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Center For Skinnies And Psychos
Well, I guess I should tell you how I ended up at the Arizona Center for Treatment and Recovery, before I tell you about the experience from hell that I am living here.
I was the popular girl at The Willington Academy of Vermont. I had the blondest of blonde, naturally straight hair, muscular but not bulky body with meat in all the right places, a smile that made people instantly comfortable, and an amazing set of natural social skills. Not to mention I was head cheerleader.
One day, I was on my way to cheer practice in my little shorts and tank top. I was walking quickly, and I happened to pass my ex-boyfriend, Markus, and his gang of idiotic friends. As usual, he checked me out, snickered, and punched his buddies in the shoulder. Yet this time, he ended that routine by yelling two words that I will never forget: thunder thighs.
I could not even turn around to face him. I stopped, felt my face flush and heat up, and stormed away towards the gym. Was I fat?
Upon arriving at practice, I informed my best friend, Claire, about this, who informed me that they were pathetic, and that I was out of my right mind for letting them get to me. She reassured me that I was drop-dead gorgeous; most of the guys in this school wanted me, and most of the girls wanted to me she. She said that I was the sixteen year old teenage dream. Nevertheless, I did not believe her.
For the next few days, I started skipping all of my meals, coming up with stupid excuses, like stomach flu, or exhaustion. But after a week of this, my mother made me sit down at the table, and she would not let me get up until I cleared my plate.
"I see a trend, Bethany, that I cannot ignore. You are starting to go down a road that a girl like you has no purpose going down. You and I both know that this is some stupid attempt to lose weight, and I'm not letting it fly." my mother had said, as calm as if she was telling me that I got a letter in the mail today.
So I sat down at the table, and ate my chicken, potatoes, and God-awful pasta without throwing my fork down. I seriously thought that she wanted me to be overweight.
Once I was done dinner, I walked up the stairs to my private bathroom. After tying my hair up, I leaned over the toilet bowl, put one finger down my throat, and lost all of the calories that I had consumed. Little did I know that this would become an obsession, an addiction; a mental illness.
I remember the night that I passed out at school, on the gym mat, during a very important practice. All of my friends had been concerned; the coach was on the verge of calling my mother. I saw colors flashing, and then nothing.
Next thing I knew, I was no longer in Vermont; I was in the waiting room of the Arizona Center for Treatment and Recovery, discussing pricing plans and the duration of my stay. Money was no issue; I was staying until I was completely healed.
When my new therapist told me welcome, she forgot to add two words to that sentence: to hell.
Now, I sit here, facing a therapist who has no idea who I am, or what I go through. I stare at her, blankly. She looks at me, expecting me to start. I play with my nails, looking at her.
"Well?" she asks.
"What?" I answer.
"How are you doing?"
"As good as I can be at this place?" I reply rudely.
"Were you doing better at your other place?" she ponders.
"What other place?"
"Vermont? At your high school."
"Please," I sigh, "you have no idea how my life was in Vermont."
"Your right." she admits, "I don't. So why don't you tell me?"
I shake my head, looking down at this ugly green rug. I look back up at my therapist, Melissa, and study her. She genuinely shows interest. I notice that she is very pretty; young looking for her age. Maybe I will talk.
"It was great." I state confidently.
"Why was it so great?" she asks, curious.
"I was popular. Pretty, happy, perky, and popular. Head cheerleader, rich... do I have to continue?" I say, with an edge to my voice. I think about how shiny my hair was back then, and how dull and thin it is now. I think back to when I had an amazing, full, chest, and how flat it is now. I suddenly want to cry. I reach for a tissue and dab my eyes.
"What turned that happiness in Vermont upside down?" she asked.
"A comment from an ex-boyfriend. He said I had thunder thighs. I know it sounds retarded-" I rambled, and she interrupted me.
"Anything can trigger something like this; the trigger is never something that we can ignore. Look, we will continue talking about this tomorrow."
I get up, and reach for the door. I look back to see her jotting notes down. I open the door, and walk out to my room. Was it just me, or did somebody take fifty pounds off my shoulders?
Although we are told that our room is a place that we should feel relatively alone in, I cannot begin to imagine how one would feel alone when they are in a room with nothing but a bed, a small dresser, and a green rug. Not to mention that there are no doors, and that supervisors walk by every five minutes to make sure that we have not engaged in dangerous behaviors.
I get up to look inside my dresser. I see one of my nice blouses, two of my camisoles, one of my Guess t-shirts, and a pair of jeans, only to be worn on visiting days.
I also see baby blue shrubs that all patients must wear at all times. I see several shirts and pants that are shrubs, all the same color. I look down and realize how much this outfit of shrub makes my body look a thousand pounds larger.
The supervisor walks by my room, informing me that it looks strange to anybody walking me, if they see me staring at my closet.
"Yeah, well, I used to do it in Vermont when I had a whole selection of clothes that did not include these." I said, pulling at my top.
He chuckled and stepped in a bit more. He looked around, shook his head, and looked at me with curiosity in his eyes.
"Why would such a beautiful girl like you, with such intelligence, and so many opportunities, fall into this place? Why would you do this to yourself?" he asked.
"It's very complicated. You see, I'm very easily convinced that I am certain things, even though I am not. And I was convinced that I was fat with thunder thighs, thanks to my jackass of an ex-boyfriend." I explained, only giving him a fourth of the story.
He nodded his head, understandingly.
"I'm Craig, by the way." he added
"Bethany. Nice to meet you." I said, going over to him, shaking his hand. This was the first time I got a view of his features, and I must say, he was cute. He had scruffy black air, tired eyes, and soft, pink lips.
"Anyways, I was just passing by the rooms to inform you guys that It is social hour in twenty minutes." he said, studying my face. "And ditto on the meeting you thing."
Craig left the room, leaving me standing there. For the first time in a week, I thought that I had finally found somebody that I was comfortable with.
I walked into the den, which had a rather large flat screen TV, which only had approved shows; a few board games, like Monopoly, and some nice lounge couches. I always forgot that this was an institution where males and females were constantly separated. I genuinely missed male attention.
I sat down on the lounge chair, still unknowing to the names of these girls. We had group therapy tomorrow, and therefore, I would finally learn their names. They were very quiet; never spoke, actually. Craig came in the room, and asked us what we wanted to do. After a few minutes of utter silence, I spoke up.
"Are there any movies?" I asked, noticing how everybody turned to look at me, shocked for the fact that I had a voice.
"Um, although I would like to do that, movies are for entertainment hour, which is after dinner tonight." he said, with complete dislike for the rules obvious in his voice.
I sat around for a few more minutes before asking, "So then what can we do?"
"Cards, games, anything that involves interacting. Girls, any ideas?" he asked the other girls.
One girl, with dark hair, very pale skin, and many scars that were quite obvious on her arms, just snickered.
"Well, if you call this socializing, than you need to take a crash course in Talking 101. It's the first step to socializing." I said, standing up, and fixing my shrubs and much as I possibly could. The dark girl looked up at me, smirked, and then looked back down. One fat girl looked like she was on the verge of tears. The others just stared at me. I gave them all a look of pity and left the room, slamming the door behind me. I heard it open behind my back, and as I walked into my room, I glanced to see one of the girls, standing there, with admiration in her eyes.
Once it was dinner time, we lined up and walked down to the cafeteria, one by one. Craig led, and I was starting to think that he was the main supervisor for our wing.
I walked in to the tiny cafeteria, smelling the disgusting scent that was flowing. I saw down, three seats away from the other girls who still refused to talk. The only one who looked happy was the obese girl.
Craig came to our table with five plates; one for each of the girls. The lucky guy would eat whatever he brought from home later. I looked at the tuna-a-la-crap sandwich, and baked potato that I was served with. I picked at it with the plastic cutlery. I wanted real silverware, but it was dangerous for the self mutilators.
I watched the obese girl in disgust as she wolfed it down. She shoved nearly half of a tuna sandwich in her mouth at one shot. I had only taken a small bite, and felt it coming up. One of the skinny girls, skinnier that me, had to excuse herself; the sight was making her sickened. I then noticed that I had to turn away, so I did, picking at the sandwich. Once dinner was over, I realized that I wanted to go back to the first 48 hours here: in the close supervision unit, doing everything in my room. Why did they have to transfer me after therapy today?
Craig picked up my plate, and jotted something down. He shook his head, and I noticed that I only had a quarter of the sandwich, and none of the disgusting, soggy potato.
I realized that my lack of dinner would also be seen as lack of improvement.
After dinner, we walked back to our wing, and into our individual rooms. I was angry; I understood fully that, above anything, if I did not make progress in therapy sessions and meals, especially meals, I would never get out of here. And what made me even angrier was that I had to sit a meter from a girl who disgusted me; I did not like seeing people eat, and the fat girl treated eating like the Gothic girl snickered.
Not to mention that I was so fueled to got make myself vomit by the thought of ever being that fat. Perhaps I should not think so badly of her, but considering that I've only known her for half a day and she makes me sick, I'm actually not doing bad.
I got up and poked my head out the 'door.' Craig was behind the desk; my room was facing his back. He would never notice me. I tiptoed out of my room to the bathroom, just a step away from my room. I tried to open the door quietly, which was very hard to do. I gently pulled on the blank, white door, stepped in, and pushed it ever so slowly.
I looked at the reflection in the mirror. Gosh, the purple bags under my eyes needed some concealer, which was the only sort of make up we were permitted to use here. I spotted some under my eyes.
I looked at my lips, thinking that I was lucky that they were still a natural, pretty, pink color. And my hair was starting to regain its volume. I was pleased.
I raised my shrub top, and observed my stomach. You could practically count the ribs. I ran my fingers over them.
Suddenly, I heard my ex boyfriend's voice. I knew he was not there, but his sickening words kept flowing through my thoughts. The words 'thunder thighs' and 'fatso' kept circulating, in the way he would say it.
I threw my hair up into a ponytail. Tears sprung from my eyes, and before I knew it, I was sobbing hysterically. My hands were clutching the sink, and I was shaking from head to toe.
I leaned over the sink, preparing myself. Just as I was about to put my finger in my mouth, the door opened slowly, and Craig stepped inside.
"Don't do it." he said
I looked at Craig. Considering that he just walked in to see a toothpick thin girl, with her shirt pulled up, sobbing and a finger down her throat, he looked quite calm. I took my finger from my mouth and gagged a bit. I held onto the sink for support again.
"How did you know?" I whispered
"That you were here?"
"Yes, and what I was doing."
He thought before answering, scratching his head.
"Well," he started, "I was going to all the rooms, informing you guys that it was entertainment hour. I saw that you were not in your room, so I went to the room next few rooms to tell them. They went to the Lounge. I heard sobs from the bathroom, and so did they."
Oh God. People heard me sobbing? Dammit, I hated it when people caught me crying. It made me look weak.
"I came to the bathroom, knowing what you were most probably going to do."
"Am I in trouble?" I muttered.
"No, and I probably should mark this down. But I'll give you a second chance." he said, with a shy grin on his face.
I put my shrub back down, tightening it by the back. I undid my hair, flipped it, and licked my lips. I knew I looked better; that was the quick fix when after gym back in Vermont.
I dabbed concealer under my eyes again; this time to hide signs of crying. Once I was done, I walked over to Craig, wrapped my arms around his waist, and hugged him. At first he froze; he was not expecting my embrace. But then his arms wrapped around me and he pulled me closer, patting my hair down.
When we pulled apart, we smiled, and he held the door for me. He looked at me with curious eyes.
"How are you enjoying your stay?" he asked
"The Center for Skinnies and Psychos is doing me great wonders; I'm loving it!" I expressed sarcastically, throwing my fist in the air.
He laughed loudly, shaking his head. He looked like he wanted to say something, and maybe even agree, but he kept his mouth shut, keeping both laughter and words in.
