mirror before I peel my eyes away and pull back the shower curtain. I turn the hot water on and wait for the temperature I want, before stepping inside.
I let the hot water and steam engulf me. I take in a few deep breaths and begin scrubbing my body with my lavender body wash. After washing my hair, I stood underneath the showerhead and let the scorching hot water fall over my body.
Maybe with enough steam I can knock off another pound or two before school.
I shake my head to myself and reach forward, turning the water off. I get out of the shower and envelope my big purple towel around my body, not daring to look into the fogged up mirror again.
I exit the bathroom and begin getting dressed. Once I am satisfied with my entire body being covered, I walk over to my closet and put on a pair of socks followed by my black pair of Doc Martens.
After brushing my wet hair into a ponytail, I reach for my black glasses and push them on.
New Year, same unappealing look.
Finally, I grab my purple Jansport backpack and stroll down the stairs.
“Good morning!” I cheer while taking a seat next to Jacob.
“Morning sissy!” Jacob smiles while showing his missing two-front teeth.
I smirk. “I guess Santa missed the part about you wanting your two-front teeth for Christmas huh buddy?” I laugh.
“Yeah... Santa is a big meanie!” He frowns.
“Now, now honey, Santa got you all your favorite toys... no need to bad mouth him just because he didn’t bring you any teeth.” My mom coos while wiping a spot of ketchup from my little brother’s mouth.
Jacob is five years old and one of my best friends. He’s so pure and innocent that sometimes you can’t help but to just pick him up and wrap him in a tight hug, wanting to keep him as innocent as you can for as long as possible.
“Hey sissy.” He sang.
“C-Can I have your front teeth?” He smiles up at me and the sparkle in his little brown eyes were almost enough to make me want to pull out a pair of pliers and yank my own two front teeth out just to give to him.
“Sorry buddy, but these are permanent teeth. They can’t come out even if I wanted them to.” I frown.
“See.” I began pulling at my two front teeth to show him that they wouldn’t budge.
“If teeth are permanent, how come mine came out?” His eyes look like they were about to spew a few tears, so I quickly change the subject.
“Jacob, want to go to the park with me, Angelica and Jaxon after school today?” I smile down to him.
This instantly got his attention as he completely forgot all about the tooth discussion and perked up jumping up and down in his seat. “Yes yes yes!”
“Okay! I’ll come pick you up from kindergarten and we will walk you to the park.”
“Yay!” He cheered, accidentally throwing his bacon on the floor, which caused a glare from my mom who leaned over to pick it up.
“One condition though.” I point my finger at him.
“What?” He eagerly asks.
“You have to take your nap today!” I smirk which gained me some brownie points from my mom.
Jacob almost never takes his nap when he is supposed to. His teacher states he runs around while all the other kids are trying to sleep and kicks their sleeping mats to wake them up.
I keep trying to tell him that soon he won’t have taking a nap as an option and he will regret all the naps he’s missed out on. Soon the tiredness will take over and once you reach middle school and the homework starts to pile up, you will wish of nothing but naps.
Jacob mumbled some incoherent words to himself before looking up at me. It was almost as if he was having an internal debate with himself before he sighed. “Fine! I will take my nap today.” He agreed.
“Thank you! Now, I will be asking your teacher when I pick you up if you took your nap or not... so there will be absolutely no lying to me.” I smile while ruffling my fingers through his short brown hair.
“Okay sissy. I promise.” He gave me his toothy grin.
I finish eating my pancakes and grab a water bottle from the fridge before heading out of the front door.
“Bye mom, bye dad, bye Jacob!” I yell before closing the door shut after me.
As I am sitting at the bus stop, I look down at my stomach that is sticking out some. I try pulling at the bottom of my sweatshirt to stretch it out a little and it works. I smile at the loose fitting sweater while I change the channel on my Pandora app.
Once the bus arrived and I took my seat in the very back, I patiently wait for the rest of the kids to sit down and then we are off to school.
