What did people think when they saw me? What did I think when I saw myself?
These were the questions that I often asked myself. Normally, there was no common ground between my tormentors and myself, but there was one thing that we could both agree on: I was a nobody. Just the fat, ugly middle child.
“Hey Isabella, guess what?” a perky voice exclaimed. By the sound of it, I knew she had something exciting to tell me. And by exciting, I meant dreadful.
Against my better judgement, I looked up. Amanda, my one and only best friend, stood in front of me with a wide grin on her face.
“What?” I asked. I tried to sound half as eager as she did. And trust me, that task was easier said than done. She was oozing with enthusiasm.
“Well, you know Jason… the guy you like?” she asked, her brown eyes wide.
“Um, yeah… what about him?” I asked, blushing a light pink as I thought about my crush. Okay, so maybe this news wasn’t as dreadful as I thought it would be.
“Well, we’re invited to his after-party!”
“A-After party?” My mouth dropped open. “How is that even possible?”
“Who cares? Now you can go and confess your undying love for him,” she stated, wiggling her eyebrows at me.
“I don’t know what to tell you, but . . . you know that I have no chance with him, right?” I said, knowing that it’s true. I glanced down at my overweight body. “I mean look at me.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
I frowned. “Are you really going to make me say it?”
I wasn’t looking at her, but I could practically feel her rolling her eyes. “You’re very pretty,” she said, even though I knew the truth. I was anything but pretty.
“You don’t have to lie, you know. I know I’m not. I mean, I was voted ‘ugliest girl in school’, remember?” I said, my mind resignedly remembering that day.
“You mean by those immature pricks whose lives solely depend on their insecurities to suffice what they think is a satiable person? I hardly think they know what ‘cool’ is to make a stupid list,” she said with a snort.
“Well, they’re right, and I don’t want to go to that party,” I said, going back to reading my book. I was about to get to the good part when she slapped her hands on it, and closed it shut.
“But you have to go! It’ll be fun,” she whined, giving me her infamous puppy dog eyes. “I hardly doubt that what you’re reading will be anywhere near as fun as seeing your crush.”
She had a good point. “Fine, but I’m only going because of you.” She opened her mouth to say something before I cut her off, ”Not because of Jason,” I said, giving in to her again. I only partially lied.
“Thank you! You won’t regret it,” she yelled, and hugged me tightly.
“I better not,” I grumbled back.
“You won’t. I’ll see you after school, my place as always,” she said, then ran off to gosh knows where.
Shaking my head at her, I sent her a small wave back, attempting once more to ignore how I looked compared to her thin, pretty frame. Once again, I failed.
According to the student body (well mostly the insubordinate jerks) of Woodway, I’m the girl who should buy a paper bag big enough to cover my face and body. I could see why though, I do weigh more than anyone in this pretentious prep school of mine. That’s right, I’m fat and I get teased a lot. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I’m also the ugly ducking in my family.
Usually, people just assumed I was adopted. Which, in reality, I knew why they would. I’m the exact opposite of my family. My older brother, John, basically ruled Woodway before graduating last year. He had a few small roles in a few films before realizing that it wasn’t something he wanted to focus on. So instead, he did what most teenagers his age did and ran off to college.
Even my parents managed to completely make me the odd one out. They were both extremely successful and well respected in the fashion industry. Simply being in the same room as them takes a hit at your self esteem. Their swanky appearances and pristine demeanor screamed wealth. But not even their hefty sum of cash could keep my tormentors at bay.
Somehow, even my eight-year-old sister made me seem like a chump. She was unmistakably beautiful, and she even managed to woo the cameras of Hollywood with her dazzling little smile and cute personality.
I’ve come to terms with being the sore thumb, and even though I heard the words ‘you’re beautiful’ from them everyday, I still knew that they were just doing their duties as my family; lying to me to spare my feelings.
I gave out a dreaded sigh when I heard the loud ring, signaling the end of Study Hall. As I began walking to my locker, people were laughing and whispering quietly about me amongst themselves like they always did.
When I got to my locker, there was a note stuck on it. I took it off and saw that it was a crude drawing of me with the subtitle, “Isa-cow.” Quickly crumpling it up, I threw it on the ground without a second glance, far too embarrassed to look up.
