Chapter Fifteen:

Ella:

A full week had gone by since everything had happened with Lana and since Ella had begun to realize that she had started to like the feeling of throwing up. Lana was back in school, after missing out on classes for three days in order to get over the shock of Monika's health issue.

Monika had begun to slowly recover from all the damage her starvation had caused, but was still not allowed to come home. She was expected to stay at a rehab facility until the doctors said she was healthy enough to go back and live with her family again.

Ella had barely eaten anything since that night at the hospital. She occasionally gave into her hunger, because the rumbling of her stomach was sometimes too hard to ignore, but she never let the food stay in her stomach for too long.

It was lunchtime now and Ella and her friends had decided to eat outside, since it was such a beautiful day out. They chose a spot on the green grass under a tree and settled themselves on top of their jackets. They sat and listened intently as Kristen spoke about the party that was coming up that weekend.

"The party is three days away." Kristen stated. "You're still coming, right Lana?"

Lana looked over at Kristen and nodded.

"Yeah, I'll just go visit Monika during the day and get ready afterwards." She said.

"Good." Kristen said, smiling. "Marko says he's got a friend for you that you seriously might like."

"What about Ella?" Lana asked.

"She can be with Antonio. Word on the street is that they were on a date last week." Kristen said as she winked and nudged Ella on the shoulder.

"What?" Lana asked, surprised. "How come this is the first I'm hearing of this?"

Ella shrugged, scowling.

"It wasn't worth mentioning since it wasn't a date. We just ran into each other and I watched him eat, no big deal."

Ella was never in the mood to talk to anyone lately. She had started having random mood swings since she had cut back on the amount of food she took in daily.

She didn't care though. She knew that it was helping her lose weight and that made the mood swings bearable.

"Alright, calm down." Lana said, and she looked rather hurt. "You don't need to be so rude, it was just a question. What's with you lately?"

"What do you mean?" Ella asked, surprised.

"I mean, for the past week you've been on edge. You've snapped for no reason at us and it's not like you." Lana explained. "What's going on?"

Ella shook her head.

"Nothing's going on; I just have a lot of things on my mind that's all…"

"Like what?" Lana asked.

"Stuff…" Ella answered, not wanting to explain herself any further.

"Lana, just drop it. It's obvious what's making her so bitchy." Kristen interrupted.

Ella's eyes widened as she realized what Kristen had said. Had one of her friends actually seen past her façade? She had tried so hard to keep is a secret, but now one of her friends might just be about to expose it…

"You do?" Ella asked, inhaling deeply as she anticipated what Kristen might say.

"Yeah, I think it's pretty obvious." Kristen said. "You're stressing out about the party!"

Ella raised an eyebrow and let out a deep breath.

"The party?" She said in disbelief.

"Yeah, you think you're going to look bad in your skirt. Don't worry though, I was there when you bought it, remember? I think it looked great and so will you!" Kristen exclaimed.

Ella smiled.

"Thanks Kristen." She said. "That's exactly what's bugging me." Ella laughed this time, trying to pass it off as sincere.

She looked over at Lana and noticed that she had a skeptical look on her face.

"You're welcome." Kristen said, smugly. "Now let's talk about what we're doing that night. You know there's going to be drinking so I don't think we should come home…"

Ella let Lana and Kristen discuss the details as she let her mind wander elsewhere. She had tried on the skirt last night and still felt uneasy at the thought of herself wearing it since it was so short.

She examined herself thoroughly last night and noted just how ugly she looked in the skirt. Her legs seemed too big for it and the cellulite she had made her skin seem wrinkly and gross looking.

In some ways, she was grateful for this realization. It gave her the motivation she needed to get through the day without so much as 300 calories in her.

Ella brought her thoughts back to the conversation at the sound of Kristen calling Antonio's name.

"Hey, it's Antonio. We should ask him if he'd want to carpool with us tomorrow. Antonio!"

At the sound of his name, Antonio turned towards the girls and smiled as he walked over.

Damn it, Ella thought as she watched him walk over, Why now?

She hadn't spoken to him at all since the incident after the diner and she wasn't sure what he would say to her, or what she would even say back for that matter.

"Hey." He said as he approached them. "What's up?"

"Nothing. You're still coming with us to that party this weekend, right?" Kristen asked him.

"Sure." He said. "I wouldn't miss it."

"Great!" Kristen exclaimed. "Here's what we were thinking…"

Ella watched him as he smiled and nodded, agreeing with everything Kristen was saying. She couldn't help but notice how he tried to avoid her gaze as he explained that he could get them a place to stay for the night after the party. Throughout the entire time he was talking to Kristen, he never turned to look in her direction.

Ella grew angry and rolled her eyes. She didn't know why she was getting worked up, he was probably ignoring her because he thought she was seriously sick and he probably didn't want to go through that conversation again.

"Okay, so it's settled." Lana said. "You'll meet us at the park and Kristen will drive us over to the party. We'll spend the night in your friend's apartment."

"Sounds like a good plan." Antonio agreed, and again he never acknowledged that Ella was there.

Ella finally lost it and decided to speak up.

"You should come earlier, just in case." Ella said, wanting to see if he would turn to look at her now that she was talking. She didn't know why she was suddenly desperate for his attention. "You know, so we won't be late."

"Sure." He said, but he never looked at her.

Instead he looked over at Lana and smiled as he picked up his back pack and agreed with the earlier time they had set.

"Anyways, I better get to my next class. See you guys on Saturday." He said, as he gave a final wave before turning his back on the girls and walking towards the building.

He never even looked at Ella while he said good bye.

Lana noticed this and wasn't about to let it go.

"What's with him?" She asked.

"What do you mean?" Ella replied, and Lana scoffed.

"He usually never stops looking in your direction when he comes to talk to us, but today it was like you didn't exist. What happened?" She asked.

Ella shrugged.

"I don't know." Ella said, and she didn't.

She didn't think that Antonio was the type of person to hold a grudge, but apparently he was. Because of what happened and what he saw, he wasn't even looking at her anymore.

Ella shook her head and decided to shrug it off.

If he was going to be like that, she wasn't about to give him the time of day. She told him it was nothing and if he didn't believe her, that was his problem. She wasn't going to try to fix something that, in her opinion, had no business being broken in the first place.

Instead, she leaned back against the big tree under the shade and closed her eyes.

She was going to forget about him.

She was going to forget about the party and how horrible she looked in the mini-skirt.

She was going to forget about the fact that Antonio had seen her vomit, and now might not be speaking to her because of it.

But most importantly, she was going to forget about the fact that her stomach began to rumble at the smell of freshly grilled food coming from somewhere near them.

After all, food was the real enemy in Ella's life and the only thing actually worth forgetting about.