Chapter One:


We were at the playground that I used to always play in as a kid. It was night and I was sitting on one of the swings, staring down at the sand. His hand took my chin and forced me to look up at him, though his face continued to stay hidden by the shadows of the trees in the moonlight.

"Rochella…" he said, his voice deep and yet somehow completely familiar.

I sighed and closed my eyes, trying to remember why his voice was so familiar. "Rochella…" he said again, this time his voice seemed closer, almost as though he was saying it beside me. "Rochella!" It started to sound like a female's voice now, almost like my…

"Rochella, wake up or you're going to be late for school!" My mother's voice rang out as I felt her hands forcefully shake me from under my duvet. "Wake up you lazy cow!" she screamed.

I sighed as I opened my eyes. "I'm up!" I shouted at her as I stared up at her plump face. "You can stop yelling now."

My mom said nothing as she just stared down at me, eyes narrowed and lips pursed. She shook her head as she watched me get up out of bed and move over to my dresser mirror to examine my face.

"Look at you," she said. "You seem to get fatter every day. You need to watch your weight Rochella; nobody likes a fat teenager…"

I looked up at her from my mirror. Truth be told, I was used to this criticism; I got it from her on a daily basis. I smiled a fake smile at her and simply said: "Like mother, like daughter". Those words usually got the best of her since she always left after I said that to her, but today seemed to be different. She didn't walk away angrily and she didn't look mad like she usually would. She just shrugged and looked over at me.

"You can say that now, but when I was your age I was pin thin, skin and bones! You're sixteen Ella, and you've got love handles the size of a gorilla's hands. I don't see any of your other friends with them sticking out of their jeans, do you?" she said.

I shook my head, starting to get agitated. "Yeah, but I'm pretty sure none of their mothers discuss their weight the way you do with me on a regular basis!" I shouted.

My mom just laughed coldly. "That's because they're not extremely overweight like you are!"

Usually my mothers' words didn't affect me as much as they should, but these ones stung. They caused my shoulders to tense up and my teeth to clench. I turned towards her slowly, my chest heaving. "Get. Out." I told her. She listened, and without asking any questions, left my room slamming the door shut behind her.

I turned to face myself in the mirror once again. I wasn't ugly; I had long light brown hair and golden brown eyes that changed to orange when they hit the sunlight. I stepped back from the mirror a little so that I could examine the way my body looked. I weighed about 180 pounds, which was definitely overweight. My butt was the biggest part of my body, my boobs were the smallest. My stomach looked bloated and my thighs were huge and jiggled when I walked. I trailed down to the side of my stomach and spotted the love handles my mother lovingly pointed out. I pinched them with my hand and smiled. They were definitely not the size of a gorilla's hands.

I decided to let my mothers' stinging words go and went to get dressed. I put on my favorite pair of baggy jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a baggy sweater over it. I looked back at the mirror and stared satisfyingly at myself as I realized that I had successfully concealed all of my 'fat' qualities. I sat down at my makeup table, combed my hair and put some make up on before grabbing my back pack and heading downstairs for some breakfast.

As I got downstairs, I saw my dad and my brother and sister already seated at the breakfast table. I had always liked my dad and went over to him first.

"Morning sunshine!" he exclaimed. I smiled as I planted a loving kiss on his balding head and wrapped my arms around his neck. I saw him smile as he put down his newspaper and tried to hug me back. "Well, now my day has officially started off on a good note. You always were the best hug giver!" he exclaimed.

I laughed as I sat down on the chair next to him. My sister, Erica, rolled her eyes. She was 21 and currently jobless. She spent her time working out at home and social networking while we were all out of the house. She was the fittest one in our house, her legs and stomach toned and her arms getting there as well. She had a body that wasn't exactly envied by most girls, but was still one that I wish I could have.

"Pretty soon, she won't be able to put her arms around you without suffocating you daddy." Erica said harshly.

I looked up at her and gave her a questioning look. What was that supposed to mean? Before I could ask her, my little brother, Andrew, came to my rescue. He was 10 years old and we had the closest bond.

"You better be quiet, Erica, or I'll tell everyone your little secret!" he exclaimed. Erica glared at him and my dad looked over at them.

"What secret?" he asked, but Erica shut Andrew up before he could say anything. My dad just shook his head and turned to me. "Looks like you're also the only normal person in our family." He laughed.

I smiled, and then noticed that my mom had walked into the room with pancakes in her hand. She had put one on each person's plate, starting with Erica. When she got to me, I noticed how tiny of a pancake she had made me. Whereas everyone else in my family had gotten a pancake that was twice the size of their plates, mine barely made it to even a little bit past the centre. I stared up at her and noticed that she wasn't looking me in the eye.

"Morgan, give the child some more! We can't send our children to school hungry, they'll think we're bad parents!" My father said jokingly.

My mom didn't laugh and neither did I. She just shook her head and leaned against the kitchen counter. "Rob, do you not see her? She's twice as big as me and she's only 16 whereas I'm 43! She's lucky I even gave her that much of a pancake instead of the fruits and vegetables I'm only going to be giving her from now on!" she exclaimed.

I looked at my dad and noticed the unhappy expression on his face. He looked at me and switched our plates, then took my pancake and switched it with the one that was meant to be for my mom. My mom just looked at him shocked.

"My daughter is perfect just the way she is." He said as he turned and smiled at me. "Now eat up, you'll need all the energy for your school day today."

I did as I was told and ate my pancake slowly. It seemed to taste dry and flavorless for the first time since I've had these pancakes for breakfast. Breakfast seamed to go by awkwardly that morning, none of us said a word to each other. Andrew tried to make small talk with us, but all it did was cause tension.

I had finally finished my flavorless pancake when I heard a car horn sound in the background. I went out to the kitchen window and saw Lana's car parked outside. I turned back to the breakfast table and kissed my dad and brother good bye.

"Don't forget your lunch money!" My dad called out as I had grabbed my backpack and started to run for the door. I stopped and turned around to get my usual $5.00 from my dad. He handed it to me and I securely tucked it into my pocket.

"And don't worry about your mothers attitude," he said. "She'll get over it. Just remember, you're daddy's girl and I love you the way you are!" he exclaimed.

I smiled at him, gave him another kiss goodbye, then ran to Lana's car and watched my dad as we backed out of the drive way and headed towards school.