We walked into the Lounge, and the girls just looked. The obese girl stood up, and gave me a hug, a tear going down her eye and the Gothic girl, of course, snickered.
Once the obese girl was done, we all sat down on the lounge chairs to watch a movie. We decided to watch one that we could all agree on: A Walk To Remember.
The whole time of the movie, nobody spoke. All you heard was snickering from the Gothic girl during every romantic scene that made my heart melt. Most of the girls had some tears in their eyes when the movie was done, myself included.
Craig shut the power off, closed the lights, and guided us out of the Lounge and back into our rooms.
Once I was back in our room, I lied in bed, thinking how my life here was developing. I didn't think that the Gothic girl liked me too much; the rest of them either did not like me for my popularity air I walked with, or for the fact that I could be a drama queen.
My therapist, Melissa, was starting to understand where I came from, which I needed, because if people did not understand, they would think of me as a complete idiot.
Craig was somebody who was young enough to completely understand, and he had also been popular, which definitely helped. I was able to speak to Craig, to cry in front of Craig; I was completely comfortable with him. He was my only friend here so far, and if I had not met him in this Center for Skinnies and Psychos, I might actually see myself liking him as a bit more than a friend.
My life was developing beautifully here.
I awoke the next morning, unaware of the time, feeling almost starved. Usually, I was able to push the hunger to the side here, knowing that it would be hard to find enough privacy for vomiting. But this morning, I felt like I would fall if I could not eat. I stepped out of the small room to see Craig's back, and I turned my head to see the few rooms on that part of the hall with our lights off. I looked in Craig's direction, and found the same thing. I knew that it was sometime after 5AM, because that was the time that the day-shift started around here, lasting until midnight, and Craig did the day shift. I walked over to the washroom, careful not to make noise, just like yesterday. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, changed my shrubs, dabbed some concealer, and combed my hair in less than five minutes. I remembered, as I was washing my hands, that today was Group Therapy day; I would finally be able to match names to these unknown faces, and I was quite happy about that. Regardless of the happiness, I was still very hungry. I left the washroom to see that Craig was checking the rooms, looking for dangerous behavior. "Stop poking your f-ing head in here!" one girl screamed. I shuddered. He kept walking, and I ducked back into the bathroom. When he past by my room, and did not see me, I heard him mutter, "What the hell?" I tightened my shrub and pushed the door opened. "Good morning." I said, with a stupid smile on my face. "What are you doing up so early? It's against the rules to play around here. Especially at this our." he murmured "Honestly, I couldn't sleep, and I was shockingly hungry. I got up and got ready early. What time is it?" I asked curiously. "It's only 6:30AM, breakfast is at 7:00AM." he said, trying to sound strict. Then, he thought about what I said, and then about why I was here. "Wait, you said that you were hungry?" he asked, skeptical. "Yes." I said, smiling again. "You will get me in so much trouble by the end of your stay here." he muttered. "Follow me." As I followed him down the long hall, I was one of his friends, and friendships amongst patients and supervisors were rare here. He brought me behind his desk, and opened a drawer. There were two muffins, a banana, a granola bar, and an apple juice box. "Take your pick, and be quiet. I don't need to be fired." He said, smiling at me with an unimpressed smile. I picked one of the muffins, noticing that it was blueberry, my favorite. I sat down at the stool, and he sat next to me. He still looked unimpressed. "Are you unimpressed with me, or how strict this place is?" I asked, meeting his gaze. "You read facial expressions well." he noted. "And how strict this place is." "Why is it so strict?" I asked with genuine curiosity. Seriously, why could a supervisor not feed a patient in the early morning? Why could the patient not leave their room unless permitted? "Well, let's just say that a few years ago, there was apparently a supervisor-patient relationship, because the supervisor became good friends with the patient. Also, it's unfair to the others." he said, clearly not wanting to continue. I finally opened the muffin package, and took a bight. I let out a small moan; it tasted so good. He looked at me, shocked. "What? Skinnies do eat." I laughed, shocked by his own shocked distraction. He looked at me, and I saw something in his eyes; it was not something that you saw in your friends eyes, but it was something you saw in your boyfriend's eyes. "What?" he asked, as I studied his face. "Are you attracted to me?" I blurted, blushing. His cheeks turned a bright pink, and he nodded his head. "Yeah. I like you, Bethany." he said quietly, his head down, not daring to look at me. "I kind of like you too." I whispered, staring at the pastel green wall in front of me. I got up, and without saying a word, went back to my room. Once I was back in bed, with the covers hiding my face, I noticed that I was still hungry. Only, not for food, but for his lips.
After a quiet breakfast, I walked into the rather large hall that Group Therapy was held in. The wooden floors were clean, the white walls had no windows, and there was very low light. Also, there were some chairs in a circle. I was at the back of the line of girls, nervous. Once they had all taken their seat, I took the last one in the circle, between a girl who looked very shook up, and a very skinny girl who I had seen a few times before. As usual, she wore a cross. The Group Therapist walked in, taking the stool she held to the middle of our circle, and sitting down. "Welcome." she said to us all, waving to me. "My name is Arielle, Bethany. Welcome to the group." Her warm smile invited me in, but her eyes looked cold and tired. She was quite young and pretty, with long brunette hair, and full, pink lips. "Why don't we introduce ourselves to Bethany?" Asked Arielle. "Why don't we start with you, Nina?" The obese girl stood up. I could finally stop thinking of her as the fat girl. "Hi, my name is Crystal. I'm here because I ate to excess, to fill empty spots." she said, barely able to look at me. The next girl stood up. "Hi, I'm Nina. I'm here because I have a raging crystal meth addiction, and the way I see it, I was happy that way." she said, with a bitter tone to her voice. The Gothic girl stood up. "Hey, I'm Tasha, I'm anorexic and I cut myself because life is s***, and I just don't give two f***s about life." she said, smiling brightly. I noticed how her and Nina were friends. The last girl, the one sitting next to me, stood up. "Hi, I'm Britney, I am an anorexic, and I believe that by coming here, Jesus, my savior, will help me out of this." "Jesus my ass." muttered Tasha, and Nina laughed. "Tasha, please respect religion." commented Arielle. I stood up. "I'm Bethany, and I'm bulimic." I announced, looking around. They all knew that I had an eating disorder, and they all knew my name. I at back down quietly. "Why are you always so mean, Tasha?" demanded Crystal, with tears in her voice. "Why are you so fat, fatso?" demanded Nina, with such rudeness. Crystal broke down into sobs. I looked at Britney, who sat next to me, praying what I figured was the Our Father. She held her cross tightly. At this point, I almost wanted to join her. Arielle tried to calm Crystal down, and shut Tasha and Nina up at the same time, but it was no use. "Stupid f-ing fat cow!" yelled Nina, with a mean smile on her face. "Mean old pathetic b***h!" sobbed Crystal, her words barely understandable. I looked at the madness, unable to understand what was going on around me. Honestly, I asked myself more than once why my mother could not have sent me to an actual hospital. The bell rang. I jumped from my seat and ran for the door before the rest had even acknowledged that the bell rang. Finally, it was Morning Alone Period.
Upon my return to my small room, I lied on my bed an thought about Group Therapy. Although I finally learnt the names of my wing mates, I was unimpressed. Was group therapy supposed to actually make us understand our problem, and find ways to fix them? Because Tasha and Nina left the session feeling empowered; Crystal left the session sobbing and broken hearted; Britney left the room praying the Hail Mary; and I left the room with extreme confusion as to what the hell had happened in that room.
I decided to take my alone time and use it productively. I thought about what I could do to get healthy again. Honestly, it seemed like none of the other girls here wanted to change, but I did,for the simple reason that I wanted, needed, to leave this horrid place.
I came up with one strategy: every time I thought that I was obese and disgusting, and wanted to fall back into my bulimic trends, I would think of Craig. I would think of how much he liked me, and how I would do anything for him, because he was the person helping me out of this rut. And if not vomiting was doing something for him, then I would just not vomit.
Although I was not too sure how the effectiveness of this plan would be, I knew it was worth a try.
Just then, Craig passed by my room, stuck his head in, smiled, and turned away quickly to the next room. On his way back up the hall, I noticed how he was clouding my train of thought. I had been thinking of yet another strategy, and Craig passed by, on the way to his desk, and gave me one of those smiles. I no longer remembered what I was thinking of.
Five minutes later, when Craig walked by again, I smiled, but he just kept walking. He didn't even look at me as he passed my room. On his way back, I called out in a low voice, "Craig!", pointed to him, and motioned for him to come in with my hand.
"Yes, Bethany?" he asked, looking in my eyes.
"Can we um, talk?" I asked.
He sat down on the bed, facing me. I was sitting cross-legged, and he did the same. He looked me in the eyes, and answered, "Yeah, we kind of have to."
"I like you, and if we weren't in this situation, I would have already came to you to ask you on a date. But Bethany, it's illegal for us to be together." he admitted, looking deep into my eyes.
"Who cares?" I mumbled, looking down to play with my hands.
Reaching for my hands and cupping them in his, he said, "The administration here, your parents, the police..."
I let him play with my hands, tickling them lightly and stroking my fingers, knowing that even this would cause extreme amounts of trouble for him if he got caught.
"But the two people who actually like each other, could not care less about the law, because they, well, like each other." I murmured, stuttering some of my words. Being near him made me feel lightheaded. I looked into his amazing, blue eyes, which were staring right back.
"If we can, I don't know, work something out secretly, then maybe I would be willing to try this." he said, looking down, going against his better judgment.
My heart sped up. I would finally be able to be with him. I didn't understand the feelings I felt for him; I was here for nearly losing my life to bulimia. He was here because the pay was good, and he didn't have a college education. I should feel nothing but regret, remorse, and sadness during my stay here. I should feel anything but love for a supervisor. And he definitely should not feel anything but pity for me.
"I've only been here, in your wing, for two days, and I already have feelings for you." I admitted.
"I know, and quite frankly, I can't begin to understand why I'm already this emotional connected to you. I guess that love at first sight really does exist." he said, with a small chuckled.
My heart skipped a beat. Love? Was this what this was? True, honest love? I highly doubted it, seeing as we just met each other. He clearly saw the confusion and worry in my face, because he quickly added, "I don't mean I love you when I say that. I mean, I care about you, and I like you quite a bit, but, I don't love you."
I laughed at his nervousness, because it was so cute. I understood what he was saying. We were highly attracted to each other, with feelings developing. He relaxed and smiled when he heard my laugh. I looked past his shoulder to see if anybody was watching, but the coast was clear.
I quickly got on my knees and leaned towards him. Before I even realized what I was doing, my lips were brushing against his. His lips were soft, and he had obvious experience. He lightly parted his lips before pulling away. I stayed there for a moment, shocked about my boldness, and then sat back down, facing him.
A triumphant smile lit up his face. He said, "I would love to kiss you again, but we have to have some, um, rules and boundaries, to ensure that we don't run into trouble."
"Good idea." I said, not pleased with the fact that we would have to follow rules. But I knew deep down that it would be the only way to be with him.
"Rule number one: no public displays of affection. I can come wake you up when I arrive, and we can sit at the desk. But we can't kiss in public, or anything else for that matter, because the trouble that we can get into is not even funny." he explained.
I was happy that I would get to spend almost three hours with him every morning. The idea excited me beyond belief. I knew that sleep would not come easy tonight.
"And you can always come and visit me at night, after entertainment hour." I said, with a mischievous grin on my face.
He smiled brightly again. "Great idea," he said. "But I do have one more rule."
"Yes?" I asked
"How old are you?" he asked, not telling me the rule yet.
"Seventeen, and in four months, eighteen." I admitted.
"Well, hopefully, by the time your 18th birthday comes, you'll be out of here, although it's unlikely." he said, the smile fading.
"You still haven't told me the rule."
"No sex until your eighteen." he said, sounding very stern.
"Okay, father." I said with a mocking voice, and a wide smile.
