Authors: C.M. Smith
Tags: #Romance, #young adult, #high school
First published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop, 2011
Copyright © C.M. Smith, 2011
The right of C.M. Smith to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her under the
Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced, copied, scanned, stored in a retrieval system, recorded or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Writer’s Coffee Shop
(Australia) PO Box 2013 Hornsby Westfield NSW 1635
(USA) PO Box 2116 Waxahachie TX 75168
Paperback ISBN- 978-1-61213-042-2
E-book ISBN- 978-1-61213-043-9
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the US Congress Library.
Cover image by: Jomann
Cover design by: Jennifer McGuire
C.M. Smith doesn’t remember ever not writing or reading. Like so many young children, her mother and grandmother read to her every night before she went to bed and before long, she’d decided to try her hand at writing something of her own. She has spent the better part of her life writing short stories or novels that she’s only shared with a few select people. She finally took the plunge in late 2009 and decided to publish her first novel,
C.M. lives in upstate New York with her family.
First, I’d like to thank everyone that has this book in their hands for reading. I want to say that a size fourteen, in my opinion, is not a big or bad size. I’m a size fourteen, in fact, and I happen to think that there’s nothing wrong with that.
I hope that this was evident in my writing, as it was never my intention to imply fourteen was anything other than a size. I chose that size simply because I was close to it and was able to relate to that more—not for any other reason.
I hope that everyone who has read this has been able to realize that you’re all beautiful, no matter what size you may be. Never let anyone tell you differently.
Thank you for reading,
It was not a bad number.
It was not that great, either.
It used to be an eighteen; so really, a fourteen was pretty damn good compared to what it was a few months ago.
It was still a big number, and staring at the jeans lying on my bed, they looked pretty damn big, too.
I wasn’t thin. I was moderately pretty and had more personality in my left toe than most of the girls at school had at all.
Arianna Weller was my name, synonymous with size fourteen, and no one was able to see past
. At least, the guys couldn’t. Most of the popular girls couldn’t, either.
Christina did, and she was popular. It continually surprised me when she hung out with me or sat with me during lunch. Her boyfriend—third baseman, Vince—was one of the few guys that actually didn’t make fun of me behind my back and would freely walk up and talk to me if he saw me in the hallway. Kyle Mahon would sometimes, too, but that was only if no one else was around to rag on him about it.
I didn’t even consider a size fourteen that big, to be honest. Marilyn Monroe had been a size fourteen, and she’d been considered a beautiful woman. Of course, that was many years ago, and society’s image of a beautiful woman had severely changed since then. I’ve learned that if you’re above a size four, you have to have some severe personality quirks to fit in—be a class clown, or you just have to be lucky enough to be confident with who you are and what you look like. I am neither of those things.
I didn’t have many friends. I had acquaintances that I talked to during the day, but none of them were anything near a friend for me. It was by choice more than anything. I’d gotten used to being picked on and put down or betrayed by people I thought were friends. They either told secrets that I’d rather they kept—well, secret—or they just distanced themselves from me because I was no longer cool enough for them.
I didn’t know what it was about me that pushed people away. I didn’t do it on purpose, but it happened more often than not. Maybe I was just too . . . me. Though I often thought about compromising to fit in, to be “enough” for them, I just couldn’t.
I’d gotten used to not being good enough, and at the end of the previous school year, I’d done myself a favor. I’d kept myself as far away from as many people as possible in this tiny shithole. I was off to college next year—New York University—and if I could get through my last year at Collins Point High as peacefully as possible, I’d be a very happy person. The fewer attachments I had when I left, the easier it would be to move somewhere and start over.
I was all about starting over.
