The students in the Love House ran down the stairs, racing to see who could be first at the breakfast table.
"I'm first!" Julie yelled.
"Hold your horses!" Roxy said. "Your breakfast isn't going to walk away! At least... I don't think so."
"Roxy! You cooked! What happened?" Riley Colson said as he and Jennifer Rappaport walked into the kitchen.
"What? I can cook." Roxy retorted. "Ain't you ever had a Rodi burger before?"
"Well, you told us that you weren't going to do any cooking and that we had to find our own breakfast." Riley pointed out.
"Yeah? Well... that was just for show. I had to look like the figure of authority, you know." Roxy said.
Jen looked at Riley and tried not to laugh.
They sat down at the table and Julie's eyes widened in horror at the steaming plates of bacon, eggs and sausages. "What the hell is this?" she demanded.
"What does it look like, caviar and champagne?" Roxy asked. "It's breakfast!"
Julie pushed her plate away. "I can't eat this stuff! I'm a vegan!"
"Oh God, here we go again." Riley whispered to Jen, noting Julie's many reminders of her nutritional choices.
"Get a grip, Julie." Shannon McBain yelled. "If you don't like it, don't eat it!"
"Yeah right!" Julie retorted. "Do you have any idea how long it is until lunch?"
"Um, Julie I think there's some cereal in the cabinet." Jen said.
Julie rose from the table and grabbed the box of whole wheat cereal out of the cabinet, pouring the contents into a bowl. "Thanks, Jen." She said, glaring at Shannon. "At least some people respect my lifestyle."
Jen sat down next to Riley. "Well, actually I was trying to get her to shut up." She whispered, causing them both to laugh.
"What the hell is so funny?" Nick Messina yelled across the table. "Some people are trying to eat here."
"Go ahead and stuff your face, Messina." Jen said. "And mind your own business."
Nick simply laughed, ignoring the insult.
"Speaking of stuffing your face, where's Miss Piggy this morning?" Nick asked.
"What are you talking about?" Jen asked.
"You know... the fat one. Marcie Walsh." Nick replied. "I never thought I'd ever see her miss a meal. Man, this is one for the record books!"
Riley stood up so fast that his chair fell over backwards. Jen picked it up just as Riley reached over the table and grabbed Nick by the collar.
"What did you just say?" Riley demanded.
"You heard me... Marcie Walsh is a fatso! Anyone with eyes can see it." Nick said.
Riley fumed with anger. "Nick, shut up! Marcie Walsh is NOT fat!"
Jen and Riley looked over to see Marcie standing in the doorway, her lip trembling.
"Is that what you think of me, Nick?" Marcie yelled, startling Nick. "That I'm just a... a nobody who likes to eat all the time?"
Nick smiled. "Pretty much."
"All right, that's it." Riley said, lunging for Nick once more.
"Riley, don't! He's not worth it!" Jen said. "We're all here for extra credit for school and if Roxy sees any trouble she'll kick us off the project. I can't afford that at all. I need this."
Marcie sat down at the table, staring with hunger at the platter of bacon. Timidly, she reached for the tongs and helped herself to several slices.
"Geez, Marcie." Nick said. "Leave some for someone else why don't you?"
Marcie stared at her plate, desperately trying to hide her tears but it was no use.
"Awww... did I upset you, Fatso?"
Riley walked over to Nick and pushed him into the wall. "Man, I am SO not in the mood for you this morning!"
Finally Riley let go of Nick. "I would love to put your head through a brick wall right now. But for Marcie and Jen's sake, I'll refrain. Consider yourself lucky."
Angrily, Nick pushed Riley's arm away. "Don't you EVER touch me again, you hear?"
"Well!" said Rex Balsam, entering the room. "What have we here?"
"Nothin, man." Riley said.
"Didn't look like nothing'." Rex said.
Roxy entered the kitchen and brought the skillet of scrambled eggs over to the table. "Anyone for more eggs?"
"Sure, Marcie will take the whole thing, won't you, Fatso?" Nick said.
Roxy's eyes narrowed. "Hmm... doesn't look like much love is going on at the Love House, now does it?"
She put her arm around Rex. "What do you think?"
"I think they're all nuts." Rex said.
Roxy smiled. "You know? I think you're right."
Jen looked at Rex uncomfortably, and picked up her empty plate. "Well, I'm finished. I'm gonna get to the work site." She walked over to the table and washed off both her plate and Riley's and then put them into the dishwasher. "You coming Marcie?"
"I think you'd all better get over there." Roxy said. "If you know what's good for you, that is."
"Come on!" Jen said, a little too enthusiastically. "It'll be fun!"
"Yeah, whatever, Rappaport." Hudson scoffed.
"Um... in a minute." Marcie said. "I'm almost finished."
Within seconds, the kitchen cleared out.
Marcie sat alone at the table, staring at her untouched food. Finally she picked up her plate of bacon and discreetly emptied the contents into the trash can before putting it into the dishwasher and walked out of the room.