He smiled back, with lust in his eyes. He got up, and kissed my forehead. Without saying anything, he kissed my forehead, waved, and walked out the door.
Turns out my life here might not be so bad.
"Well?" Melissa asked.
"Well what?" I re-asked. We had this same conversation yesterday. She was quite good at this; it made me think.
"Firstly, why are you late?" She demanded, starting to lose patience. I admit, I was usually a bit lightheaded, and after my little encounter with Craig, I was practically high.
"I was speaking with my supervisor." I stated, technically telling the truth.
"Craig?" she asked, in slight disbelief.
"Well," she started, "I will confirm this with him later. But back to my serious question."
"Which was?" I asked, scratching my head.
"Dear God, next time you come to individual therapy, please be prepared to pay attention!" she screamed, ticked off at my lack of caring.
I sat there, like a bump on a log, trying to think what it was that she asked me as soon as I was seated. But then, of course, the scene of kissing Craig re-entered my thoughts...
"What pushes your buttons?" she asked, very loudly.
"Oh. Sorry. Um, people eating like gluttons, mainly." I mumbled, looking down. I probably could have thought of a million nicer ways to say this.
"I applaud you for your honesty. Anything else?" she asked, getting into this conversation.
"Ignorance to other people's feelings." I admitted.
She nodded her head, trying to understand. Yet, I was not sure which factor she was trying to understand, and that irritated me.
"And people not understanding what I say." I muttered. She heard, and glared at me.
"Funny." she said, with a sarcastic tone to her voice.
She thought about it for a few minutes, and then she twirled a piece of her pin straight hair.
"I understand the glutton thing, but what I can't seem to comprehend is that you don't like it when one is ignorant to other's feelings?" she asked, skeptical.
"Yeah, what's so wrong with that?" trying to understand why she was so shocked.
"I'm sorry, but what brought that emotion on?" asked Melissa, scratching her head, and still trying to understand.
"Well," I started, "In Group Therapy, Tasha and Nina were being completely ignorant to Crystal's feelings. They were completely insulting her. And I felt bad... almost guilty." I admitted.
"Ah." She said, now understanding. She then asked, "Why the guilt?"
"I'm not sure. It just... I don't know, it reminded me of how I used to treat this really fat girl back in Vermont." I admit.
"So you saw the way she was being treated, it ticked you off, and the fact that you used to treat people like that ticked you off even more?" she asked, completely understanding.
"Yes. So now, people being ignorant to other's feelings pushes my buttons." I stated.
At first, she jotted some things down on the note pad. Then, she twirled her hair again, scratched her head, and asked me, "How can you, if possible, link this to bulimia?"
I thought about that one long and hard, but I could not come up with an answer. I stared at the floor, unable to speak. The bell rang, stating that our time was up.
"How about this?" she asked. "Why don't you think about it tonight, and tell me tomorrow?"
"Um, yeah. Absolutely." I stuttered. I got up from my chair, and walked to the door. Upon opening it, I saw the other girls walking to their rooms, and Craig was there, making sure they made no attempts at some sort of escape.
"Bethany? Bethany!" called Melissa.
I turned around slowly.
"Yeah?" I asked.
"Tomorrow, when you come, please be a bit less lightheaded." she said with a smile on her face.
Through the day, I kept thinking about what my therapist asked me. Group Therapy did not help me figure things out, because it was another hour of crying. And although I tried, I didn't understand. How was there a link between my ignorance to the girl back at home, and my bulimia?
During social hour, I was one of the most anti-social people there. The girls looked shocked. I was complaining about how anti-social things were yesterday. Craig looked worried and concerned.
After dinner that night, on the way back to the rooms, I stopped to talk with Crystal for a minute.
"Hey Crystal?" I asked, kindly.
She turned around slowly, shocked that I was talking to her. I gather that she picked up on the fact that I used to be popular, and that unless it was to insult her, popular people didn't speak with her much.
"Y-yeah?" she asked, very shy.
I lost what I was thinking of. I no longer knew what I was going to say.
"Nothing. Sorry. I just wanted to... I don't know, apologize, for the way Tasha and Nina treated you yesterday." I said, looking down.
She nodded slowly, and then, looking up at me, she said, "You have nothing to apologize for. Not to me, at least. But if you ever treated somebody the way they treated me, you might want to apologize to them."
She then kept walking, not looking back. I understood her words; she never actually had been there to see the way I treated that girl back in Vermont, but by looking at my eyes when I apologized, she knew.
And then I understood.
I bullied the girl because she was fat, yes, but the reason behind it was because I thought she was happy being fat. And I thought I was fat, and was depressed by it. She was strong; comfortable in her skin. I was weak; the complete opposite of comfortable in my own. I bullied her to feel stronger, more powerful.
Tears flooded my eyes. I ran to my room, threw myself on the bed and sobbed, thinking about the girl.
That was the girl's name.
She was my age, in my year. She was in most of my classes.
And she was undoubtedly and undeniably one of my biggest victims.
She looked about 200 pounds; and the clothes she wore did nothing for her body. She was triple chinned, with a bad case of acne.
Me and her were never friends. Way back in elementary, people really liked me. People avoided her; she was like the ugly duckling.
In junior high, she and I were in the same gym class. I, of course, was a cheerleader, with the same group of girls I stuck with in high school. She could barely run half a lap, but we could sprint five in two minutes, not even. She was an easy target.
I remembered one incident in particular. It was one of the last gym classes of the year, and we had free time. Me and my girls decided to play a little trick on Samantha.
"Samantha!" I had called, grasping her attention. Scared, she approached us slowly, as did the rest of the class.
"How badly did you fail gym?" asked Trisha, the girl on my left.
"You know, considering that you're fatter than Ronald McDonald?" asked Kristina, the girl on my right. I had let out a fake, loud laugh.
"Oh girls! That's not fair. You shouldn't insult Ronald McDonald like that! When are those seven kids going to come out, Samantha?" I asked, knowing that she was not pregnant. I lifted her baggy shirt, revealing roles and roles of fat.
"Oh, how stupid of me!" I squealed, "Why would a guy ever sleep with you?"
Laughing, I walked away from her with my friends, after the thirty kids around us started with their 'oohs' and 'oh snaps!'
Well, I was definitely not laughing now, in my bed, with an incredible feeling of guilt flooding me.
I glanced at the small clock Craig had given me. I was the only patient in this wing with a clock; strictly against the rules. It could be used as a weapon.
I had five minutes before Craig would come for his final round. After that, he had thirty minutes at the desk before the night shifter came. I sprinted to the washroom, and fixed my look up a bit. Technically, this was like a first date.
Upon opening the door, I saw Craig just passing by. I grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him in, closing the door quickly behind me. I pulled him against me, and gave him a long, passionate kiss.
"Are you okay?" he asked, breathing heavily, once we broke apart.
"Yeah. Just wanted to do that," I admitted. "And I had a rough day."
"Yeah, I noticed in all of the activities today. Do you want to talk about it?" He asked, looking generally concerned.
"Yeah, but let's get back to my room to avoid suspicion," I said, running my hand through his shaggy black hair.
We had slipped out of the bathroom, and once we were on my bed, him lying down with his arm wrapped around my neck, holding me, I explained to him the whole situation.
"Well," He said, "We've all done things in our past that we're ashamed of."
I tilted my head up to him. Nibbling on his chin, I whispered, "But is it supposed to hurt this much?"
He sat up, still holding me in his arms. He gave me a small, soft kiss on the lips, and then answered, "It may be a Center for Skinnies and Psychos, but it still is a treatment center. It's only the beginning; this is going to me an emotional roller-coaster."
I was not ready to go through this. I had been at this center for five days in total, and my emotions were already too much for me to handle. I didn't know what to do.
"I have to go now." said Craig, glancing at the clock.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow." I whispered, pulling him down with me for a long, passionate kiss. He groaned when we broke apart.
"You drive me crazy." he admitted with a smile, getting up.
"Good night." I said, waving.
"Goodnight." he said, leaving the room.
After he left, I drifted to sleep, knowing that my body and mind were much too tired to stay awake for one more moment.
My dream that night was ridiculous; I woke us bashing around in my bed, screaming, with cold sweats. It was only three in the morning, so Craig was not even there. The nighttime supervisor, whose name I did not even know, came to my room with a glass of water to tell me to calm down. I guzzled the water, breathing heavily.
"Are you okay?" she asked, looking very concerned.
"Yeah. Just a nightmare." I mumbled, falling back. As she left the room, giving me another look, I though about the nightmare I just had.
It was of Samantha. She was at the beach, in the water. I was on the sand, tanning with some of my old friends. I saw a huge wave come and wipe her out.
At first, my friends and I were laughing. But then, the sky turned a dark grey, almost black. And all I remembered was Samantha, floating more far out, raising her arms for help, and everybody ignoring her. It was a cry for help.
And when I ran in to try to help her, she yelled out, "It's too late; the damage is done!"
And from there, she just kept floating farther out until I could not see her. I then woke up.
I started thinking that, even if I had the chance to apologize, that there was too much water under one bridge; I would never be forgiven. I felt so guilty for taking my emotions caused by my self-hatred out on her. She did nothing to deserve it.
The worst part was that she always treated me with respect, as if I was something truly special. She always smiled at me in the morning, and waved at me as she left the building. She asked me how I was when I looked keyed-up from a sleepless night, and she always offered me a tissue when I sneezed.
Along with the guilt came more tears, I threw my face against my pillow and let the tears out. I thought my experience here would be easy, but as Craig said, it was a true emotional roller-coaster; one that I was not prepared for.
I heard somebody step into my room. I thought it was Craig, but I looked to see Crystal and Britney standing in the door way.
"Sorry to interrupt your privacy," said Britney, "but we've been here for a few months, and we know what the first week is like."
"Do you want to talk? We have permission from Angy." murmured Crystal.
"Angy?" I asked, wiping my tears.
"The supervisor." Explained Britney, taking a seat on the bed, against the wall. Crystal sat on the edge of the bed, looking at me with kind eyes.
They both looked at me with kind eyes, actually. They seemed genuinely interested in what my story was.
"So. Want to hear it?" I asked.
They both looked at me, expectant.
"Okay. Here it goes." I said, wiping away my final tears.
After telling them my full story, including my new discovery of the link between my bulimia and bullying Samantha, they had tears in their eyes. Britney chuckled at the end, and said, "I never expected a popular girl to go down that road."
"I never expected a true Catholic girl to go down that road." I joked, pointing at the cross around her neck.
"Actually," she started, looking down, "that's not quite how I started off."
Crystal and I looked at her, curious. Clearly, Group Therapy had not been a place for her to let her emotions out, either.
"I used to be an atheist. I had been that way my whole life; I was proud. But one day, I met this guy," she said sheepishly, with a smile, looking down. "and he said that he was a proud Catholic. I was shocked; people don't often introduced themselves by stating their religious beliefs. We got into quite the conversation, and it ended with us kissing."
I was shocked. The girl who said that Jesus was her absolute savior used to be an atheist? I wanted to hear more. Crystal and I waited for her to continue.
"He wanted me to be like him; perfect. Or at he thought he was perfect. At the time, so did I. I thought he was God's greatest gift. He told me he wanted me to be skinnier; he said I should start skipping lunch. So I did. Before I knew it, I was skipping all three meals, and I never even had a snack to pull me over. But that wasn't enough for him."
Tears already started welling up in my eyes. I knew exactly what it felt like to not feel good enough for a man. Especially when you thought the man was so amazing.
"I really cared about him," she said, her voice cracking with tears. "but then, he starting accusing me of not trying hard enough; he actually accused me of eating. But I wasn't. And when I told him that, he accused me of lying, and that I wasn't only being unfaithful to him, but that I was being unfaithful to God. He took this as a prime opportunity to start beating me up."