Shuffling my feet against the carpet, I grabbed the jeans from my bed, sliding them on over my legs and wiggling into them, then buttoning them and grabbing my long-sleeved red sweater and pulling it on over my head. I sighed in disappointment as I looked down at the small roll of flesh around my waist. I walked over to my dresser and ran a brush through my shoulder-length dark brown hair a few times, briefly looking at my reflection in the small mirror propped against the wall. I’d never found myself all that attractive. I had blue eyes, my nose wasn’t huge, but it was bigger than I appreciated, and my face was too round for my liking. I had a bit of a double chin and my collarbones weren’t visible like most of the girls in school. I grabbed my book bag from the floor and slung it over my shoulder. I walked to the door, flipped off the lights, and went down the stairs.
My father, Bruce Weller, was a lawyer and had left for work long before I was out of bed. I was thankful for the peace and quiet each morning. I was not a morning person by any means, and Dad most certainly was. We didn’t talk much as it was, but having to deal with his chipper—well, chipper compared to me—attitude first thing in the morning had never been something I enjoyed.
It was just the two of us after my mom died in a car accident five years ago. I was thirteen years old, and my father has spent those last five years, avoiding me and doing the bare minimum when it came to parenting. Yes, he was there when I needed him for school-related functions, and I knew that he loved me; he just had a funny way of showing it sometimes.
His days were spent at his office. I couldn’t imagine he did much of anything while he was there. Though he earned enough to keep us living comfortably, Collins Point wasn’t exactly a hotbed of illegal activity, and I couldn’t imagine many people needed his services. When he wasn’t at the office, he was either falling asleep in front of the Discovery Channel, or finding unnecessary repairs around the house to make worse. Mr. Fix-It he was not.
I grabbed a granola bar from the cabinet, shoved it into the front of my bag, and grabbed my keys as I slid on my sneakers. I locked the front door and pulled it closed, listening for it to slam shut as I made my way down the steps and into the light rain.
I jumped over a puddle on my way to my car, wrenched open the door, and threw my bag onto the passenger seat as I plopped into the driver’s seat. Then I slammed the door shut and smoothed my hands over my hair just in case, shoving the key in the ignition and backing out of the driveway.
I pulled into the school parking lot ten minutes later, keeping my eyes on the pavement in front of me as I drove to my favorite parking spot. I felt the familiar stares and sucked in a deep breath, shoving my car into park and grabbing my bag.
My car was an ancient Dodge Neon that made more noise than your average motorboat, and I was the weird quiet girl. I was thankful that I didn’t need glasses or braces because my life would be over if I had to deal with
on top of weighing more than one hundred and ten pounds.
Stepping out of the car, I slung my bag over my shoulder, pocketing my keys and slamming the door. I kept my head down as I walked behind Brittany Feldman, Steve Forrester, Adam Leveque, and Grace Alcott to the front of the school. Thankfully, they didn’t pay me any notice, and I made it to my locker in peace as I breathed a sigh of relief, twirling the lock and yanking open the door.
I stuffed my bag into my locker and grabbed the books I would need for my first period human physiology class. When I got to class, I flipped through the back pages of my notebook for the homework I’d stored there the night before. When I didn’t find it, I groaned and slammed my book shut. By the time I got back to my locker, groups of students had formed around the area, so I kept my eyes on the floor. It was always quiet over in this corner; everyone else who had nearby lockers usually went to talk to one of their friends on the other end of the hallway, and for that, I was thankful. The less people I had to interact with, the better.
I’d never been a very social person. I was shy and being in a school as small as this for my entire life had left me with no self-esteem whatsoever, because I’d never been thin or outgoing, and they took great pleasure in reminding me daily.
I could get pissed off. Sometimes I had fantasies about whining to my father and asking him to find a just reason to sue any of their parents, but adding fuel to an already hot fire would only make things worse for me.
I just wanted to get through my senior year with as much dignity as I possibly could, and pissing off everyone in my way wouldn’t help.
I rummaged around in my book bag, and got nervous when I came up empty. The warning bell rang, and I yanked my books out of my locker. Balancing them in one hand, I searched the bottom and hoped and prayed that it had gotten pushed to the back when I’d left yesterday. When that didn’t work, I huffed and shoved the books back into the locker, ripping open the front pocket of my bag and searching through that as well.
