Gem in the Rough

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Gemma is a junior in college who is focused on work and school. There's no time for anything else according to her father and it begins to weigh on her heavily. Another thing that's heavy. is Gemma's weight. Her body image has improved since going to therapy but just like anyone else, her insecurities are still there sometimes. Gemma is confident, yet shy; organized yet anxious. She's the epitome of an overweight college student with daddy issues. And mommy issues. Just issues in general. Kieran is a junior in college who is focused on surviving. There's alcohol, sex, and anything else that can keep him out of his own head. Kieran is from a small town that holds a dark part of his past and he's doing anything he can to forget. He is moody, goofy, and mysterious. He's also so much more than anyone thinks. When Gemma and Kieran cross paths, it's a twist of fate that will change their lives forever.

Romance / Drama
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Waking up at 5am every morning is not something that I thought I’d ever be doing, but here I am. I hit the snooze for the third time, knowing it’s the final time before having to get up for the day.

Rolling onto my back, I bring my phone with me to look over any notifications I received during the night. Of course, there’s nothing because nobody is up this early and every one of my friends knows I go to bed before it’s dark outside. I send a quick Snap-chat picture to my best friend, Alice, to continue our streak. I write “good morning” with a picture of myself with my bedhead sprawled around my shoulders.

My alarm goes off again, causing me to sit up and swing my legs out from underneath my comforter. I’ve turned into a morning person over the last two years of college because of my job at the Technology Support office. It pays the bills, mostly anyway, but I still have to tutor on the side for extra money. Speaking of money, I open my bank application on my phone to check the damage. I cringe at the amount staring back at me. Just enough to pay my bills but no money for fun. What’s fun anyway? I don’t even know the word. I sigh and exit the app and look towards my nightstand at the picture of me and my dad.

We’re sitting on a bench at a park I used to go to growing up. I’m about seven years old in the picture and I have a big toothy grin on my face, looking up at him. Even then I was looking to him for approval constantly.

Oh, dad. I’m trying.

I stand from the bed and grab my clothes for the day. I quietly open my bedroom door and start to walk towards the bathroom, attempting to get ready for the day without waking Alice. Living in an apartment with your best friend while you’re both in college has its perks, but when she isn’t a fan of being awake before 9am and it’s your job to be up by 5am, it can cause some issues.

When in the bathroom, I turn the light on and shut the door. Turning towards the mirror, I jump slightly from the sight of my current state. My auburn hair is unruly, to say the least, and my not-so-flat stomach is showing under my tank top that had ridden up during the night. I squint to read the post-it notes on our mirror with positive affirmations of “you’re beautiful”, “you’re a boss-ass bitch”, “curvy is sexy”, and “you’re fat and you’re valid”. I smile and tell myself “You are a hot mess, emphasis on the hot”.

A lot of people get upset with me when I call myself “fat”, but honestly it needs to stop being such a bad word. It’s a way to describe myself because the fact is, I have fat on my body, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a valid person. My body does not define my beauty or my worth as a person, and I’ve been trying my damnedest to educate myself so I can be better aware of myself. Even when I explain all of this, barely anyone understands. Alice does though, and that’s why we have the affirmations on the mirror to look at every day.

After my morning positivity routine, I shower, get dressed, and do my hair and makeup, taking the minimal approach. I smile to myself in the mirror and read the affirmations again, this time without squinting because my contacts have been put in. I smooth out my business casual attire over my curves, admiring all of myself, and nod my approval.

“Gemma?” I hear Alice croak from behind the bathroom door. I open it to find her there with bedhead worse than mine had been, her light brown hair up in a messy bun.

“Sorry, did I wake you?” I grimace.

“No, it wasn’t you this time. It was my urge to pee. Can I go now please?” She laughs as she starts doing her “I gotta go” dance. I smile and exit the bathroom, waving my arms in an ‘after you’ motion. She smirks and doesn’t even bother to shut the door. I roll my eyes and walk down the hallway.

“Have a good day, lady!” I yell to her before grabbing an iced coffee drink from the fridge and putting my bag on my shoulder. I rush out the door, but not before I hear a less-than-enthusiastic “you too” come from the bathroom.


“Gemma? Can you answer the phone please?” Anthony yells to me from the room next door where he’s printing some posters to go in the quad.

I sigh and scoot my chair across the front desk to the opposite side, almost tipping over in the process. Gaining my balance, I hurriedly answer the phone, “WSU Tech Office, this is Gemma”. I speak with the girl on the phone about a laptop issue she’s having and schedule her to come in this afternoon for an appointment with a tech. I add this to the online calendar and roll back over to my placement at the long semi-circle desk.

Anthony comes out of the printer room a minute later and thanks me for answering the phone. “Anything important?” He stands next to my chair looking down on me with his green eyes. Anthony is incredibly good looking, but completely into men. If he weren’t then I’d be in trouble. I’m a sucker for dark hair and bright eyes; and he knows it, his olive skin adding to his look.

“Nah, just a tech appointment. I arranged it for this afternoon. We have a few techs in and room on the schedule, so it shouldn’t be a big deal?”

“Yeah, we also have someone new starting today too. I think his name is Kyle? Kayden? Something with a ‘K’.”

I laugh at Anthony’s description and tell him to have fun training the newbie, since it’s something a lot of us at the office dread. He stares at me guiltily, biting his lip and holding the posters against his chest. Damnit.

“Please don’t tell me I have to train him?” I grunt and lay my head on the desk, my forehead touching the cool surface, when Anthony nods. “Why?” I can’t help the whine that escapes my throat.

“I’m too busy with these posters and preparing for the tech fair. You’ll have to take this one. Sorry!” Anthony walks out of the office to put up the posters, leaving me with my head down on my desk. Yeah, right. He’s not sorry at all.

I hate training new people, especially when they are of the male variety. I can be so socially inept. I’m confident, sure, but that doesn’t mean I know how to handle myself all the time. I reminisce about the time I spilled my soda on a guy who was working concessions at the movie theater. He started talking to me and I didn’t know how to respond to his flirting. I had reached for my drink, but it fell over the counter. Let’s just say I didn’t get anything from him after that, not even a new soda.

Guess it’s time to “fake it til I make it”.

I don’t know how long I lay there, contemplating how my awkward ass is going to train this dude whose ‘name starts with a K’, but the next thing I hear is someone clearing their throat. I shoot up, brushing my curly locks from my face and look up, seeing that is where the noise had come from.

Holy hell. Who is he?

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