"My biggest fear is that eventually you will see me the way I see myself."


7. 4


Chapter Four

     "Where are we going?" I ask Harry a few minutes later, after being in his car. 

     "I want to show you somewhere, but we are going to get ice cream now," he says, turning to look at me with a smile.

     I nod and force a smile on my face. "Sounds nice." It was a good thing I didn't eat anything today. Ice cream for today's meal would be fine...hopefully.

     "How far is this place exactly?" I ask him after noticing he's been driving for a while.

     "Oh, forgot to mention that it's in Malibu. Hope you don't mind."

     "Not at all," I smile. I loved the beach and I wouldn't mind going there everyday. "So, you never told me why your in L.A."

     "We had a break," he says simply, "And I usually like to spend my breaks here."

     "Do you miss your family a lot?" I ask.

     "Yeah, but I make sure to keep in contact with them everyday."

     "That's nice," I say, staring ahead, wondering what his family was like. Surely not like mine, who didn't even care to notice that their daughter was suffering and was crying for help.

     We got to the beach less than thirty minutes later, after spending the car ride in casual chatter, with the radio playing in the background. Harry parks his car in the nearest parking spot closest to the ice cream shop, which seems to be gelato instead. "They have the best gelato here, the guys are from Italy," Harry says as we both walk inside the store. Luckily, there isn't that many people around this area.

    "Harry!" the man behind the counter with a slight accent yells. "So nice to see you again," he smiles.

    "You too pal," Harry smiles back, while I look at both of them and smile to myself at their encounter. "This is my friend Haven, Haven this is Leon," Harry introduces us.

    "Nice to meet you," I smile at Leon and he does the same back. 

    "What can I get for you guys today?"

    "I'll have the special for today. I'm feeling rebellious," Harry says with a big smile and I laugh at him. After trying one of the flavors, which tastes like Ferrero Rochet, I decide on having that in a small cup. 

    "Thanks," I tell Harry as we walk out.

    "No problem. Like it?" he asks, as he puts a spoonful of gelato in his mouth. I nod eagerly with a smile. "Glad you did. Come on, I want to show you something." I follow him across the street, where we end up walking on the sand and shore of the beach. Ten minutes of walking later, we go up a short flight of stairs, leading us off of the sand. We stand in front of a small, three floor building, and while I take my time to look at it with a confused expression, Harry's already walking inside. "Coming or what?" he asks, looking at me from behind. I go inside the building and stand to where he is. For some reason, there is no one in the building, as it is completely empty. It is as if it has been deserted, with random papers on the floor and gray walls in need of a new paint job. He simply takes my hand in his, leaving me shocked, and leads us up the stairs to the second floor. 

     When we reach the end of the stairs, a small bench is seen with long spiral stairs that twist in a circle and lead to the third floor. There is only one, small, squared window by the stairs and it is open. It has no glass frames, letting in the cool breeze from the beach and the sunlight from outside, which lights up the whole room. In contrast to the downstairs room, this room seems to be spotless and cleaner. The ocean and seagulls can easily be heard from outside, bringing in a feeling o relaxation. The small, brown bench is set right in the middle of the room, where the window can be seen if desired. Even for a small place, it is absolutely beautiful. 

    "Wow," I say amazed. Taking my hand out of his, I walk around the room and go to the window. "How'd you find this place?" I turn around and ask him, shocked.

    He shrugs and says, "I was running once and it just caught my eye. It's beautiful isn't it?"

    "Yeah," I say mindlessly, distracted by the scenery outside. "What is this place anyways?"

    "I have absolutely no idea," he shakes his head and sits on the bench. I walk away from the window and take a seat next to him, where we both continue to eat our gelato. 

    "How old are you?" he suddenly asks me.

    "Seventeen. Eighteen in November."

    "So you're graduating high school this year?" he asks, curiously. I nod at him and lick the chocolate off of my lips.

    "Do you know what you're doing after high school?"

    "Yup, art school. It's actually close by." I always had a thing for art. It was a way to express myself when words couldn't.

    "Sounds nice. What's your favorite place in the whole wide world?" 

    "Curious again?" I look at him with a grin and raised eyebrows. He nods with a small smile, urging me to continue. "Hmm," I look around the room, feeling him looking at me, while I think. "Paris and the beach, though I've never been to Paris," I laugh. 

