Author's Note: This is my attempt at the Flash Me Suddenly! March challenge (Crying With Emotion). The point is to write a flash piece (less than a thousand words, not including the disclaimer/author's note/title, etc.). You can find the link to FMS! on my profile, if you're interested about what this is all about!

Read, and let me know what you think! Since I'm a judge on FMS! this will not be entered into the challenge. Woe. Haha.

As always, thank you Vena Cava, Nota, and McQuinn for your betaing/feedback during the writing. S2

An Obsessive Desire
by MaeMaes

Sweat gathered at the small of her back and beaded on her forehead. Her hands clamped on the napkin in her lap, beginning the process of tearing it to pieces.

There had been the Caesar salad, which hadn't been too bad. She'd barely poured any dressing on it. One tablespoon, maybe less—but even that was too much. She should have used the vinaigrette, plucked out the croutons, said no to the Parmesan cheese.

And then the entrée had come: a full-rack of tender, fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs. The beef had slid off the bone as she'd bit into it, juicy—not dry, not chewy—and swathed in the tangy Jack Daniels sauce she loved too much.

A full-rack had been more than enough. The waistband of her jeans straining against her engorged stomach agreed. She should have had the strength of will to refuse, or to stop after a few pieces.

She'd even eaten all the French fries that had come as a side—alongside the macaroni-and-cheese.

Her napkin lay on her lap, ripped to pieces. Snatching Rosie's napkin, she started the process again.

"Hey, are you okay?" Rosie asked, eyebrows raised.

"Yeah, I'm just not feeling so good. It must have been something I ate." Ella smiled, forcing herself to relax—to stop stripping away shred after shred of the napkin she wished was the fat lining the viscera of her body.

A flat tummy, trim arms, slim legs, defined cheekbones, and a narrow waist.

Was that too much to ask for?

"Did you want dessert?" asked Laura.

"Umm, no. I'm fine. You guys get dessert, though. I'm going to the bathroom."

"Oh, I can go with you, if you want." Laura rose from her seat, smiling at Ella.

"No, no, it's okay. Plus, if this is a stomach ache, I don't want to be gross if you're there." Ella laughed, and wondered if they heard the strain.

She tore Rosie's napkin so fast her fingers cramped.

Oh, God. She had to hurry before it all stuck.

"Be right back, ladies!"

Ella got up and headed for the restroom. A few more minutes wouldn't mean more fat building up to line the area under her skin or around her organs. She fisted her hands inside the pockets of her jacket.

She would be fine.

Her stomach did hurt.

She'd just go pee, sit on the toilet to make sure she wasn't having an upset stomach, and wash up. Then she'd meet the girls after they'd finished their ice cream, and she wouldn't be tempted to share it with them.

Yes, that would be best.

Smiling, she pushed open the bathroom door, smothered a gasp as she collided into the chest of an obese woman, and—

Mumbling her apologies, she bolted for the bathroom stall with the "Handicapped Only" sign.

Dropping to her knees, she shoved her index finger down her throat, pressed against the far back of her tongue, where she knew it was rough and bumpy. She hunched over the toilet, held down her finger…then pulled back and hesitated.

She shouldn't.

Until she recalled the large woman she'd bumped into: the rolls of fat shown off with a tight top, the heaving cleavage of breasts too flabby and too large, the meaty hands that kept her upright, the large face with fat-laden cheeks and a double chin, the neck gone and hidden by her fat shoulders—everything swallowed up by fat!

Ella wouldn't be like that—not again.

Heaving, she forced up her food, throwing it up into the dirty toilet, swiped her mouth with the back of her hand as she gasped for breath, then had her finger deep at the back of her throat to do it again.

The food—the fat, all of it—had to go.

Tears collected at the corners of her eyes—spilled over her cheeks—as she choked on the hand searching deep in her throat for the refuse she'd eaten, the empty calories her body didn't need, the fat that would settle beneath her skin.

This would be the last time—never again.

It was her fault, but she'd watch her portions next time—she'd eat only a plain salad, half the size of today's, and no ribs—and then she wouldn't have to purge herself of the unhealthy foods, ruinous fats.

She backpedaled as the sweet smell of her vomit wafted up to her. Trembling, she pushed down the flush handle, and rushed to wash her hands off. She couldn't have any evidence, she had to look normal, she didn't want them to know—she glanced up at the mirror.

Her eyes were red, a vein had popped in the corner of her left eye, tears clung to her lashes, and her cheeks were pale.

But she looked thinner and her stomach didn't feel full anymore.

Scrubbing her hands with the soap, she washed away the scent of rotten ribs and salad, splashed her flushed face, gargled water and spat it out. Flecks of blood dotted the saliva-ridden water, and she winced.

It would be okay.

She'd have—needed—better control next time.

Her hands gripped the sides of the sink, supporting her.

Was this okay?

Spiraling out wildly, though she sought control?

Straightening, she thrust her shoulders back. She would just have to keep her eating habits in line.

And, if not….

Her gaze slid to the toilet.

Pulling it together, Ella strode back out to her friends and smiled. They'd finished the vanilla ice cream.

"God, Ella, I'm so full! Remind me not to do this again with you girls." Rosie patted her belly, tossing down a couple twentys onto the table. "Next time is Laura's turn to pay."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. But, seriously, dinner was awesome. I don't know how you guys stay so thin with all the food we packed away," Laura snorted.

"I guess genetics. And good exercise." Rosie winked at Ella, linking arms with her as they headed for the exit.


Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, condone bulimia nervosa. So, please don't binge and purge, thinking you'll lose weight. Eat what you like, keep it in your stomach, and exercise if you want to lose weight! (And through positive/good dieting--i.e., cutting out a lot of junk food, etc.)

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed the piece. If you have any comments/critiques, review please! Or review just to tell me this is awesome. ;D Haha, just kidding. Happy reading!