I know, I know. Hell must have frozen over. But I assure you that this is a real update. And I'm sorry that it took me so long to get it out. (twss) Sorry. I couldn't help myself. My wonderful Beta is Mullet86. She was in the middle of moving, yet still took the time to correct my mistakes. She's no longer a Georgia Peach, but she'll always be the wind beneath my wings.
My wonderful Beta is Mullet86. She was in the middle of moving, yet still took the time to correct my mistakes. She's no longer a Georgia Peach, but she'll always be the wind beneath my wings.
SM owns all things Twilight. But I own...never-mind. She'll always win.
"And the award for best attitude, for this session is, well, it looks as if this camper will have to make some more room on her awards shelf, Bella Swan." Thankfully, the darkness hid my blush as I got up from my perch on a fire pit log to accept the award.
"Um, thank you." I half smiled, half grimaced and took the small, glass, S shaped award. Thankfully the applause ended quickly as Counselor John moved on to the next camp award.
"Hey, how does it feel to be a two-time winner?" Tara my bunkmate asked. Like me, she was attending two sessions at Camp Shane. We hit it off the first day and were lucky enough to be assigned to the same cabin for the whole time.
Angela and Carmen were my friends, but in Tara, I'd found a kindred spirit. Like me, she had been bullied and made fun of in school. However, unlike me, Tara had chosen to come to camp. In fact, her parents had tried to get her to come home after the first session. But she'd stayed on. She wasn't using camp as an excuse to hide out from a best friend who'd stabbed her in the back. Tara was legitimately trying to lose weight.
Tara's father was morbidly obese and had suffered from complications from diabetes. In an attempt to not suffer the same fate, she worked very hard to change the relationship she had with food. Her attitude and dedication made me work harder to live a healthier life.
It turns out that camp wasn't as horrible as I'd thought it would be. Granted, I was forced to participate in group physical activities that had me sweating profusely. And I had to sit through daily affirmation classes, where counselors' Todd and Mindy, made us look into hand mirrors while repeating to ourselves how special, important, and beautiful we all were. The class was bogus. We all knew it. I suspected that even Todd and Mindy, dressed in their matching khaki shorts, green polo and shiny white sneakers, knew it too. Yet, we all showed up every morning after our daily hike and calisthenics to give ourselves the Stuart Smalley treatment.
Afterwards, we'd have a light lunch of turkey burgers, sans bun, and raw veggies before heading off for swimming, canoeing, volleyball or rock climbing. I avoided the swimming and canoeing for the first couple of weeks, but then realized that everyone was just as self-conscious and out of shape as I was, so I soon let that all go and thoroughly enjoyed the pool and other water sports. But the best part of my day was the daily nutrition and cooking classes. Aunt Janet had started me on the road of healthy cooking, but camp took it to a whole new level. Camp Shane taught me how to figure out how much protein, fats and carbohydrates were appropriate for me to eat in a day. I learned how to cook balanced and filling meals while still hitting my macro goals for the day.
Camp Shane didn't allow the campers to have their phones or access to the internet for email or Facebook status updates. However, I'd received weekly letters from my aunt and several postcards from my friends including a couple quick notes from Charlie. Renee remained true to herself and chose to only communicate with the camp directors. She'd requested weekly updates on my weight loss and had expressed concern, i.e., unhappiness that I was not losing enough weight. She'd insisted that the camp cut my calories and increase my exercise. Luckily, the camp advisors decided that my overall health was much more important than the unrealistic demands of my mother.
By the end of camp, I'd managed to lose twenty pounds, over seven inches off of my waist and four inches off my thighs. With the weight I'd lost last year, I was down thirty-five pounds.
As predicted, the size six and four clothes my mother had purchased would remain untouched in my closet.
However, I was very proud that I was now wearing a size 16 jean and a 12 top and my weight had stabilized to one hundred and sixty-five pounds.
I was ecstatic.
Renee was not.
She would have to learn to live with disappointment.
"So, you have my email and phone number right?" Tara asked as we finished our packing.