"One day I went to church by myself, to try and find answers. I prayed for an escape, for help, not knowing if there was a God listening. The next day, my mother told me she was bringing me to the hospital. In the car ride there, I admit everything to her. We lived in Arizona to begin with, so she turned the car around and rushed me here. I was so relieved, and I just knew that God had given me the courage to tell her, and once I did, I knew that this was like a gift to me from him." she finished.
By the time she was done here story, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. I handed her one of my tissue papers, and she dried her cheeks.
We both looked at Crystal, expectant. "I'm not to comfortable telling my story," she admit, but then she added, "but it's really easy to know my story, Bethany, because I'm just like Samantha."
"Girls!" Yelled the stupid night supervisor, Angy. I was pissed; we were about to here Crystal's story, and I wanted to hear it. I looked past Crystal and Britney, and saw that she was clearly angry. "Yes, Angy?" I asked, completely calm. She looked absolutely horrified by my relaxed reaction. Her eyes widened, and so did Crystal and Britney's. "Do not ask me that, as if you know you are not breaking rules! There is no leaving the dorm rooms without permission, until 7:30AM. I will note this down." She yelled, clearly fueled by my calmness that was still present. "Okay Angy. Goodnight girls. I had a great conversation." I said, hugging them both with a huge smile on my face. If she was going to be a b***h to me, I would be an even bigger b***h to her. I might be struggling with bulimia, but my popular traits were still there. My new friends left my room quickly, and nearly ran back to their rooms once they were in the halls. "I don't know who you think you are-" started Angy, before Craig, my beautiful Craig, stepped in. He looked amused and slightly pissed with a smirk on his face. His hair was as it usually was, and he had not changed out of his casual clothing yet, so I got to see what I couldn't see in the uniform he wore: a nice set of abs and a strong chest, with strong, muscular arms, and a small little black heart tattoo on his right arm. He looked beautiful. As I was mooning him, I also noticed how Angy was selling me out, and flirting with him at the same time. "This girl has a problem with her attitude; please note it for me?" she asked in a sweet, I'm-such-a-victim-of-her-meanness tone of voice. She put her hand on his shoulder, whispered something in his ear that made his face turn sour, despite her laugh, and walked away. He stepped into the room and sat on my bed. Very quietly, so that the girls in the other rooms wouldn't head, he asked, "What was all that about?" I sighed. "Honestly, I did nothing wrong. I was crying after a terrible nightmare, and Britney and Crystal heard me. They decided to come visit to see if I was okay. I guess we just started talking." "You know, such behavior is actually strictly forbidden here. For all us supervisors know, you guys are planning a massive escape plan." He said, in a sarcastic voice, with a sly grin on his face. We heard the staff door slam. I jumped up from bed to make sure that Angy had left, and sure enough, she had. I pranced back to the bed, and once I got there, I sat in his inviting lap, threw my arms around his neck, and planted my lips on his. His strong arms went around my small waist, and as I parted my lips, I moved my hands down his strong chest and abs. As our kiss ended, I leaned in to whisper in his ear, "This behavior is also strictly forbidden here. But I just can't help myself." He chuckled, pulling my face to his, and kissing me again. This time, we used our tongues, like I wanted to. When we broke apart, he got up, winking at me, saying in a very loud voice, "This behavior of your's will be noted. Please, try to remember that we have rules here." As he walked out of my room, I realized that he said that so loudly so that the other girls here heard, and it no longer looked suspicious that he was in my room; they thought he was disciplining me. On his way back up the hall, he waved for me to come and join him at the desk. I got up, ran to the bathroom, fixed my hair and concealer, brushed my teeth, and put some light pink lip gloss on my lips. I walked to the desk, nervous. I sat with him until 7:25AM. We spoke about the nightmare last night, and he reassured me that I was not losing my mind; things like this were completely normal. We also spoke about his plans for the future; what he wanted to do with his life after this, where he wanted to go, the things he wanted to see. "Hopefully, I get into a community college and get some sort of degree." He said, nodding his head. "Once you leave to go back to Vermont, this place is going to be quite boring. But even if you stayed forever, I'm not sure I could take this place much longer. It depresses the hell out of me." It was funny, because most of the supervisors wanted to be here no more than the patients.
Breakfast that day was okay. I sat with Crystal and Britney again. I finally got to hear what Crystal tried saying before.
"I was never really accepted in society. I was a little chubby, which made me an outsider. Popular people-" she said, looking at me to make sure I was not offended.
"Don't worry about it, continue." I reassured.
"Anyhow, popular people had a field day with me. And I would eat, excessively, to fill the emptiness that they gave me." she finished, taking a few bites of egg. Her story reminded me of Samantha, and I realized that Samantha probably had the same problem that Crystal had; and it was all my fault.
"But don't let that make you feel to guilty for the Samantha thing, because she might not have had the same exact thing as me. What I had was a mental illness; whether or not the popular kids embarrassed me, I would have found another reason to eat excessively." she explained, patting my hand. I looked over at Britney, who was just sitting there, looking down.
"You're not comfortable with eating too much, either?" I asked her.
"No. I mean, I don't mind eating publicly in front of one or two people, but our whole group, plus supervisors, just makes me feel disgusting." She confessed.
"Same." I said, but then added, "But I'm still going to eat, just to prove people who insulted me for my 'weight' wrong."
I picked up a small piece of egg, and plopped it in my mouth. She looked at me, smiled, and did the same. By the time breakfast was done, Britney and I had almost cleared our plates; it was noted under the very good progress category.
"I'm glad to see your making progress," said Craig, on the way back from breakfast.
"Me too. I want to be normal and healthy again." I admitted. We were both at the back of the line of people in my wing. He turned around to check that there was nobody behind us, and then, very quickly, slipped an arm around my waist and kissed my forehead. He let go right in time, because Nina turned around to talk to Tasha, who was right in back of her, which was also two meters ahead of us. We both breathed a sigh of relief when we noticed that nobody caught us.
That day in personal therapy, I discussed my theory about the link between my bulimia and bullying Samantha.
"I see. Honestly, I thought that yesterday. But I wanted to see if you could realize that yourself." she admit, nodding her head.
"I actually want to do something." I said, looking down.
"Well, if it's productive to your recovery, I don't see why not." she said, expecting me to continue.
"Well, I'm not sure if it will help my recovery in any way, but it will make me feel better about myself."
"Bethany," she sighed, "you are a bulimia patient, meaning that you pretty much lack quite a bit of self confidence; you cannot sit here and tell me you feel too good about yourself."
"Right. What's your point?" I asked.
"My point is, anything that will help you feel good about yourself will be productive to your recovery." she finished, still expecting me to present my idea.
"Of course. That's why, I would like to apologize to Samantha, face to face." I said, looking her in the eye.
"Well, I'm not sure how possible that will be; she lives quite far." said Melissa, thinking.
"I don't care. I need to apologize." I stated, sounding very stubborn. The bell rang. I got up, and Melissa walked me to the door.
"I like the idea. I'll see what I can do." she said, opening the door for me. I thanked her by nodding, not able to speak. I felt tears coming, but I brushed them away. I did not want to cause yet another scene.
In Group Therapy, Nina and Tasha decided to verbally attack poor Crystal again. I don't even remember how it started; all I remember was one fat joke that escaped Tasha's lips, and then, all hell broke lose. But it was something that Nina said that drove me absolutely crazy. "Why don't you go eat a whole cake, and then go die, you f*ing fat pig?" yelled Nina, inches away from Crystal's face. As usual, Arielle sat back, saying in a very low voice to calm down; we could talk this out. For a moment, I considered sitting with Britney and praying. But then something washed over me, and I felt like I should stand up for her. I had been attacking victims my whole life, and it was time to stand up for one. Very calmly, I stood up, walked over to the back of Crystal's chair, and with every ounce of strength in me, tried pulling it away. Nina had already started backing off, so Crystal had room to stand up when she noticed that I could pull any longer. Tasha snickered, but kept her mouth shut, with a huge grin on her face. Arielle stood there, repeating that we should all sit down before this got ugly. "It already got ugly." I said towards her. Britney had stopped praying; she was staring up at me with wide eyes. "Nina," I said in my sweetest voice, stepping towards her. "What?" she asked, stepping towards me. "You're going to leave her the f**k alone this g-damn second. She did nothing to deserve this. You're in the same boat as she is, considering that you're here. You shouldn't be judging anyone in this room." I said very calmly, giving her cold eyes. I looked around the room to see that even Tasha's eyes were wide open. Nina tried thinking of a comeback, but came up with nothing. Stepping back, she sat down in her chair. I grabbed Crystal's hand and walked her to the empty chair next to mine. We sat down. "Um," said Arielle, towards me, "why did you feel the need to do that?" "Because I was the b***h that bullied people my entire life. Overweight people, especially. I've only been here for five days, but I've already realized how wrong it was. I'm standing up for victims from now on; not hurting them." Just then, the bell conveniently rang. We all got up, and walked over to the door, where Craig awaited us. He walked up to our dorms, winking at me when he dropped me off. Minutes later, I heard somebody walk into my room. I thought it was Craig, but I was wrong; it was Melissa, with a phone in her hands.
Melissa motioned for me to take the phone. Pressing it against my ear, I breathed heavily and said, "H-hello?"
"Hi, is this Bethany?" asked a woman on the other end. She had a quiet voice.
"Yes. Who's speaking?" I asked, equally quiet.
"This is Samantha's mother. I hear you wanted to apologize to my daughter?" she asked, with tears in her voice.
"Um. Yes." I said, not sure how to continue.
"Well, then, you're going to need to travel to Vermont. Samantha is in the hospital; she tried committing suicide, due to the bullying." said the mother, with a cold voice.
"Oh my gosh." I said, my voice cracking. Tears sprung from my eyes. Melissa grabbed the phone.
"Hi, this is the therapist again. I've already spoken with the others who work here; she has been permitted a weekend pass to go back to Vermont for this weekend. She will board a plane tomorrow, to apologize to your daughter, and return Sunday night, if this is okay with you." said Melissa.
I could not hear what Samantha's mother said, but Melissa hung up after a quick thank you.
"I already contacted your mother, who is paying for you and Craig's plain ticket." she said, confirming that I would be going.
"Okay. Craig is coming? Why?" I asked, and Melissa let out a dry laugh.
"You've been here for less than a week. I had to pull serious strings to allow the other therapists on my team to feel the same way I do about giving you this pass. Supervision, which does not include your parents watching you, is mandatory." she said, leaving the room.
I fell back on the bed. This would be interesting. Judging by the two minute conversation I had with Samantha's mother, she did not like me very much because of the place I put her daughter.
Later that night, after the longest evening, Craig joined me in my room, during the thirty minutes he was supposed to be at his office.
"We're going to Vermont." He murmured, ruffling my hair. I was sitting in his lap, both of us facing the back wall of my room.
"Yeah, we are. I'm sorry to put you through this." I murmured back, kissing his neck. He twitched, not expecting my sign of affection.
"It's fine." he soothed. "I want you to recover fully. Whatever I need to do to help you with that is fine."
"The flight is at what time?" I asked
"Six in the morning. The nighttime supervisor will be staying until we return." he said, kissing my cheek.
"I feel bad for the girls." I laughed.
"Why?" he asked, curious.
"They have to deal with Angy." I giggled, and he chuckled in response.
"I don't feel too bad though, because it means that you and I get some more private time together." murmured Craig, his lips moving against my ear. He threw himself back, and I turned around, positioning myself on top of him. We shared a few passionate kisses before he had to excuse himself; we were both getting a bit too excited.
"Besides," he said, standing up. "we don't want Angy walking in on us."
"Agreed," I said, smiling and waving at him. He blew me a kiss, and left the room.
Minutes later, I heard somebody enter my room. I turned around to see Tasha standing in the doorway.
"So," she said, smiling wickedly, "you and Craig?"
My face dropped as she entered the room.
