The Price of Beauty

A new operation is available, it will burn your fat and clear your skin, it will shape your face and add shine to your hair...it will make you beautiful. But at a cost. Not only is this operation unbelievably expensive, it's extremely dangerous too. The eight-month long process pushes your body to its limits, and can even prove to be deadly.
When Cassie's twin sister Lily turns down the operation Cassie is offered it in her place free of charge. But what is the price of beauty? And is Cassie willing to pay it?

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10. Ten - Eight months earlier

I wake up to the sound of three hard knocks against my door. Struggling to see in the dark I wave my hands around searching for the light switch, after a few seconds I find it, wincing at the bright yellow light emitting from the bulb. I look down at my watch- it’s ten past midnight, who’s still up at this time on a Tuesday evening, or rather, a Wednesday morning? Still half asleep, I get up and head to the door, only to find Danielle standing impatiently on the other side.

“Dani...what? What are you doing here? It’s 12:10.”

“I know...I just had to come, it’s Lily.” She reveals, her tone apologetic. She looks worried.

“What about Lily?” I ask, growing concerned.

“Can I come in?” She checks. I part from the doorway, I letting her through. She sits down on the edge of my bed, her hands twitching in her lap. “Lily...she’s- she couldn't do it, she's still together with Sammy.”

“What?”

“I know...I know, I-”

“She said she'd end it with him, she promised! He’s crazy. All he wants to do is control her like she’s some...some doll!” I yell, hardly able to believe what I’m hearing, “You know what he’s like Dani, she can’t do this.”

“Apparently he promised things would be different from now on, that he'd change-”

“Like hell he will!” I snap, “Surely you can talk to her Dani? I’m her sister she’ll just tell me to shut up, but she’ll listen to you, you’re her best friend.”

“I’ve tried Cassie, believe me I’ve tried...but her mind’s made up.” Dani shrugs, “She won’t listen to me, she won’t listen to anyone. You can’t help someone if they don’t want to be helped.”

“Well we can’t just let her do this, Sammy’s a sociopath!” I cry out, breathless, “He reads her texts and listens in to her calls. He stops her from going out on Friday night when he can’t be around to constantly watch over her…he never leaves her alone, not even with me! I’m terrified of him and I’m not even the one dating him...Dani, we can’t just let her do this.” I’m beginning to panic, just the sound of Sammy’s name sets off alarm bells in my head. Sammy was the biggest mistake Lily’s ever made, and she was on her way to putting it right by breaking things off...what stopped her? The way I see it it’s simple. Sammy’s a creep, Lily isn’t happy, so she should end the relationship. It all seems easy enough in my mind...why isn't it in hers?

“We should have known she wouldn’t be able to end things with him.” Dani sighs, “Sure, Sammy isn’t good for her, but there are good moments, moments when he makes her happy, and it’s those moments, those little golden minutes, that she clings on to.” I sit back down, burying my head in my hands. Oh Lily...why? Why can't she just wake up and see the light?

“She deserves better than him.” I whisper, my voice breaking. I can feel my throat swelling as tears start to build, but I force them down. What good will crying do?

“Of course she deserves better,” Dani agrees, nodding, “But...but we don’t always give ourselves what we deserve, and...and I think- I think that she loves him Cassie.” I choke on my tears, breaking at her words. It’s sickening. It’s horrible. It’s wrong.

“How can you love someone who does that sort of thing to you?” I look up to her for guidance, completely lost. Dani just sighs, gazing absently across the room.

“How can you hate someone you love?”

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