I nodded and held up my recently re-acquired phone. "Got it right here."
"Good, I'm going to expect updates and sexy selfies." She pointed her finger in my direction.
"Don't hold your breath." I warned her, rolling my eyes.
Tara laughed and continued packing her brightly colored clothing. Unlike me, Tara wasn't afraid to draw attention to herself.
"Don't even try to tell me that you won't be showing off your new rocking bod!" Had I mentioned that Tara wore glasses? Big, thick ones.
I was about to remind Tara that she needed to get her prescription updated, when counselor Kelly walked into the cabin.
"Ladies, we need you to hustle up. Your parents are pulling in now," her voice softened when her eyes landed on me. "Bella, the car service is here for you." I nodded quickly at the reminder that no one was coming for me and continued stuffing my clothes into my suitcase.
My suitcase shifted as Tara plopped down onto my cot. "I wish I lived closer so you could come home with us. I hate that you're going home to an empty house." I smiled at my friend. Tara's family had flown all the way from Wisconsin to pick her up, yet my mother couldn't be bothered to drive a couple hours to get me or cut her current vacation in New York short to be home when I returned. It was difficult for Tara to understand, but I was used to being an afterthought in Renee's life.
I zipped up my suitcase and sat down next her on the cot. "It's okay. This way, I get a nice quiet car ride to gather my thoughts before dealing with Renee's disappointment."
Tara frowned at the reminder of my mother's displeasure at my weight loss. "I don't know what her damn problem is, you look amazing!"
"I guess it's not enough." I shrugged, knowing that it would never be enough. But I'd made peace with that fact and thanks to my time here at camp, I'd come to the realization that how I felt about myself was a hell of a lot more important than what Renee or anyone else thought, especially bronze-haired boys who lied and enjoyed hanging out with mean, shiny-haired girls.
"Your mom sucks."
"You're not wrong." We both chuckled at my quick agreement.
Tara sighed and leaned into my side, putting her head on my shoulder. I was new to the whole having a touchy-feely friend, but I was learning to adjust.
"You know who else sucks?"
"That stupid boy." My shoulders sagged for a moment at the mention of Edward. At the beginning of our second session, in that low after a sugar induced euphoria, brought on by a rare treat of frozen yogurt, I'd spilled the whole sordid story to Tara. She'd been dutifully horrified at what he'd done and had immediately begun plotting my revenge. Her suggestion that I spread the rumor that he was a thumb sucking, bed wetter was intriguing, but wasn't really feasible unless I was there in Forks to keep the rumors alive.
And that was not going to happen.
Even though he'd hurt me to the point where I'd run from the only home I had, I found that every once in a while my mind would betray me, and I'd remember the good times we'd had. The days playing Star Wars Monopoly while plotting to over throw Jasper and Emmett's claim on the tree house made me smile. As did the bike rides to the park, sans stupid girls and the silly moments where we'd sit on my aunt's back porch discussing the benefits of choosing to be a mercenary/hero like Deadpool over having to be the hero all of the time like Superman.
It was those brief moments, those quick flashes of a time where I believed the lies he told, that made me miss him and the friendship I thought we'd had.
"I still don't understand why you won't exact a little of revenge." Tara added, poking me in the side.
"Ouch! Stop." I squealed. Tara giggled, but removed her finger from the now smaller, yet still fleshy portion of my hip. "I think the best form of revenge is to move on, forget that he meant anything to me."
"Okaaaaay, and how is that working out for you?"
"It's working." I shrugged, non-committedly.
"Uh huh." I ignored her knowing look and continued staring at the toe of my shoe.
Tara let out a not very covert sigh of frustration. "I won't say anything else. I just wish for once you'd do things for yourself and told everyone else to kiss your skinny ass."
"Thanks." She nodded and stood up from the bed and grabbed her suitcase.
I knew our time had come to an end. Silently, we gathered the last of our things and walked out of cabin number twenty-three.