"W-w-what are you talking about?" I mumbled, feeling my cheeks heat up. She sat on the edge of my bed, shaking her head. "You don't have to lie to me. I walked by and saw you on top of him." she giggled. "My gosh, I beg you, please don't-" I started, but she interrupted me. "Don't worry. Not my secret to tell. I learn't my lesson for doing that a long time ago." she said, looking at me. "Really?" I asked. "Yup. You see, I used to be the mean girl; I still am, just in a different way. Now, I'm kind of like a mean b***h. But quite some time ago, I used to basically befriend everybody, learn their secrets, and then blast them to everybody I knew, and anybody who wanted to hear it." she admit. "What made you change?" I asked, curious, looking in her eyes. "Well, I was played. Somebody played the same game I did, only better. They made me feel completely confident and beautiful. I had always been Gothic, and therefore, never really accepted. But I always felt accepted near her. Anyhow, I ended up confiding my biggest secret in her. Now, I'm pretty open about it. I'm lesbian." she told me, nodding her head. "Wow. And she told your secret?" I asked, shocked completely. "Yes, and she had fun doing so. I went into a downward spiral of cutting and meth usage. My parents caught me cutting my wrists one day, high, and the rest is history." she said, with a smile on her face. But you could see the regret in her eyes. I explained to her my story, but she pretty much assumed what I was going to say. She admit that when I was done. But she also apologized for what I had to go through, and I did the same. "Anyhow," she said, getting up, "I came in here to tell you that I admired you for standing up for Crystal today. And also, try to be a bit more discreet with Craig." She smiled at me widely; I saw a side of her that I hadn't seen before. Deep down, she was just as damaged as the rest of us. "Thanks. Goodnight." I said. "Goodnight." she said, leaving the room, and walking back to her dorm. I fell asleep shortly after.
Craig and Melissa were at my bedside the next morning, at almost four AM, saying that the car was ready, and that if we wanted to make the 6AM flight, we should get a move on it.
"You'll be staying at your parent's house with Craig tonight, and tomorrow, you will visit Samantha for no longer than an hour. After the visit, your parents will drive you and Craig back to the airport, and you will board the jet." explained Melissa.
"Jet?" I asked.
"Yes, you're using the Center's private jet." she confirmed.
"The company has a private jet?" I asked, completely ignoring everything else she said. Sorry, but it was not even four in the morning. How attentive did they expect me to be.
"Dear God." Melissa said, shaking her head.
"You don't need to bring anything, considering that you'll be going home." said Craig, sounding almost as tired as I was. He let out a yawn.
"So, please get up, change into your normal clothes, and get ready. Goodbye, and have a good weekend. I'm going back to my room." Yawned Melissa, leaving us.
"She sleeps here?" I asked.
"Yeah, all the therapists do. Some safety thing." he yawned again, helping me out of bed. I walked over to my wardrobe, and picked out the one pair of very light-washed, grey skinny jeans, a white tank top, and my black leather jacket. I also picked my black heeled boots.
I got dressed in front of Craig, not caring what he saw. I blew him a kiss when I was in my little bra and panties, making him blush a little. I giggled as I put my clothes on.
I did my regular morning 'beauty' routine, and twenty minutes later, I was walking down the hall, a meter in front of Craig to avoid suspicion from eyes that might be opened, and out the door. I didn't even look at Angy when she mumbled something about looking inappropriate.
As soon as we were outside, his arm was around my waist. We got into the car. As he slept with me in his arms, I noticed how skinny I actually was. I did not really notice it in the shrubs, but in clothing that was size zero and still baggy, I noticed in completely. It scared me. For the first time, I was 100% happy that I was getting help.
When we got to the Gila River Memorial Airport, which was private, we saw the small jet awaiting us, and without even going through security, or even entering the airport, we boarded it. The car dropped us off just meters from the jet. I guess that the airport does not feel the need to check you if you are coming from a treatment center with a supervisor.
We boarded the plane, giddy with excitement. His excitement was because he was on a jet, going to Vermont, meeting my family, having some private time with me and making sure I didn't do anything dangerous or stupid. I, on the other hand, was excited with a twist of nervousness because I was facing my family for the first time, and also, facing a girl who is in the hospital from attempted suicide, because of my bullying. I was not calming down any time soon.
The jet was small but nice. It had a small couch with emergency seat belts, and actual airplane chairs. Everything was leather, except for the beautiful, black carpeting, and the wooden table that was nailed to the ground. There were some snacks on top for us.
The intercom came on, and the pilot was warning us to put on our seat belts. After going over the safety precautions and telling us to enjoy our flight, we set out for this six hour journey.
Once we were in the air, a feeling that I had always loved, and the pilot came on the intercom saying that we could remove our seat belts, we opened the small croissants that were wrapped in plastic and had some breakfast. I was not very comfortable with eating, but I knew that I needed food; I needed to get healthy again. So ignoring the feeling of self-hatred as I ate the calorie filled croissant, I thought of Craig, and how I would eat and regain my health for him. Halfway through the croissant, I thought that I would do it for myself, too.
Once we were done breakfast, I sat in his lap, facing him, with my legs on either side of his. His warm, strong hands were on my back, supporting me. My hand were running up and down his chest. We were talking about what I intended on saying to Samantha.
"She's probably going to be quite thankful that you came." encouraged Craig, just inches from my face.
"But her mother is going to take one look at me and want to vomit." I countered.
"Not the point. You're going to make amends with Samantha, not the mother. And honestly, if you explain to Samantha the situation you explained to me a few nights ago, I'm sure she will accept your apology." he murmured, one hand playing with my hair.
"I hope so." I whispered, looking down.
"And if she doesn't," said Craig, whispering in my ear, "then you can at least know that you tried to do the right thing, and that right there will help you recover and get past this."
When he said that, I realized that Craig had been my rock through these past five days; he had gotten me through the roughest part of entering the wing, which was the first day, and he continued to help me. I was starting to fall for him. I could not resist myself as I kissed him passionately, letting my tongue wander in his mouth. We kissed like that on and off for the rest of the flight.
Once we got off the plane, my parents were at the Burlington International Airport, waiting for us to come off the plane in the waiting room. I jumped in their arms, and kissed their cheeks.
"Mom, Dad, it's great to see you. This is the supervisor, Craig." I said, pointing to Craig.
"Nice to meet you." said Craig, in a serious voice, stepping forward to shake my parent's hands.
"Well, let's get going. We have a nice dinner planned for us four at home, if that doesn't make you uncomfortable." My mom said, looking right at me.
"Not at all." I said, smiling at my mother.
"The main reason I'm here is to ensure that your daughter eats, and keeps whatever she eats in her." explained Craig.
"Amazing. Let's get going." said my father.
Once we returned from the airport, Craig and I were absolutely exhausted. Due to traffic, it was already 8:00PM. We were going to twenty hours with no sleep. When we stepped out the my parent's car, though, Craig got a whole new life. He had obviously never seen my home before, but it shocked most newcomers. It was huge, with a grand set of circular stares. The large stone bricks were a light grey, and the door and roof was a deep chocolate brown. The windows were over sized, with stunning white curtains. And the grass was neatly trimmed, with a nice rock garden on each side of the stairs. This came as a shock to him, because I never told him that I came from a wealthy family. I never told people; it was something that I did not want people attaching my name with. My name already had several tags, such as mean girl, b***h, and cheerleader. I did not need rich, spoiled, or wealthy to appear next to my name, too. When we stepped inside, Craig took in a breath. You could immediately see the large living room the moment you walked in, with the 47" flat screen, mounted to the wall. You also saw parts of our fancy kitchen. "We never formally introduced. I'm Clarissa," said my mother, looking at Craig as she took off her jacket. She hung it up next to the door, on a small rack with her name on it. My mother was a very classy woman. She cared what people thought, almost more than what she thought. She was very social, too. People around town knew her as the rich daughter, which is quite true, because, let's face it: her father, who was now dead, was richer than rich. He held a millionaire status. And he left my mother quite an inheritance. And boy, did she ever use it. My father was the complete opposite. He could not care a less what others though. As long as he was happy with himself, his world spun round. This is why I preferred my father more than my mother. When my mother was forcing me into designer dresses at thirteen for adult cocktail parties, my father was telling me that I could stay home and watch some movies with him, or hang out with my friends in my room. "I'm Anthony." Said my father, moving to the table to take his seat. He did not even bother to look at Craig. "Please, Craig, make yourself at home. Actually, why don't you take a seat at the dinner table? You too, Bethany. I have a Cesar salad and grilled chicken, seasoned in lemon. Does that sound okay?" She asked, mainly towards Craig. She saw the tense look on my face. "Honey, you can stick with the Cesar salad only, if you want." she added, softly. "That sounds fantastic, Clarissa. But I'm afraid that I have to enforce a rule. Bethany is expected to eat some vegetables and meat at every meal, therefore she will have to have some chicken." he said, looking at me, apologetic. My mother looked at me, expectant. My father looked at me like Craig did: apologetic. He knew that I did not want to eat chicken, mainly because I never even liked chicken all that much. "Oh, it's fine, mom. I would love some. The food from the center for skin- I mean, the center for treatment, is quite lousy." I said, almost calling the it the center for skinnies and psychos. My mother would have gone crazy if she heard me say such an expression. "Amazing!" she chirped, grabbing a large salad bowl. She put a medium sized serving of salad on each of our plates, already in front of us. Then, she took the tray of chicken breasts, and gave one to each of us, giving me the largest. She winked at me. "Clarissa." said my father, eying my plate. "She needs to eat, Anthony." said my mother, sternly. "I don't expect her to eat more than I can." he muttered, looking down. Just then, Craig, once again, jumped to my rescue. "Actually, Clarissa, she has to eat specific portions per day. The salad is perfect, but the chicken serving is much too large." he said. "Oh! Well seeing as those are the rules, we will follow them." said my mother, picking up the chicken from my plate and placing it back on the tray. She gave me a much smaller piece. Craig winked at me and grinned as she walked past him, putting chicken on his plate. After she served full glasses of milk, we all finally started eating. The taste of this chicken in my mouth made me choke, literally. I washed it down with a sip of milk. My mother was, without a doubt, a fantastic cook. I just did not like chicken. "So, honey. How's the experience going?" asked my father, as casual as ever. My mother shot him a glance, which we both ignored. "Great, dad. I'm making progress already. I'm seeing this whole situation a bit more clearly, now that I'm actually getting help." I said, with a small smile. My father smiled back. "And your finding strategies to overcome this?" my mother asked, curious and worried. "Yes, I am. I'm also starting to see the reality. If I kept my old eating patterns, I'd probably be dead by now." I said, very serious. My mother choked on her salad. My father chuckled, and Craig tried to hide a laugh. "It's not a joking matter." my mother said, glaring at my father, again. "It was your expression." he laughed aloud, not caring. Craig fought the urge to laugh by drinking his milk. I giggled through a closed mouth. If all three of us starting laughing, my mother would have an anxiety attack for treating this so lightly. "Dinner was fantastic, Clarissa, but I am exhausted." he said, yawning. "Same. Do you mind if we go to bed?" I asked. I immediately regretted my choice of words. My father had a look on his face. It was a mixture of confusion and anger. "Sorry, wrong choice of words. I meant, can I go up to my room, and show Craig to the guest bedroom?" I rephrased, looking at my father. He still had that look on his face. "You'll have to excuse her, but we've noticed that she slips up on her sentences when she's tired. It's from the therapist's notes. It's also a side effect from the anti-nausea medication she was given, prior to boarding the plane today." explained Craig, with a seriousness that only I knew was fake. The look on my father's face vanished, and my mother looked almost relieved. "Well, sure, Bethany. Show Craig to his room, and then retreat to yours." She said, standing up with me. She gave me a right hug, kissing my cheeks repeatedly. "Can't breathe." I gasped, in a fake voice. She released me and gave Craig a firm hug too, minus the millions of kisses. "Goodnight, guys." said my father from the table. Once we were down the hall, Craig grabbed my hand, and I walked him down the hall, to the large guest room. He gasped in shock as he entered.