I silently sigh at my having to take the bus, while Angelica and Jaxon both live closer to school, so they are able to walk together.
After getting off the bus, I hurriedly walk inside the unwelcoming doors of Dunedin high and bolt to my locker.
Only a few feet away from my locker, I take a quick glance down at my shoes because it felt as though my strings were loose. Looking back up in front of me, it happens.
I slam into a thin, Chanel smelling queen. Rebecca Moore.
Her beautiful red locks of hair bounced at the sudden crash and I instantly suck in a tight breath dropping to the floor, frantically trying to pick up her things for her.
“Jesus cow! Watch where you’re going!” Her high-pitch voice screeches through the hallway, causing heads to turn.
“I-I’m so sorry Rebecca! Please, it was an accident. I-I was looking down and...” I trail off, feeling incredibly stupid. I quickly hand her the few items that fell to the floor, including her binder of paper and a textbook.
“Whatever. I guess running into you is inevitable these days.” She spat in disgust while tracing her eyes over my body.
I shudder under her gaze and a few moments later, my knight in shining armor appears.
Well actually, it is just Angelica in a pair of high-waisted blue jean shorts, but you get the idea.
“Rebecca, always a pleasure.” She grits through her teeth while flinging her perfect blonde hair over her shoulder.
Angelica places her arm over my shoulders and stares Rebecca down with a look that could kill.
“Ah, Angelica Sage. You know, my offer still stands girl. It’s such a shame having all of that beauty go to waste hanging out with the school’s outsiders.” She lazily sighs, looking quite bored with this confrontation. I look at Angelica with confusion seeping through my furrowed eyebrows.
Jaxon appears a few moments later, standing on the other side of me.
“Rebecca, go torment somebody else for a change.” He huskily barks while stepping an inch forward, ahead of both Angelica and I.
Rebecca rolls her light brown eyes before walking away, her two friends following suit behind her, as all three of their heels clank against the tile floor.
The other students who were enjoying the show suddenly lost interest and went back to their everyday lives of gossip and social media, as I watch nearly every other kid pull out his or her cellphone.
Angelica, Jaxon and I walk over to my locker and I sigh while putting in my locker combination.
“Addie, don’t worry about her. She’s nothing.” Angelica states while leaning against the locker that is to the left of mine.
Jaxon nods in approval of her statement while opening his locker that is on the other side of mine, to the right.
“Ang, what did she mean by her offer?” I question, having made a mental note to ask about it whenever we were free of Rebecca’s wrath.
“Oh it was nothing.” She shrugs her shoulders.
“Then tell me.” I insist while putting my backpack inside of my locker after grabbing my notebook that contains the homework that is due for math class, which is my first period.
“She asked me to try out for her cheerleading squad, but there’s no way in possible hell that I would do that. A bunch of stuck up witches prancing around in skimpy skirts with their almighty, ‘I’m better than you’ attitudes. Forget that.” She scoffs, trying excessively too hard to convince me that joining the cheerleading squad is a suicide note just waiting to happen.
I smirk at her response and close my locker door, locking it shut.
“Thank god for that Ang, ’cause I can’t stand those girls and their prissy foo-foo ‘hey look at me!’ auras.” Jax chuckles while locking his locker shut as well.
Angelica rolls her eyes with a smile.
“Both of you shut up, would ya? I declined didn’t I?”
“Yes, and I am eternally grateful. You can’t leave me alone with him.” I glance in Jaxon’s direction and I laugh as his face frowns.
“Oh don’t worry girl, I would never let that happen!” Angelica smiles while pulling me in for a side hug.
“Um, hello... yeah hey, I’m standing right here.” Jaxon deadpans while pointing at himself as we all three walk to our math class.
I love sharing first period with both of my best friends. It is a perfect start to an annoyingly long and dreadful day.
“Can you believe Winter break is already over?” I sigh while taking my seat in the middle of Angelica and Jaxon.