After I grabbed my stuff and began the walk towards my car, I felt the world tilting as I felt the touch of a foot in my path. My glasses slipped off the bridge of my nose as I fell, scrambling around on the floor as I tried to find them, only to find my hands grasping empty air. I could make out the blur shapes of my classmates gathering around me, pointing and laughing at me as I groped and tried not to cry.
“Do these belong to you?” a familiar, snide voice asked.
I looked up and from what I could see, there was a guy holding out my glasses, but it wasn’t just any guy. It was Thomas, the meat head who assumed in that tiny brain of his that he had actually conquered my brother’s territory after he’d left last year.
He had the all-American good looks. From the shaggy blond hair and bright ocean blue eyes, to the muscular tan body. If only he wasn’t such a jerk, maybe then he’d be considered attractive.
“Give them back.” I reached out for them, but he just held them up higher. I jumped as high as I could, but found that I still couldn’t reach them. I was at a disadvantage as he practically towered over me with his height, while I on the other hand, made it just over five feet.
“Well, well the girl has a voice,” he said, as he waved my glasses tauntingly in front of me.
“Just give them back, please,” I pleaded with him.
"Aw. Did you hear that everyone?” He faced the crowd before he made eye contact with me again. “She said please.”
Everyone who was still around us began laughing, their laughter getting louder and louder with each chuckle. “I really need to go.”
“Aw, come on, what’s the rush? It’s not like you have a boyfriend . . . or anywhere to be for that matter,” he said mocking me.
“I still need to get home.”
“Hmm . . . now just how are you going to get home without your glasses?” he asked.
“I could be halfway there if you’d just give them back to me,” I said again.
“Okay, fine. Here you go,” he said, surprising me with the sincerity in his tone.
“Thanks.” I sighed, feeling relieved as I held my hands out for them.
The next thing I knew, I heard my glasses skittering across the parking lot as Thomas kicked them as hard as he could.
“Why’d you do that?” I yelled, the threat of tears stinging my eyes. How was I going to find them now? I could barely see what’s in front of me.
“What?” he asked, with a chuckle. “I tried to give them back. Not my fault you can’t catch.”
“But you kicked them!”
“I kicked them by mistake. Geez, I’m sorry,” he said, the sarcasm practically dripping out of his voice, before the shape of his body disappeared along with his friends.
Hopelessly, I went back to scrounging around for my glasses, but to no avail. The sound of footsteps made me pause as I hoped it wasn’t Thomas and his friends again. I swallowed hard. I could see the shadow of a person, but was too afraid to look up.
“Here,” a gentle voice said as my glasses were pressed into my palm.
“Um, thank you,” I murmured, and put my glasses back on.
Blinking, I took in the form of a tall figure, realizing a little too late that it was none other than Jason himself. Cheeks growing warm, I took in his tall athletic build and messy unkempt hair that only he could pull off, along with his soft piercing blue eyes surrounded with specks of gray. He was all around gorgeous! Something deep within me churned as I sheepishly met his eyes.
“Jason?” I asked, not quite believing that I was saying his name . . . to his face may I point out.
“Hey Isabella,” he said, smiling.
“Um, thanks . . . again—for my um, my uh, glasses! I mean, thanks for—” I trailed off as I stammered, keeping my eyes on my feet. I couldn’t really speak when I was looking into those captivating eyes of his.
“No problem.” He laughed at my obvious impishness. “Well, I guess I’ll see you at my party tonight?” he asked with a casual grin.
“Yeah, sure. I, um, I guess,” I answered quickly, finally looking up at him. He chuckled as he turned away, sending me a wave good-bye.
I thought my heart was going to explode from how quickly it was beating. What Jason had just done was exactly why I liked him. He was nice, even though he was considered to be an Adonis in the halls of Woodway Prep, yet he still managed to act like a decent human being. Never mind the fact that he happened to be one of my brother’s good friends, but I had had a crush on him since . . . well forever really.
Sighing, I walked towards my car, shooting Amanda a quick text, letting her know I was on my way to her place. She responded seconds later.
Okay, see you there.
I pocketed my phone and climbed grudgingly into my car.
I honestly hoped that this party wouldn’t be like the others Amanda had dragged me to . . .