He looked around the room, shocked. The red walls had amazing classic black and white photography, mounted on wood, spread across the room evenly. The brown sateen sheets an comforter looked too inviting, and the bed was a queen size. There was a dresser, a vanity filled with books, and a small desk with a laptop. There was also a miniature fridge, filled with water bottles.
"Guest room?" he asked, looking around, astonished.
"Wow." he said, whistling. I chuckled as I kissed his cheek.
"I better be going to my room. My parent's will be in to check on my within twenty minutes." I said.
"Do they go to sleep early?" asked Craig.
"Yes." I answered.
"Then once you're sue their asleep, why don't you sneak down here to visit?" he murmured in my ear, sending shivers and thrills through me.
"You can count on it. And I'll be wearing something quite nicer than my usual sleepwear." I said, with a seductive smile on my face. He quickly pulled me into his arms and kissed me before letting go, smiling, and unpacking his small bag.
I walked up to my room. I missed my room so much. It was large, with a 32" flat screen mounted to the wall. Pictures from cheer competitions and old hangout times with my friends were taped to my back wall, around a circular window. I called it my circle of life. My dresser and desk was still there, with my Mac on top, waiting to be used. And of course, my vanity desk, with a mirror attached, was filled with my makeup and hair products. I walked over to my closet, where I looked at my fantastic wardrobe. My shoes were still lined neatly on the floor. Gosh, I missed this place.
I got changed into some old pajamas, and lied down in bed. I waited until my parents knocked on my door.
"Honey?" called my mother.
"Come in." I called, as the two entered my room. They smiled at me. They were already in their matching robes, ready for bed.
"Just wanted to say goodnight." my father said, waving.
"Goodnight." I said softly, pretending to fall asleep.
"Goodnight." they said in unison, closing my door. I jumped up moments after, sprinting to my dresser. I found a sexy, black lace bra and thong set. I put it on slowly, careful not to rip anything. I put on a small, red, silk robed. I walked over to my vanity, where I put on light makeup. I ran my brush through my hair, applying shine gloss. I spritzed some perfume over the length of my body. I was ready.
I walked quietly down the grand stairway, and then down the hall to Craig's room. I opened the door slowly without knocking, to see him sitting on his bed, with nothing on except for his boxers. His strong chest looked sexy, as did the rest of his body. And his face, as usual, looked as if it belonged in an ad for a punk rock music channel or something. He looked amazing.
I closed to door, and locked it. I slowly walked over to him, removing my robe. First, I untied it. Then, I let it slide off naturally. And when it was completely off, his eyes were wide, lustful. Without hesitation, he grabbed me and pulled me on top of him, kissing me passionately and wildly. He felt my body, and I felt his. After an hour of kissing, both of us were in pure excitement, not wanting to stop.
"We should stop." he murmured, not even able to convince himself as he said it.
"Why should we?" I giggled into his neck.
"We can't go all the way. And I really want to." he said, his voice tight.
"I want to, too." I murmured into his neck.
"Then we should slow down, before we do something really stupid." he replied, still not even convincing himself.
I rolled off of him, knowing that this would be the hardest part. At least in Arizona, we knew our chances of getting caught, and they were extremely high. But here, there was practically no chance.
"I'm sorry. I know how hard this part is for you." I whispered, sitting up and crossing my legs.
"It's fine. We'll be able to in a while. But until then-"
"Four months." I interrupted.
"We can't." he finished.
"I can go back to my room." I said, getting up. He grabbed my hand and pulled me back down.
"No, stay. Let's just not get too carried away." he murmured softly, wrapping his arms around me.
We spoke for hours. We spoke about old relationships, old jobs, and old activities and interests. Amazingly, we had a lot in common. We both loved cooking, photography, and writing, and we both had nearly the same number of old relationships.
Once I noticed that it was three in the morning, I decided that it was time for me to get some sleep.
"Goodnight." I said, standing up. He stood up with me, and walked me to the door. At the door, he gave me a long kiss, wrapping his arms around my waist. When we finished, I grabbed my robe, tied it, and went back to my room, knowing that tomorrow would be one of the hardest days on my life.
The next morning, I woke up with a giddy smile on my face from the night before. That smile lasted for all of two seconds, because I remembered that I was visiting Samantha today. I looked at the clock; it was already 10:00AM. I was meeting her at one this afternoon. I went to my private bathroom, and showered. I got out, blow dried my hair perfectly straight, got dressed in a pair of dark blue skinny jeans, with a white camisole and a red zip up sweater that I wore half-way zipped up. I went back to my room, and sat at my vanity desk. I put on light make up, and a cute necklace on. I ran down the stairs to see my mother and father sitting at the table with Craig. They were enjoying croissants. "Good morning, Bethany." said my father. "Good morning." I replied, looking at all three of them. "How did you sleep?" asked my mother. "Not very well. Nervous about today." I admit. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure it will all go fine." re-assured my father. "And if it doesn't, then at least you know you tried," added Craig. My mother sat there quietly. "How badly was she bullied?" asked my mother, looking down at her coffee. Craig got a look on his face. He could tell I was not comfortable. "I'm not comfortable answering that." I muttered, sitting down to a plate that was already served. "I fixed you a plate by the guidelines of the center." he told me quietly. "You didn't answer my question." said my mother loudly. "Nor does she have to!" boomed my father. I looked down at my plate to see a croissant, an orange and a piece of cheese. At first, it looked amazing. Then, it looked like garbage. I guess it reflected the way I felt. "Bethany should not be discussing this." said Craig in a low voice. There was no conversation for the rest of breakfast. When we got up, my father said, "Well, let's get going." "Aren't we meeting at one?" I asked. "You're flight back to Arizona has been modified for an earlier hour. You'll be visiting her now." he said, putting his coat on. Craig grabbed his bag as we walked out the door. I knew we were not coming back afterwards. I looked at my house from the car window, silently saying goodbye, and feeling tears well up in my eyes. But I would not cry. On the drive to the hospital, nobody said anything. My mother was speeding. She had tears in her eyes. You could tell that she did not want to do this. My father just had a blank expression on his face. He kept turning around to smile at me reassuringly, but it didn't help one bit. Once we were at the hospital parking lot, my mother informed us that she and my father would be staying in the car. My mother cared too much about her image, as usual. I walked with Craig through the hospital to the elevator. We rode it until the 9th floor: the psychiatric wing. When the bell rung and we got off, we saw Samantha's mother, a woman who I had seen several times before, with a sympathetic look on her face. Tears fell from my eyes. "I'm so sorry." I cried, wiping them away. I was completely shaking. Craig placed a hand on my back. "I'm the supervisor." he said quietly. She nodded her head. "I know you're sorry. You were not the only one bullying her." she said, her voice quiet. "I was the ringleader!" I cried loudly. She walked over to me and put an arm around me. She walked me to the hallway, and then to the door that Samantha was behind. "I know that." she said, nodding her head. She opened the door. I walked in, eyes shut. Craig followed me in. I opened my eyes when the door closed, leaving the mother outside. I saw Samantha, larger than ever, in a hospital bed, with bandaging around her wrist. She sat up, looking at me with sad eyes. "Please don't cry." she said. I sat down, wiping my tears. Craig stayed at the door. I looked at the bandage for two minutes before speaking. "Samantha, if I had any idea that my bullying was going to lead to this..." I said, but once again, was broken off my my own tears. I sobbed, holding on to her bed for support. "You weren't the only one. You may have been the ringleader, but it wasn't you that made it so bad. It was how everybody would gang up on me. I don't blame you for that." she said quietly, smoothing my hair. I looked up at her. She was not lying; you could see it in her eyes. "When I heard you were in Arizona for bulimia, I started crying. That was four days ago, when a girl from school came to visit. You're such a beautiful girl, Bethany. Outside and inside. Of course, you're a stunner, physically, but for doing this? Coming all the way back to Vermont from Arizona to apologize? It shows that you are, truly, a good person, despite the image that you had at school." she said, smiling. "Why were you crying for me?" I asked, sniffling. I wiped my tears away again. "Because you had it all. The looks, the brains, the personality. Even the money to go Ivy League. And I honestly thought that you were throwing that away. When I saw you walk in just now, I was shocked by how skinny you got." she explained. "I know. I'm finding help. My recovery process is going pretty good." I said, smiling at her. "It's good to hear that." she said, smiling. "How are you doing?" I asked, looking at her wrist. "Good, I guess. I'm definitely not going to die. But they want to keep me here for a while. You know, evaluations." she explained. Just then, the mother walked in. "The doctor says visiting time is over. She has very strict hours." the mother said, looking at me. I stood up, and bent down to give her a small hug and kiss her cheek. "I might be in a recovery center because I royally f*ed up." I said, looking at her. "But by the time I'm out, I want to hear that you're out, too, and that you're doing something amazing." A tear rolled down her cheek, and one rolled down mine, too. We giggled, and I waved, leaving the room. I left that hospital with a new life. She was right; I had all of the opportunities in the world. Why waste them?
After leaving the hospital, my mother drove Craig and I to the airport. Of course, there was no conversation, apart from the small questions, like, "How is she?" or "How does she look?", which I was not in the mood to answer. "The Center called and said that you are expected to be in therapy and to follow regular routine tomorrow." informed my mother. I groaned. They wouldn't let me sleep in, just this once? "Sorry, kiddo. But even they want you to get better." said my father, shrugging his shoulders. Craig sat silently, not interrupting our conversation until my mother decided to ask him every question imaginable. How his life was going, what he wanted with his future, what university he attended. She even asked about his relationship status! How nosy. "Well, I have a new girlfriend, and I must say, I think that she's the one." he said, with a proud smile on his face. I giggled quietly. "What is so funny?" demanded my mother. "Oh nothing." I replied quietly, looking down. "Honestly Craig," started my father, "I hope one day that our daughter finds a man who can say that about her, to complete strangers, when she is not around." This time, I burst out laughing. I could not control it. Even Craig was laughing pretty heavily. If only my parents knew why. "You guys are all crazy." muttered my mother. We shut out mouths, not wanting to upset her further. But seriously, we were drowning in irony. Once we got to the airport, my parents got out of the car to give long hugs to each of us. After a goodbye that left my parents and I in tears, Craig and I boarded the jet, on our way back to Arizona. Once the plain had taken off and we were safe without seat belts, Craig and I used the time to be very intimate with each other. Anything more than simple kissing was hard to pull off at the center. That much was made obvious when it was pointed out by Tasha. Once we landed and hopped in to the car, I knew that the fun between Craig and I had to be limited. The car was driven my another supervisor from the Center, so there was no touching. We didn't even speak. When we got back to the Center and entered the lobby, all of the girls from our wing were standing there. "How was it?" asked Britney, who knew all about it. "It went well." I replied. "It's water under a bridge?" asked Crystal. "Yes, luckily. I'm exhausted." I said, barely able to stand up straight. Craig held onto my upper arm to stabilize me. When he did this, Tasha winked at me. I smiled and winked back. "I think you should get to bed." said Craig in a low voice. I nodded my head. As we started to walk, Melissa and Angy emerged from the hall. "We need to speak. Now." said Melissa. Worry ran through me. I had no idea what was happening, and if Craig and I were about to get caught, I did not even have the energy to lie. I followed Angy and Melissa down a long hallway. It led to a small room, with a lock on the door. Melissa held the door for us, and then stepped in, closing it behind her. "So," she said, stepping in and sitting down. "Yes?" I asked, too curious. "Angy here has reported inappropriate behavior among you both. What's all that about?" she demanded, studying my face. S**t, I though. We were busted.