    He laughs with me before saying, "It's a lovely place." 

    "That's one reason why I chose to attend the art school located nearby. It's by the beach," I shrug.

    "What's the other reason?" he asks, looking at me intently.

    "To be away from everyone."

    He looks down and nods quietly with his eyes narrowed. After a while, he looks up at me with a worried expression. "Haven," he starts to say softly, "I've noticed something."

    I put my cup of gelato down and take a gulp, scared of what he's going to say next. "W-what?" I ask shakily, with a nervous laugh.

    "I don't know how to say it."

    "Just say it," I nod slowly, urging him on.

    "You said you're always tired," he looks at me and says quietly. I don't answer back, unaware of what he's going to say next. "And you always seem to be colder than everyone else. You always eat with a smaller serving size, and I'm just wondering if you even eat at all."

     I immediately look at him with wide eyes and a scared expression. I felt embarrassed and did not want to discuss my problems with Harry. "I do eat," I say, forcing a small smile on my face to reassure him. I can feel my heartbeat accelerating against my chest; this is not what I was expecting.

    He shakes his head with a confident look and knowingly says, "No. Don't give me excuses or lie to me. Tell me the truth, I notice everything, so save all those lies you tell everyone to yourself." When I look at him quietly with wide, scared eyes and don't say anything, he continues to speak. "The first time we met at the beach, your mom told me that you don't even eat the food. I also remember clearly that your food was barely touched that day."

    I was stuck. I didn't know what to say or do. Out of everyone I know, how could Harry realize that something was happening or going wrong with me. Why him? "I wasn't hungry that day, I told you that before too. Remember?" I inquire, hoping he would believe me.

    "You got tea yesterday, which has no calories. How many calories do you usually take in a day?" he asks straightforwardly. 

    "As much as I want," I shrug, hoping he will be convinced, but it comes off sounding like a question. 

    "You can trust me. I won't do anything, I just don't think this is right or safe for you. Why are you even doing this to yourself?" he asks with a soft look in his eyes that urges me to spill everything. It warms my heart to think that he actually might care about me. 

    I decide to give up the show I always put on and put away the lies for today. "I don't know. I just wanted to be skinny," I say looking away, afraid of what he thinks of me now.

    "But you are," he says quietly. Typical answer. 

    "No, I might look like that to others, but that isn't enough. I don't like the number I see on the scale and I don't like what I see in the mirror," my voice raises. "I disgust myself. Does that even sound right?" I turn to look at him, as if he as all the answers to my questions. "I don't want any compliments, so please don't say anything because it isn't going to make me feel better."

    "Alright, alright. Why don't you just tell me how it all began," he says seriously, looking into my eyes.

    "I don't know how it all began. I just remember comparing myself to every other girl I saw, wanting to be them, wanting to look like them, or wanting to have their bodies. I wanted to be skinny because skinny meant cute and skinny meant perfect and that would make me happy." I take a deep breath before continuing. "And just like that, I started to eat less. Three meals a day became two and two meals a day became one. I couldn't go a day without having breakfast first, and now, I can't even go a day with eating breakfast. The thought terrifies me."

    "Have you seen a difference?"

    "Yeah. That was one the best days of my look in the mirror and see a change; to finally feel like I was going somewhere." I look at him before continuing, "I had control in my life this way. And I felt lighter and better with a grumbling stomach, than I ever did with a bloated, full one." I look down for a while, thinking about everything. "I thought I could stop when I lost enough weight, but I don't think I can. I hate it. I hate this feeling. I'm stuck and I don't know how to get out of this, yet I don't even think I want to because then I'm going to look like how I did before."

    I turn to look at him and gulp, swallowing back the lump in my throat. He's looking back at me with a worried expression, probably wanting nothing more to do with me. "Don't tell anyone whatever I just told you," I rush out scared, "Please."

     After a moment's pause, he gives me a convincing smile and says, "I won't, on one condition," he says raising his pointy finger, while I look at him, scared of what he is going to say next. "Don't tell anyone about this place." I let out a small, relieved laugh and nod my head, letting him know that a word about this place would never leave my lips. Hopefully, he would do the same about everything I just told him.



















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