The camp was usually abuzz with activity, but our normal routine was nothing like the maze of duffle bags, suitcases and pillows left to sit in the hot Arizona sun, all but forgotten as the campers rushed around saying good bye to friends made over the summer.
I dragged my purple duffles behind me as I followed Tara to where her parents were waiting.
"There's Bella" Mrs. Kline exclaimed, pulling me into a tight bear hug. "She's going to miss you so much." She whispered as I willed the tears to not spill.
"Mom, we're going to keep in touch." Tara exclaimed, and extracted me from her mother's octopus like grip.
"I'll just let you girls say your goodbyes." Mrs. Kline sniffed and went to stand next to her husband at their rented car.
"Your dad looks better."
"Yeah. My weight lost has inspired him. He lost fifteen pounds this summer. All on his own." Tara announced, proudly.
We stood silently, not wanting to say the words we knew were expected.
Finally, Mr. Kline cleared his throat and tapped his watch, reminding us they had a plane to catch.
"Well, I guess I should go and find my ride, if he's anything like the last driver Renee sent, if I'm late, he might leave me." I winced, recalling the cute but mean driver that had picked me up at the airport two years ago upon my return from Forks.
Tara hugged much like her mom. "Promise you'll keep in touch." I nodded. "Promise you'll stop allowing jerks to make you feel badly about yourself." Another nod. "And promise me that you won't let what's his name cause you another moments grief."
I gently pulled away from her and looked her in the eyes, "I promise."
I didn't even bother to hide the tears as I watched their rental van leave the camp. It felt as if I was forever losing people and I could no longer deny how much it hurt to watch them go.
"Bella," I turned at the sound of Counselor Kelly's voice.
"Your car is right over here." She pointed to the east camp entrance where a white town car was parked. I nodded and started to gather my things. Together we walked the fifty feet to the car.
"I've really enjoyed having you with us this summer. You've worked very hard, you should be very proud of yourself."
"Thank you." I answered sincerely. I was trying to work on accepting compliments as part of my affirmation exercises.
As we neared the car, the driver stepped out. I stopped in my tracks and decided that God must truly hate me as I recognized the driver was none other than the same jerk who had belittled and ignored me the last time Renee was too busy to be bothered with me.
Knowing from experience that I'd get no help with my things from him, I began dragging my luggage to the trunk.
I rolled my eyes, ignoring Kelly's gasp as he opened the door and stepped out into the full light.
Finished loading, I closed the trunk to see Kelly laughing at something doucheboy had said. It took everything in me not to gag as he unashamedly flirted with Kelly.
"Shouldn't we be leaving?" I smirked at the glare blondboy shot me.
"Um, I guess I should let you get going. Have a safe trip Bella. Don't hesitate to call me if you need anything." She addressed me with her words, but her eyes were directed at him. Ugh!
"Good bye, Kelly." She nodded absently as I grabbed my last bag and climbed into the car. I shut the door firmly, ignoring the last bit of flirting going on.
Once the touching and furtive looks were done, Asshat, climbed into the front seat and started up the car.
His eyes met mine in the rearview mirror. "So, fat camp. How much did you lose?"
I looked him right into his pretty blue eyes and silently raised the privacy glass.
Seriously? As I if I would ever speak to him about something so personal.
Or anything at all.
As I was alone in the house, I wasn't worried about having to unpack, so I left my bags at the bottom of the stairs and climbed the stairs to my room for a small nap. I would deal with my baggage on my own time.
"Isabella, what's the meaning of this?!" My eyes shot open at my mother's shrill voice.
Jumping off my bed I stumbled out of my room and headed towards my mother.
Renee was standing with her arms crossed across her chest in a fairly aggressive stance, while tapping the overly pointed toe of her expensive shoes at the base of my luggage pile.
"I don't appreciate you leaving your stuff thrown haphazardly on my imported Italian marble."
Hello to you too mom.
Not wanting to start a fight, I hustled over to the pile and began gathering my things and took them into the laundry room. I got the detergent and fabric softener out and started sorting through three months of dirty clothes. I could hear Renee's Italian shoes clicking and tapping on her Italian marble as she wandered around the kitchen.