Craig sat there, expressionless. Angy sat there, looking angered. And Melissa sat there with a look that I did not even understand. "Between Craig and I?" I asked, pretending to seem completely lost. Melissa shook her head, not understanding my question. "No, between you and Angy. I know that there's no problem with Craig." I sighed a breath of relief. Craig did, too. We both knew that the consequences would be steep if we were caught. "She verbally attacked me." accused Angy, looking even more angry. "Bogus. I had a nightmare, and two girls, Britney and Crystal, came in my room to make sure I was okay. I explained the nightmare, and why I had the nightmare, and we just started talking some more." I explained. "And then, when I asked them to retreat to their rooms, I was verbally attacked." she said, glaring at me. "Again, bogus. I simply stated that I was not aware of those rules. The other two left immediately. Was I supposed to bow down to you?" I asked, giving her a sharp look. Melissa just shook her head, rubbing her temples. "Angy, unless they call you a name, I don't want to hear that they verbally attacked you. Okay?" sighed Melissa. "Actually, I think there's more to it than that. I think she's being fueled by Craig." she said, accusing Craig now. "Excuse me, but what the hell have I done?" he demanded. "You two are more than friends I know it!" she yelled back. Melissa's head shot up, her eyes wide. She stared at Craig, then at me. "Is this true?" she asked very quietly. "No!" Craig and I yelled at the same time, both acting completely shocked. It seemed to work. "Do you have any proof, Angy?" asked Melissa, her head in her hands again. "No, but-" "No buts! I don't want to hear it, Angy! This is why you don't date co-workers. Craig, bring Bethany to her room immediately. Angy, we have to have a talk." she said, completely exasperated. I sat there, stunned at what I just heard. No wonder Angy hated me. I was Craig's girl, she knew it, and she was jealous because she used to have him. Craig tapped on my shoulder, motioning for me to get up. We both shot evil glares at Angy before leaving. Once we were out the door, Craig led me to a stairway that I was unfamiliar with. "Shortcut." he said, not realizing the stunned look that was still painted on my face. "You and Angy dated?" I asked, as we climbed the stairs. His face fell. I could already see that he was ashamed to even admit to it. "For a few weeks last year. She's still angry about it." he admit. "Why the breakup?" I asked, curious. "She's a b***h, weren't you able to tell?" he asked, chuckling. I chuckled too, despite my shock. Once he dropped me off at my room, he gave me a few light kisses before saying goodbye until tomorrow. I noticed that it was past eleven. I needed some sleep. But I wasn't done with him just yet. I grabbed on to the cloth of his shirt, and tugged him into the bathroom, where I pressed him tightly against me, and kiss me. After kissing for ten minutes, we finally separated ourselves from each other, an retreated to our rooms. What an interesting night.
The next day, when I woke up in a cloud of confusion, I honestly forgot everything that had happened. Yet, I looked at my hair, which I had the opportunity to do really well the day before, and remembered the weekend I had just had. I sprung out of bed, and walked over to the hall. Poking my head outside to see if Craig was there, I caught Angy, talking to him, clearly angry. I flung myself back in before I was noticed. "You're having a relationship with a patient!" said Angy, in a very loud whisper. "Shut up. I am not, and if she hears you talking about her, she will come out here. Her room is right there." he said, in a rushed, low voice. "Look, you don't have to hide it from me. I know it." I heard her say, speaking up a bit. "It's not true. Why do you dislike her so much, to the extent that you would want to get us both in trouble for a stupid assumption?" he asked, his voice raising with anger. "Look, Craig," she murmured, in a sweet voice, "if you were with me, we'd never had to hide." "But I don't want to be with you." he countered, clearly tired of this conversation. "But at least you could sleep with me. I'm legal; she's not." said Angy, her voice sultry. Wow, this girl is absolutely pathetic, I thought to myself. And above all, disturbingly desperate. Then there was silence. A small ruffling sound, and more silence. I popped my head out the door to see her kissing him. And although his eyes were wide open in shock, and he was trying to move away and break off of her grip, I broke down. I covered my hand with my mouth to muffle my sobs. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I heard Craig yell, "Get the hell off of me! I don't like you like that. Just back off." As I lay in bed, my head buried in the rough pillow, I heard the employee door slam; Angy must have left. I hear somebody punch a wall; that must have been Craig. And then I heard footsteps. A slight knock on the inside of my door. Heavy breathing. Craig was there. I could not face him. "Bethany?" he whispered, walking closer to me. "Leave me alone." I said, with tears pouring. He noticed and sat on by bedside, raising me up a bit. "You heard that conversation?" he asked, wiping the tears from my eyes. I just shook my head, trying to erase the image of them kissing. More tears spilled down my cheeks. "What is it, then?" he murmured in my ear, still wiping the tears from my eyes. "The image of her kissing you, with her hand pressed against your pants, makes me want to strangle that desperate b***h!" I whispered, infuriated. His cheeks turned a deep red. "Bethany, I swear, I did not want her to do that." he said, his voice raspy. "I know. But you'll want her more in the long run." I cried, more tears falling. "No, Bethany! Why would you think such a thing?" he demanded. "Because I'm just a stupid virgin who isn't even legal." I muttered, looking down. His eyes widened, and he smirked. It was the first time he looked genuinely angry. "You think I spend all this time with you because I want sex?" he demanded. "No, of course not, but the fact that you won't be able to get it for a while-" "I love you, Bethany. I don't care about that." he murmured, pulling me into his arms for a hug. I knew that he was right; I just couldn't understand why. Why he would want me, above her. "I love you, too." I whispered.
"You have three weeks left in this program, unless you do something that would jeopardize your safety or health." said Melissa, as I sat down that morning in therapy.
"Why? I thought it was a long program." I said, very confused. Some of the girls had been here for months; why was I about to be let out after one month?
"The therapists on my team and the supervisors that have been watching you, including Craig, have decided that you are making amazing progress. Ultimately, it is my choice, and I think that you will be ready in three weeks to move back into the real world, Bethany." She said, placing her hands on her lap.
"How am I supposed to deal with the real world? Look what happened last time." I muttered, very scared of what my future outside of these walls would look like.
"Well, what about your strategies? Tell me one thing to think about when you want to fall back into your old trends." she said, encouragingly.
"I would think about how lucky I am to have everything I have, and how far I can go in life if bulimia is not a part of it." I said, feeling confident.
"That's right. You should think of even more." she said. "How was the weekend?"
"Very productive. That's where I came up with the strategy." I said absently.
"And everything turned out well?"
"Yes. It's water under a bridge." I said, with my voice cracking.
I sat there for the next two minutes, thinking. What would my reaction be the next time somebody said I was fat? Would I end up right back here? Would I screw up even more? A tear fell from my eye, and I covered my face with my hands as more fell. Melissa touched my knee with a few tissue papers, which I used gratefully.
"You have to have confidence, Bethany. You can't stay in this sheltered environment forever. Most are so happy when they leave." she said, slightly confused.
"I am. But I'm scared of what the outside world will bring." I cried, barely able to speak.
She clapped her hands.
"Bethany, listen to me. You will not be alone, I promise. Craig will be visiting you weekly for a few months to ensure that you are okay." she said, patting my knee.
I looked up at the clock; it was time for me to go back to my room. Without saying a word, I left her office, and walked back to my room with my shoulders hunched, as more tears fell.
"I'm leaving in three weeks." I said in group therapy that day. All of the girls and Arielle clapped for me. I motioned my hand to tell them to stop. I was not happy about it. My face was sour.
"You don't seem happy." said Arielle, confused.
"Aren't you excited? I mean, you had it all in Vermont..." said Tasha.
"You're not going to be completely hated on, Bethany." reassured Crystal.
"I'm scared of what the world outside these walls will bring." I admit in a murmur.
"That's a very understandable fear, Bethany. What are the rest of your fears, upon leaving here?" asked Arielle to the group.
"That I'm going to fall back into the same old trap that led me here." said Nina.
"There are two ways to avoid that: ignore the people that do drugs, and have confidence. Know, Nina, that as long as you stay away from the people that use and encourage drugs, you won't fall back into this rut." explained Arielle.
We sat, thinking quietly about our fears. I knew that I had millions; I just was not comfortable with saying them.
The bell rang, and I jumped up, leaving before I went crazy in the silence. What are my fears? At this point, almost everything in the outside world.
That night, just before Craig came to my room, I stripped to my bra and panties. I lay in bed, under the sheets. When he came in, I slowly sat up. His eyes widened when he saw my lack of clothing, but he did not object. After a quick kiss, I leaned towards his ear and whispered, "I'm leaving in three weeks."
"I heard. Melissa told me." he said, looking down, clearly upset and happy at the same time.
"I'm scared." I whispered.
"I know, but don't worry, I'll visit, and Melissa will call you weekly to check up on the situation." he reassured, smoothing my hair.
"Do you think we'll be able to have a relationship once I'm gone?" i asked, worried about that, too.
"Of course. I wouldn't leave you unless you asked. In fact, I'd give you anything you would ask for." he murmured, kissing me after. I knew what I wanted from him. It was a reassurance that he would stay with me.
"Anything?" I asked, breaking apart.
"Anything." he promised. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and pulled him down on top of me. I kissed him passionately, and rubbed my hands over his chest and abs. Then, I rubbed them a little lower.
"Anything but that." he chuckled.
"Why not?" I asked, offended.
"You're a minor. And people will hear." he said, completely shocked that I didn't think of this. He moved away.
"Whatever." I said, grabbing my shirt from the floor. He sighed.
"Look, don't be offended. It's illegal, Bethany..." he said.
"Whatever. I don't get it. You like me. In three weeks, you won't see me every day. And you don't want to take things a notch further?" I asked, skeptic. He did not understand; this would be my reassurance of his love when we were on other sides of the country!
"Why do you want this so badly?" he asked, not understanding.
"Just get out." I whispered, feeling tears rise again.
"Get out." I repeated.
He left the room abruptly. Once I was sure he was gone, I allowed myself to sob some more. Today had just been a horrible day for me.
The next day, Craig did not wake me up, but I woke up with all the other girls when the bell rang. I knew he was angry with me for my little fit last night. In fact, for that whole week he did not wake me up. And although I was making amazing progress in the self discovery part of this journey, my relationship with Craig was dying. Nevertheless, I my self discovery outweighed my relationship drama. I had spoken to an old friend from Vermont, under Melissa's supervision. Her name was Kelsey, and of course, she was a popular girl. "Bethany?" she had asked, stunned. "Yes." "How are you?" "Sick." I replied, honestly. "What kind of sick?" "I'm in a treatment center for bulimia." I said, feeling the awkwardness that now rang. "I knew that. Never mind. When are you coming back?" she asked, clearly excited. "Three weeks. But look, Kelsey. I'm done. No more treating people like they're pieces of s***. I'm going to start respecting people. Including Samantha. I don't care whether or not you agree." I stated. "What? Bethany, Samantha is a freak of nature. She doesn't deserve our respect!" she yelled. The phone was on speaker, and Melissa just shook her head when she heard this. "Yes, she does. You do know what happened to her, right?" "Yes." "Well then, you're either with me or against me, but I guarantee you, I am taking my spot back on the cheer squad, and I will not back down when it comes to my popularity. But I'm also not going to back down when it comes to what I believe in. If you want to be my friend, that you have to change for the better. I'm not hanging out with people who are only going to bully others. That's what my ex did to me, and look where I ended up." I explained. "Fine. I'll respect her. And everybody else." she muttered. "Great. And pass that message on to the rest of of." I said, clicking the phone shut. Melissa nodded her head. "I'm very proud of you." she said. "Why?" I asked. "Because you stood up for what you believed in. You did not go back to your old ways when given the opportunity. That is what will keep you sane once you leave here, Bethany." she said, leaving me alone in my room. Also that week, I discovered that I was beautiful. It all happened very quickly. One minute, I was brushing my teeth. The next, I was laughing. I had looked up from the sink to the mirror and saw how my hair was thick and full again, and how nicely it fell on top of my shoulders. I saw my eyes, shining brightly, and proudly, for the progress I had been making. I saw my teeth, which were pearly white. I also saw my body. I was back up to 105lbs, which was still thin, but good. I was starting to regain shape, which I was ecstatic about. Needless to say, that week was a week of discoveries.
