Authors: Mary Cope
by Mary Cope
Published by Astraea Press
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright Â© 2014 MARY COPE
Cover Art Designed by CORA GRAPHICS
Thank you for your never ending support and always believing in me.
I love you~
I would first like to thank my fellow writers from The Santa Clarita Writers Workshop. I can honestly say, had it not been for the encouragement from this group of writers I would not have made it this far.
A personal thanks to my dear friend, Mike Bryant. My “Beta Man.” I can never thank you enough for your support and willingness to help me through the process of my writing journey. You will always hold a special place in my heart.
To my friends who understood when I said, “I just need to write one more chapter,” meant they wouldn't see me for days. I am grateful for each of you.
Kathy, Josie, and Nick, Thank you for believing in your little sister. I love you.
Christopher and Sarah, You make me proud to be called, Mom.
The faint sounds of a guitar drifted through the walls of my bathroom as I savored the last of the hot water before it became lukewarm. Stepping away from the spray, I turned the shower knob and watched the droplets trickle down the drain. Inhaling a deep breath my mind focused on one thing.
Hearing Mason's band practicing meant he would be here. I was ninety-nine percent sure Aidan wouldn't blow off their practice. He knew how serious my brother was about the band, but he also had been avoiding me for days.
The past week had been awful. I was determined to talk to him.
I wanted was a few answers. My emotions had run the gamut from confusion, frustration, regret, and sadnessâ¦ sadness consumed me most of all, at night usually, and I was exhausted from it. But at this moment all I felt was anger. Anger was good. It was certainly better than pain.
As I rushed down the hallway, the floorboards creaked beneath my feet and the walls began to vibrate with the beat of Derek pounding on the drums. When I entered my room the music was deafening, but today I didn't mind.
the blue-and-white-polka-dot towel from my head and tossed it to the floor.
The deep conditioner I used helped my fingers glide through my long damp curls. If I was going to confront Aidan, I wanted to look my best. No Frizzy Lizzie for me. That nickname, coupled with my big butt, had tormented me, growing up in a beach town surrounded by beautiful people. I had longed to look like a typical California girl: tall, blond, perfect. But, with dark hair and bordering on five feet three inches, that was never going to be me.
After I blow-dried and flat-ironed my hair, I took off my purple robe and draped it over my desk chair. I slipped on a pair of jeansâ¦ yes, slipped them on. I didn't have to tug, pull, or jiggle my butt to get in my pants anymore. When I easily pushed the button through the top of my jeans, it still made me smile. I couldn't even count how many times I had to lie on my bed and suck in my stomach so I could zip up a pair of pants. Every time I slipped them on, I never took it for granted. I had worked my butt offâ¦ literally. I put on my bra and a green sweater before I pulled on my
I rushed downstairs to the door that led to the garage. Thinking about confronting Aidan and having to stare into those piercing blue eyes started to intimidate me. But this was my chance. I knew he was a few feet behind the door, and I needed to deal with him. Before I completely lost my nerve, I inhaled a deep breath and exhaled then pushed open the door.
The stream of sunlight coming in through the open garage door blinded me for a moment. With squinted eyes, I made a beeline to the old brown sofa in the corner. My heart was beating so fast it almost seemed in tempo with Derek pounding the drums. I scooted over our yellow Labrador, Maggie, and wedged myself between her and the arm of the couch. Finally, I looked up to focus my attention on Aidan.
He didn't show.
I sunk my head back into the cushions, exhaling a deep, long sigh, trying to rid the tension from my body. The guys were practicing their newest song. Indie-Alternative was their style, and they called themselves Random Plan. I glanced at Mason and could tell he was angry. I mouthed the word
Mason just shook his head.
“Derek!” The tone in my brother's voice made me sit up straight. “Derek!” Mason snapped again.
Finally Derek stopped and silenced his cymbals.
“What?” He lifted the front of his black t-shirt to wipe the sweat from his forehead, exposing his six-pack. His brown eyes bored into Mason's. “Hey! Just âcuz you're ticked off at the pretty boy, don't take it out on me.”
Derek reached back and grabbed a water from an old bookcase that held a few water bottles, electrical cords, an old CD player, and a collection of CDs. “Hey, Kyle, ya want one?”
Kyle nodded and Derek tossed one across the garage to where he stood behind the keyboard.
“Yeah, I'll take oneâ¦ Sorry, Derek.”
Derek gave Mason a head nod and tossed him a bottle. He took a sip while Derek chugged his down.
“Okay, start again.” Mason commanded.
Derek picked up his sticks and began tapping.
I leaned my head back
closed my eyes and listened to the music. Funny,
I'd come into the garage so fearless it almost made me laugh. Who would have thought the once-overweight Elizabeth Ryan would stand up to the likes of Aidan Mitchell? I smiled to myself, allowing my mind to drift back to the time when I'd found it hard to even look at himâ¦
I would think coming into a new school as a senior would be difficult but not for a good looking guy like Aidan. Mason had already formed a friendship with Aidan
They'd met in history class and become fast friends after they discovered they each had a love for music
they put together their band. Mason was the lead vocalist and played rhythm guitar. Aidan played the bass guitar and sang backup. Their band had generated a healthy buzz, and word spread quickly about them. The guys were pleasantly surprised when they'd auditioned for a local restaurant venue and were asked to return every other Sunday night to perform.
