(A/N: I'm sorry for the darkness of my past chapters, haha. And this one.)
Nudge grimaced, feeling her stomach empty into the toilet in front of her. This is necessary, she told herself, you'll never be as pretty as Max otherwise. This is what she had drove herself to – purging everything she ate, skipping meals and drinking countless cups of water in order to keep herself from fainting in the middle of flying. Usually, she just felt nauseous and lightheaded. Then a solid punch of hunger would rattle her now thin figure, making her hands tremble. Wiping her mouth, Nudge stood and flushed. She turned on the sink and rinsed her mouth. A knock pounded on the bathroom door.
"Nudge, are you okay?" Iggy asked. Nudge swallowed the left over burning from puking.
"Yeah, just fine. I'm coming out now." She said, opening the door to see the tall blind pyro stare at her with a funny kind of curious look. He had bulked up a bit – still slender, but defined muscles were on his arms, his hair still as blond, straight, and long as ever. She flushed a bit.
"What is it?" she snapped, instantly sorry. She got temperamental without food, sometimes. Iggy shrugged, hands tucked into the pockets of his skinny jeans.
"You just feel paler, that's all. Have you had a cold?" he asked.
"Nah, I'm just – uh, chilly." she offered, hurrying past him to her room. Slamming the door behind her, she drew from under her mattress a journal. The first pages were filled with poems – all written as a ruse for the real purpose of the book.
She thumbed to a page in the back. On it were dates, weights, and smiley faces all over her growing progress in losing weight. She smiled. She had lost ten pounds in the past two weeks. Then she grimaced. It was probably because of the binging she had done on Thanksgiving and at Iggy's birthday party. He was 17 as of a month ago, her 15. She wrote down today's winning number.
She supposed she should stop here – it was, after all, her goal weight. At 5' 9," her bones were light for a bird kid's, so her original weight had been 102 to Max's 94. I am so much prettier than Max now, she insisted. But still – purging had gained its own form of twisted pleasure. The feeling of being so full before being pretty and slender again was addicting. Suddenly, her door creaked open.
"Nudge? Whacha doing?" Iggy again. Nudge slapped the book's sparkly cover shut, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Uh, um. Nothing in particular." She stammered, hoping it sounded convincing. Gently, Iggy pried the book from Nudge's grasp, finding quickly the page she had been on. His milky blue eyes widened.
"Nudge….are you starving yourself?" he breathed. Although he was completely blind, his gaze was sharp and piercing.
"No!" Nudge protested, crinkling her nose.
"Then why has your weight dropped? Don't think I haven't noticed. You skip meals. All you drink is water. And every time you do eat…..oh my God."
"You throw it back up, don't you? That's it, I'm telling Max." he insisted firmly, getting up and taking a step.
"Iggy! Please, don't. I'm only doing this so that I can…um….look better." She admitted. Anything to stop him from going out that door. Iggy turned, puzzled.
"But – you're beautiful already."
"Ha-ha. No, I'm not." Nudge said. Tears welled in her eyes. Her tongue felt heavy in her mouth, searching the dry caverns for the words she hated to say.
"Nudge. Tes, you are."
"I'll never be pretty. There is nothing that can make me so. This just….helps, somehow."
"You need to stop this." Iggy said, his voice rising.
"I can't. I – "
He cut her off with a kiss, his arms circled around her. He drew her tightly to her. She melted much quicker than she should have. Her brain fizzled, temporarily distracted from her mind's demented worries.
For a moment, she forgot the emptiness inside her.