I finally found it, breathed a sigh of relief, and held it tightly in my hand as I slammed my locker shut. The only other person in the hallway now was Evan Drake, his usually neat brown hair sticking up all over the place as he attempted to push his book bag into the locker already crowded with his baseball gear.
Apparently he’d gotten in late.
“Son of a bitch,” he whispered, pulling on the strap of his book bag and yanking back.
Papers flew out of the open top and fell effortlessly to the ground. He stood there, his chest heaving and his breathing audible as he narrowed his eyes at the mess he’d made.
Evan Drake was one of the guys that tormented me on a daily basis. He was gorgeous and he knew it, which made it ten times worse. His face was flawless and always clear of any acne, and his jawline and cheekbones were works of art. Square, chiseled, and made more for a male model than a high school student. He dated whomever he wanted and never looked twice at anyone that wasn’t on the cheerleading squad or within the realm of popularity. He was “Mr. Perfect,” according to everyone in the entire school, and I’d harbored a major crush for as long as I could remember. Unfortunately, he was anything but “Mr. Perfect,” and it was something that I struggled with daily.
I hated myself for it, because I didn’t understand it. He tormented me and said the most horrible things but there had been a time when we were much younger—barely out of kindergarten, I think—when we were playmates. Our mothers had been friendly with each other and had set up play dates for us while they spent the afternoon on the back porch of his home. We spent that time running around his backyard, pretending that we were pirates with swords or we were Steve Irwin prodigies as we inspected whatever small animal that dared to come our way. Then middle school happened, and he got more involved with sports and discovered that I wasn’t the ideal shape his friends preferred in their girl choices. We stopped talking, and for a while, I was merely ignored by him and his new friends. Then society seemed to take over and because Evan had a short past with me, I’d become the main target of their ridicule. Regardless, I was always hoping that there was still a piece of the younger Evan I used to play with hanging around in him somewhere. He was always kind to his younger sister, and he seemed like a completely different person when I saw him out with his parents. When he was with his family, he was carefree, always laughing, and he didn’t have that superior air around him, and that gave me something really close to hope. There had to be something left of his younger self if he could act like that with his family, right?
Either way, I’d be out of this place in a few months and able to forget all about Evan Drake and the way I didn’t want to feel for him. I repeated my mantra,
I could start over,
and that was all I really wanted.
But right now, as I watched him breathing hard and glaring at the mess on the floor, all I felt was sympathy for him. He’d obviously had a bad morning, and it was only getting worse, it seemed.
I folded my homework in half and started toward him. His eyes snapped to me, and he narrowed them even further. I wordlessly bent down, sticking my homework under my arm and reaching for the papers scattered on the floor.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
“Helping you,” I said.
My voice was quiet and came out as a squeak, my nerves showing through as I tapped papers together on the floor before crawling over to get some more.
“Sure doesn’t seem that way.”
“Go the fuck away, Arianna. I can handle picking up my own damn papers.”
My heart twisted, and I clenched my teeth together, ignoring him as I continued to pick up the papers covered with his neat handwriting. I was at his feet by that point, my heart hammering against my ribs, when he bent down. He grabbed my wrist, hard, and I looked up at him.
Fear shot through me when I met his cold eyes, and I barely contained a yelp as he tightened his hand around my wrist. I felt tears spring to my eyes.
“I said,” he said, his voice low and rough, “to go the fuck away.”
I dropped his papers, and he dropped my wrist as I fell backward, cradling my wrist to my chest and biting down on my trembling lip. Looking down, I saw the red imprints of his fingers and knew I would have a bruise there by the end of the day. I placed my feet flat on the floor, pushed myself away from him, and did my best to control the tears as I grabbed my homework from underneath my arm and placed my uninjured hand flat on the floor.
“Sorry,” I whispered and pushed myself to stand up, keeping my eyes on the floor.
“You should be. What right do you think you have to just touch my things?”
“I was only trying to help.”