My second to last week generally soaked of embarrassment. Every time I saw Craig, my cheeks turned beat read. I knew how pathetic I was the other night; I had no idea what took over me. I was angry for being so stupid.
And every time I saw Angy, I nearly broke down in tears, or ripped her head off. One night, she waltzed into my room, as soon as I heard Craig leave. Of course, he did not visit me.
"Why's Craig so angry?" she demanded that night, at the foot of my bed.
"Ask him yourself," I muttered.
"Look, I know you're with him." she muttered.
"Why do you care?" I demanded.
"Because I still love him."
I looked up at her. For the first time, she looked weak. Defeated. Although I would definitely not admit our relationship to her, I would admit what I saw.
"I saw you kiss him." I muttered. Her eyes grew wide.
"Gosh, nobody was supposed to see that. But why were you so upset by it?" she asked, shaking her head.
Unless I told her everything, which was the last thing I was about to do, there was no chance of her understanding. I just shook my head. She left my room.
I was even embarrassed to look at Melissa. After the whole ordeal with Angy, Craig and I, she never really looked at me the same way. One day, after our session, she looked me straight in the eye and asked,
"Are you with Craig?"
I just shook my head. Technically, this was true. She just nodded, studying my face. I'm quite sure she caught the tear, because she then asked,
"Do you love him?"
And again, I just shook my head. But this time, my tears were pouring, and I opened the door, running down the hall. And of course, Craig saw.
This was on the Friday of my second to last week. Too long without seeing him. I was going crazy.
I woke up that Monday, knowing that the following Monday, I would hop onto the company's private jet without supervision, and head back to Vermont. I checked my clock; it was 6:30AM. I desperately wanted to talk to Craig. I walked over to the washroom and cleaned myself up a bit. Then, I walked over to the office.
At first, he looked up, then back down. But then, he looked up at me, apologetic. He stood up, walked over to me, and wrapped me in his arms for a hug. I held on tightly.
"I'm so sorry." I murmured.
"Me too." he replied.
We kissed passionately for a minute of so. He walked me to my room, where we sat on the bed, with me in his arms.
"I love you." he whispered.
"I love you, too."
He spun me around to face him. He pulled my face to his, kissing me again.
"I give in." he whispered. I felt his body warm up.
"What?" I asked, shocked.
"If you want us to go a notch further, I will absolutely oblige." he chuckled, playing with my hair.
"Oh really?" I whispered in his ear, feeling his body.
"Yes, really. I can't say no to you." he said, leaning in for another kiss.
"How does tonight sound?" I giggled, excited already.
"If you want it, you got it." he replied.
It was Monday morning, I was happy, and Craig was with me. Talk about a great start to my final week.
The day went by like a bullet. Literally, I walked like a crack head all day; stuttering my words, twitching a bit, and generally acting foolish.
"Did they give you some medications or something today?" asked Melissa, who looked genuinely scared.
"Nope. Just hyper." I chirped.
"You seem like you're on drugs." she mentioned, eying me.
"Just a good d-day." I murmured, looking at the wall.
Later on in group therapy, when we were discussing our lives back at home, and what we wanted them to be, I could not stop giggling.
Through dinner, I was fidgeting like there was no tomorrow. Britney and Crystal even sat away from me, looking at me with curious eyes. Tasha, however, felt the need to come up to me and ask me what I took.
"Nothing." I giggled. She sat down and smiled.
"Does it have to do with Craig?" she murmured in my ear, with a stupid grin.
I just nodded my head. She nodded once she fully understood. She knew just by the look on my face that this was more than a good make out session.
"Is it your first time?" she asked, curious.
"Yeah!" I almost yelled. She just patted my leg.
"Use a condom." she said, getting up to sit with Nina. I stared as she walked away, thinking.
Condom? What if he didn't have any? Then what? Would we do it without one? No, I wouldn't allow that. Would I? Gosh, I was going crazy.
And then, when I looked over at the clock and saw 10:30PM, I yelped. Craig would be coming to my room to bring me to the room that he occasionally used here. When he and his friend weren't getting along at the apartment, he'd crash the night here.
The arrangements were already made; he was having Angy come in early, because he apparently was sick, and would crash if he had to stay the whole length of his shift. And as for me? Well, he would bring me past the desk, saying that she had to visit Melissa, as soon as possible, and that he had already called to inform her.
I heard a faint knock at my door. Craig was standing there, grinning from ear to ear. I grinned back.
Tonight was going to be a great night.
He walked me quietly past the desk. Angy glared and just shook her head quickly. Once we were at the staff stairway, he pulled me into his arms for a long, passionate kiss. We walked up to his room. He tied a piece of cloth around my eyes, and pushed the door opened for me. I took off the cloth once he closed the door.
I was absolutely shocked. It seemed as if he set up something for a movie. There were a million candles around the room, all lit, sending aromas of vanilla through the air. They lit up the room; the actual lights were off. The bed had on sateen sheets; the hospital linen was gone. It was all so beautiful. There were even rose petals on the bed. A tear rolled down my cheek.
"I want this to be special for you." he murmured, with a shy smile on his face.
I whirled around and threw my arms around his neck, pressing him tightly against me. I kissed him, and backed up onto the bed, pulling him on top of me. I giggled as he threw off his shirt. I took mine off, throwing it to the floor. He unhooked me bra as I undid his jeans. Before we knew it, we were completely nude.
And then we actually had sex. It was slightly awkward, and at the beginning, a bit painful. But once we got started, it was beautiful; although it was not like in movies, when the women scream their heads off in pleasure, it was extremely special. He made it special.
Once we were done, and he held me in his arms, we breathed heavily, relaxing. He turned to me, kissing me lightly, still breathing heavily.
"That was fantastic." he murmured against my neck.
"Yeah, for a first time, it was pretty special." I giggled, kissing him again.
"Watch it, sweetheart, or I might get excited again." he said with a mischievous grin.
"Maybe I want you excited again!" I giggled, throwing myself on top of him, kissing him. Just as we were about to go at it again, there was a loud knock on the door.
"Craig, it's Melissa. I'm giving you twenty seconds to open the door." She yelled, slamming against it.
Talk about ruining a night.
I jumped up, blowing out most of the candles. I ran into the small private bathroom, into the laundry hamper, underneath a pile of clothing. I prayed that we would not get caught. I heard Craig run in, grab a towel, and I peaked from a sheet to see him pouring a cold bottle of water over his face. He flicked the lights on, and opened the door.
\"Melissa, hi. I thought I heard knocking, I was just in the shower.\" He said nervously.
\"Angy told me that you had brought Bethany to see me.\" she said, confidently.
\"W-what?\" he asked.
The door slammed. She was in the small room. Oh god.
\"I walked by the office. Angy asked why I left you unattended in my office. I confirmed that Bethany wasn\'t in my office; she was in your room. And then she told me about your plan. So where is she?\" demanded Melissa.
\"Mel,\" she started, very calmly. \"Angy is very jealous of the comfort that Bethany has towards me. Have you checked her room?\"
\"Yes. She\'s not there. I\'m searching your area before I send the cops in.\" she yelled.
She searched the room, rummaging in and out of things. She stomped into the bathroom. Luckily, I was wearing a robe. She checked behind the shower, and the door. But then, to my great dislike, she scooped some clothing out of the hamper. And guess who\'s blonde hair she saw.
\"Oh Bethany, what a surprise!\" she yelled, yanking me up. I hopped out, in tears. Craig was standing there, doing the same.
\"Did you guys have sex?\" she demanded quietly. We both shook our heads with common sense.
\"Bethany, you\'re obviously leaving Friday. Craig, you\'re gone Friday too. Permanently. Go move in with the minor.\" she said, storming out of the room, slamming the door. A minute later, she held the door, waiting for me. Not caring who saw, I kissed him gently.
\"Bye.\" I cried, as I walked out the door.
Honestly, I just lost the love of my life to the law.
I sat in Melissa's office, barely able to look up. My head was between my knees, and tears that Melissa did not want to see poured.
"I'm not too angry with you. You're a vulnerable teenager. He, on the other hand, is a matured adult." she said, as if it offered any comfort.
"I love him." I sobbed, cupping my face in my hands.
"I think it's lust that you feel." she muttered. I stood up, punching a wall.
"It is not lust, damn it! I know what I feel!" I sobbed, feeling myself shut down completely.
"It's wrong!" she yelled.
"Then please, tell me, why does it feel so right?" I demanded calmly, sitting back down. I could barely stand up; my knees were completely shaking.
"Only you can find that out. And you can only find it out when your in your right mind." she informed me.
"My mind." I said, glaring at her.
"Yes?" she asked, not understanding.
"I need to see Craig." I muttered.
"You're not seeing Craig. At least not tonight. Unfortunately, he will remain the supervisor for your wing until Friday. Anyhow, I've called your parents to inform them about this disgusting affair that you both call a relationship." she explained.
"You called my parents?" I demanded, angrier than ever.
"I had no choice. Yet, your mother did say about her having no problems with a relationship between you both, once your both out of the center." she said, shaking her head.
Wow. For the very first time, my mother understood, and cared about my feelings. She cared about the fact that I loved this boy.
There was a loud knock on the door. Nobody answered. Then, there was a louder knock.
"Come in," called Melissa,
Craig pushed the door opened, and then slammed it shut once he was inside. He took a seat next to me.
"I quit. The minute she leaves, I leave with her. I've called her parents; they have agreed to allow me to continue a relationship with her, because they were impressed with me when they last saw me." he stated, looking at her in the eye.
"You, Craig, will be responsible for getting yourself to Vermont. She will take the jet. Yet you, however, will not even use the company car to get to the airport. Have fun financing such a decision." She shot back.
"It's already taken care of." he stated back.
"Honestly... I don't even want to see you, Craig. Get out. Honestly. Get out." yelled Melissa. He got up, and then bent down, and pressed his lips to mine. I returned the kiss, and he just left afterwards.
"Thank you for giving me the help I've needed to get my life back on track. But I will never thank you for the hurt you've caused me tonight." I stated, getting up and leaving the office, sobbing.
Come Friday, I had my small bag packed. The other girls were all up to say goodbye. I promised that I would visit; besides, part of the program was monthly mental health checkups at the center. I had tears on my eyes as I dressed myself in regular clothing. I went up to the office, where Craig and Melissa sat, and asked for a permanent marker. They gave me one, curious. I asked them both to sign it. Twenty minutes later, my scrub shirt was filled with inspirational messages, signatures, and tears from the girls.
At 9:00AM on the dot, Craig and I both waited at the front exit. The girls all gave me a huge group hug.
"Stay healthy back in Vermont." whispered Crystals, tears streaking her cheeks.
"Enjoy it. Don't forget about us." giggled Britney.
"Go back to your old life, the right way." murmured Tasha, crying. Nina gave me a long hug.
I saw Melissa, coming over to walk me out. She glanced at me, looking almost proud.
"I'm extremely proud of you, Bethany." she murmured, patting my back. I nodded my head, unable to speak.
"Me too." mumbled Craig, glancing at me.
"Craig, I have nothing to say to you, apart from the fact that your welcomed to have a ride to the airport and a flight to Vermont." announced Melissa.
"It's fine, Craig. It's against my better judgement, but whatever." she muttered.
The car ride to the airport was longer than ever; as I looked out the window, I said silent goodbyes to the beautiful Arizona I now knew and loved. Another tear ran down my cheek.
As we boarded the plane, I broke down in Craig's arms, repeating that I wasn't strong enough to go back.
"You are," he promised. "and you won't be alone."
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Washington, District Of Columbia
South Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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