I tried to keep her obvious dismissal of my weight loss from hurting me as I started the first load of laundry.
With my luggage now empty, I started trekking them upstairs to put away. Heaven forbid they spend one more minute on my mother's imported floor.
"No, book both seats. The last thing I want to deal with is a grandma from Miami bragging about her honor student grandchild for the whole trip."
Home five minutes and she was already planning her next trip.
I started back up the stairs intending to stow my luggage and give Angela a call. I couldn't wait to see her.
"I'll also need you to make arrangements for the house," she snapped her fingers at me while still speaking on the phone. I stopped in my tracks and turned back towards her. "No. Don't cancel the gardener. Do you think the grass will stop growing just because I'm not here to watch it?"
"Don't bother putting your luggage away. You're going to need it." Renee ordered.
I would? I was going to be included on this trip?
"No, it's just Isabella. Go ahead and make the arrangements as we discussed. Email me tonight with the itineraries." Without even a goodbye or a thank you, she hung up.
I stood silently on the landing as her sharp eyes appraised my form.
I tried not to fidget under her gaze. It would only cause more sharp words.
Finally I couldn't take it anymore and began to move from foot to foot under her scrutiny.
"Do stop that incessant dancing Isabella." She ordered.
"Where are we going?"
"We aren't going anywhere." Her clarification only confused me more.
"But you said to not put away my bags and I heard you buy two tickets."
"I should rephrase. We're both leaving, just not together."
"Come here and let me get a better look at you." Her long manicured fingers beckoned me closer.
I set down my luggage, took a deep breath and walked down the three steps to reach her.
As she scrutinized my appearance, I remembered what I'd learned at camp. Regardless of what she said or didn't say, as long as I accepted myself, I could let her words and disapproving looks wash over me like a cool breeze.
The ticking of the clock above the shiny sink was loud, yet soothing as I stood under her inspection.
I began counting the ticks and tocks. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi, six Mississippi. . .
"Well, I would have liked to say I'm completely satisfied with the results, but I guess at this point anything is an improvement."
There it was. Not enough but better than nothing.
Surprisingly, her dismissal of my weight loss didn't hurt as much as I'd anticipated.
"I hope you plan to continue what they taught you. You have a year before college to get your act together and try to do things right this time."
Okay, quiet time was done. I opened my mouth to tell her I was pleased with what I'd accomplished at camp, and she could kiss my slightly smaller butt, when she spoke first.
"The house sitters will be here tomorrow to go over the house instructions. You need to pack anything you'll need to take with you and get them marked for shipping. I would suggest you pack enough clothes for three seasons." House sitters? Seasons? Where the hell were we going and how long would we be gone?
"Where are we going?" Fear enveloped me, were we moving? Was I going to miss my senior year with my friends?
"Well, Phil has been invited to spend the off season as an instructor at the Major League Baseball Academy. We're leaving as soon as his regular reason is over."
"We're going to Europe?"
"Italy, to be precise. It's a wonderful opportunity for him. He won't last forever as a player, a coach's career has a lot more longevity. This break will go a long way in laying the ground work for our future."
Italy? I was moving to Italy?
"The shopping, fashion, vineyards . . . It will be like a second honeymoon for us." Renee's face lit up with excitement.
"But mom, I don't have a passport and I don't speak a word of Italian."
A deep ache began in the pit of my stomach and gained momentum as it moved up my internal organs to become a burning in my throat as Renee's elated smile turned into a smirk. "Oh, Bella, none of that matters. You're not going with us to Italy."
I swallowed deeply around the fire in my throat. "If I'm not going to Italy, then where am I going?"
"You're going back to Forks."
Rut roh Shaggy, we're headed back to Forks. That can't be good. Or can it?
Okay, let me have it!
Thank you for reading!
Btw, was CannesRob2014 freaking awesome or what?!
Btw, was CannesRob 2014 freaking awesome or what?!