“I know... on the plus side, the school year is almost over. Then, seniors here we come!” Angelica cheers while punching her fist into the air.
I smile at that. One-step closer to becoming seniors means one-step closer to college. Then I can get the heck out of this town and start over some place new.
“Class, settle down!” Mrs. Andrews shouts over our voices.
“We have a new student starting this semester!” Everyone eventually quieted down as the door to the classroom suddenly opened.
That is when he walked in.
The curiosity in the air spread through the entire classroom and all of the eyes instantly moved to him, as if he were a giant magnet and we were being pulled by some secret magnetic force.
I followed everyone’s gaze and our eyes met. He gave a small smirk and I couldn’t tell if he was directing it towards me, or towards everyone else.
His eyes are a deep, chestnut color that sends a gentle, warm feeling wherever they wander. His hair is short and styled to perfection. The dark caramel color of his hair looks soft, as if it is begging my fingers to run through it.
He is a tall, dark haired god and so far, he has gained the attention of every single female in this entire classroom.
I immediately, and with all my might, peel my eyes away from his gaze and focus on my notebook, pretending to write notes down from the board even though class had not yet started.
“Sweet Jesus, forgive me for my sinful thoughts.” Angie whisper-yells into my ear while leaning over her seat towards me. This causes Jaxon to grunt.
“Ang, shut up.” I say through gritted teeth.
“Everyone, please help me by welcoming Shane Teller to Dunedin high. Shane is a junior like the rest of you, so please make him feel comfortable!” Mrs. Andrews announced while standing up from her desk.
“Shane, sit anywhere you’d like.” She gestures to the rows of desks laid out across the classroom.
I was silently praying that an empty chair would just magically appear directly next to mine, when he starts to walk towards me.
I suck in a tight breath and keep my eyes off him as he takes the empty seat, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
As soon as he sits down, I lift my eyes to meet the back of his beautiful head. I glance to my left at Angie and give her a smirk to which she rolls her bright blue eyes.
“Can you two stop ogling over the new kid and help me answer these questions from our homework before Mrs. Andrews picks up our papers?” Jaxon sighs while trying to get Angie and I’s attention.
At Jax’s sudden outburst, which causes Shane to turn around and smirk at us, we both turn towards Jax and give him an icy glare. Shane lets out a raspy chuckle, which is like music to my ears might I add, and then turns back around to face the front of the classroom.
I want to throw my textbook at Jax's face. We both hand Jaxon our papers so he can quickly copy us and then he gave them back before Mrs. Andrews started with the lesson.
“Before we begin, please pass your papers to the person in front of you and so on and so forth until they reach me at the front.”
My eyes slightly widen as Shane turns around to face me.
“H-Here.” I quickly say while shoving my homework in his face.
He smiles and takes hold of the piece of paper, then looks down at it.
“It’s nice to meet you Addilyn.” He smirks, staring a hole straight through me, before turning back around and passing my paper to the boy sitting in front of him.
My breath hitches in my throat and I curse myself for not saying anything back.
“Smooth, Addie, real smooth.” Angie whispers next to me.
I stare up at the ceiling and close my eyes, sighing.
“Shut. Up.” I whisper which causes Angie to snort.
As Mrs. Andrews began her small lecture, I let my mind take me elsewhere. I gaze at the back of Shane’s perfect head while imagining what our future children might look like.
I shook the thoughts away once realizing that Shane would NEVER go for someone like me. I be, but a small spec on the Shane radar. On a good day, if that.
That’s when I reach into my backpack and pull out my apple that I swiped from the fruit basket this morning on my way out the door.
The weight is holding you back, Addilyn. You need to lose it if you ever want to stand a chance.
I take a large bite of the crisp, juicy apple and smile.
My body image will not define me this year. Not if I have anything to do about it.
I will not let the storm inside of my head, drown me from all of the possible happiness that this year has to offer.