It was a few weeks into our senior year when I first set eyes on Aidan. I sat in the lunchroom during our morning break with my best friend, Melissa. It was hard not to notice him
He was surrounded by a bunch of girls desperate to get his attention. With his back toward us, at first all I could see was his blond, slicked
back hair. Eventually he turned around, causing a few golden strands to fall against his forehead. He swept the wisps away with one hand
calling attention to his blue eyes. He wore black jeans and a black-and-grey-
shirt that hugged his firm chest. Looking at his attractive face and toned body
I could understand why word about him traveled so quickly. I continued to stare, envious of the cute girls who circled him.
Melissa didn't even bother to turn around
She only had eyes for my brother, Mason. She and Mason were the
couple of the school,
hey adored each other. Melissa was the typical beach girl: tall, long, blond hair, and beautiful blue eyes.
would have thought, with her beauty, she would be conceited, but she wasn't. Melissa was spunky and fun. She brought out the best in me and was loyal to the core. If anyone commented about my weight
Melissa was always there to defend me. If guys came on to her, and they did, she would put them in line. Basically, she didn't take anyone
My friend group dwindled to non-existent until Melissa came along. Girls would act like they were my best friend, but I would soon find out they were more interested in my brother than me. It was Mason who saw through the myriad of girls who would traipse through our front door. You would think I'd get a clue, but I was so desperate for friendship I was happy with the scraps they tossed me.
The funny thing was, I could see why girls used me. My brother was cute.
Mason's deep-green eyes were surrounded by thick, brown hair that was usually a multi-directional mess. On top of that, he sang. Yep. The girls liked my brother. But Melissa, she loved me like no other friend ever had and never gave me reason to doubt her.
Aidan soon joined Mason and they headed our way. A few of the girls had left, but several decided to stick around. At that point, Melissa had heard Mason
s voice and turned toward him just as he sat next to her.
“How's my pretty lady?” he crooned.
Melissa giggled, then Mason kissed her on the lips. A few girls gave her a dirty look.
Clearly jealous my brother was off the market, they then focused their attention toward Aidan, expanding his group from three to five. Aidan stood next to the table
flirting with a couple of beach beauties, and I continued to stare. Just about the time I thought to myself,
Look away, you idiot,
Aidan caught my eye. I felt myself blush and looked away. Turning my body toward Melissa, I was desperate to make conversation with her, but she and Mason were engaged in a big ol' make-out kiss
Needing a distraction from the blue of his eyes, I picked up my notebook and flipped through the pages. The next thing I knew, Aidan was standing next to me. My heart pounded
Thankfully half my fat body was hidden under the table.
“Ahem.” Aidan cleared his throat.
When I looked up,
his eyes were fixed on mine. I stifled a gasp when he gave me a crooked smile and leaned down to my ear.
“So, I finally get to meet Mason
The smoldering way he said my name sent a thrill down my spine. I felt my cheeks redden, then I corrected him with a barely audible, “
“Well, it's nice to meet youâ¦ Liz. I'm Aidan.
He smiled and flicked his head to the side in an attempt to remove a few stray hairs in his eyes. It didn't work. They just fell back where they were before.
That wasn't what I was expecting
e seemed kind of nice.
I gathered my courage, looked up at Aidan, and answered,
“Nice to meet you too.”
He smiled at me and glanced at what I was eating. He returned his attention to one of the skinny girls and continued to flirt.
I looked down at my cinnamon roll, covered in frosting. That was the day I decided I was done being the fat girl.
The buzz of my alarm clock woke me for the second time. Glancing at the glowing red numbers, I felt a pang of unwelcome sympathy for myself. I curled my legs under me before I reached up and hit the snooze. The excuses came in wavesâ¦ like they always did.
Why even get out of bed? Every time you've tried to lose weight you fail, you'll never do it. Just go back to sleep
The moonlit sky shed faint light through my bedroom window. My arm stretched out from under my warm blanket and pushed the alarm button down before it could go off for a third time. The urge to roll over and go back to sleep was tempting, but I was either going to do this or not. Painfully aware time was ticking, I made my decision.
Pushing my blanket aside, I reached up and turned on my bedside lamp. When my eyes adjusted from the transition from dark to light, I surveyed the clothes that littered my carpet. My eyes zeroed in on grey sweatpants, and I pulled them on. Within seconds, my oversized sleep shirt was off and tossed on the bed. Rifling through my underwear drawer I grabbed my lime-green sports bra and a pair of white socks. The newness of the bra caused a bit of difficulty when I stretched it over my head, securing my girls in place. I sat back down and pulled up my white socks. On my way into the closet I grabbed my grey hoodie that was slung over my desk chair.
It wasn't hard to spot my bright pink sneakers. My mom had bought them for me a few months back hoping to motivate me, but, sad to say, they had never seen the light of day. The doorjamb of my closet gave me support while I toed each foot through a snug sneaker and loosely tied the laces.
Finally, I grabbed my cell phone and a hairband from the top of my white dresser. My fingers snagged through my thick, wavy hair and I bound it back into a ponytail. I walked passed Mason's room down the stairs.
Maggie woke up from her overstuffed bed in the corner of the family room, wagged her tail, sniffed my sneakers, and started jumping around.
“Sit.” I bent down and ran my hands the length of Maggie's soft fur. “Good girl.” I gave her snout a succession of quick kisses before I clipped on her leash, and we headed out the front door.