I do not own anything except the plotline.
This story (although a comedy) DOES contain sensitive subject material. This will include (but is not limited to): underage drug, tobacco and alcohol use; a variety of psychological issues like eating disorders, depression, and self injury; discussion of suicide / suicide attempts; and explicit sex.
You have been warned.
Ever have one of those hindsight moments? You know, the ones where you look back at a decision you made and think "wow, that was a horrible idea"? I'm having one of those right now; standing on a scale in my underwear while a woman with a six pack lectures me about eating better, and about the completely innocent scab on my arm from falling up the steps into my cabin. Oh, yeah, about that. I sleep in a cabin now. As in, at summer camp.
This will all make sense if we take a step back for a second. Like, to the moment where I decided coming here was somehow I good idea. The moment I have begun to refer to as the Fuck-Bella-What-Is-Your-Deal Moment.
Anyway, so it was May of my Junior year in high school, and I'd just turned seventeen, and I was walking into the cafeteria so I could eat breakfast with my boyfriend before homeroom. I took a peek in the little window on the door to make sure I looked okay; eyeliner wasn't messy, long brown hair wavy but tamed, and none of my clothes were inside out. Good to go.
I grabbed two bagels and some orange juice, and made my way over to the table Mike sat at with his friends. The second we made eye contact, I knew something was wrong. I played it cool, because seriously, who cries (like they want to) when their boyfriend gives them the 'I am so about to dump your ass' look. When I got to the table, I gave him his bagel and the orange juice (suddenly not very thirsty), and waited for him to get it over with.
"Look, Bells," he said, and then paused. He was giving me these puppy dog eyes, which would normally have worked. I mean, he had this curly blonde hair that would fall into his big blue eyes, and he always looked a little flushed, and happy, and innocent. So when he would round out the eyes and give me that wounded look, I usually would fall into little bitty pieces of Bella. It was pathetic. This time, though, I knew what his sad face was for. He didn't want to have to be the one to do this. Those eyes were saying to me "I'm going to look like an asshole if I dump you in front of my friends before homeroom. Please do it for me."
Well, tough shit. You can't dump me less than five hours after having sex with me (now I know why he rode his bike over to my house the night before. Dick.) and expect me to take the fall so you can save face. It didn't matter, though. Because just as he realized I wasn't going to throw him a bone, and he started in on an "I had so much fun with you, but I honestly don't see this working out for us. I really think we should take a break. Blah blah blah," a girl came up and sat down next to him. Well, okay, not just any girl. This girl was like my unwanted mini-me, and pretty much the laughing stock of all of my friends. Until that exact moment.
She was Jessica, and she was a year younger than me, and for as long as I could remember, tried to be me. I got a bobb haircut in 7th grade, she showed up the next week with the same one. I went through that whole "tomboy" phase my sophomore year (complete with JNCOs and Hurley hats) and what do you know, she suddenly took a great interest in all things "totally skater and awesome." By that point we both had the same hair styles, shoes, backpacks... I'd started to feel like she followed me around the mall when I went shopping. So I started going to thrift and vintage stores for my clothes. Then she did, too. I eventually began to ignore her, and up until that moment that morning, I had successfully ignored her for the better part of the school year. I had more important shit to worry about.
So, Jess sits down, gives Mike a freaking kiss on the cheek, and then takes a bite out of the bagel I gave him. I shit you not. Just chomped the fuck into that thing. I lost it. There was screaming, there was cursing, I might have physically assaulted one or both of them. By the time two of Mike's douchey friends (who the day before had been my friends as well) pulled me out of the melee I had created, Mike and Jess were both bleeding and checking each other's injuries. That only made me want to hit them more, but that view was getting smaller and smaller as I was being dragged to Principal Willer's office.
In retrospect, I might have overreacted a bit. He still should have broken up with me before beginning to date my pseudo twin, though.
Three hours later I was sitting in the back of my step mom's car, wondering how I was going to get myself out of this one. Apparently, when Mr. Willer discussed the situation privately with Mike and Jess, Mike thought it was a totally awesome idea to unleash all of my dirty little secrets. Let's just say I learned my lesson about secret telling after that situation. Now my dad, step mom, principal and guidance counselor all thought I was either crazy, suicidal, pathetic, or even worse, all three. I had to find a way to get everyone back to leaving me the hell alone.
I had two days of out of school suspension, which started promptly the moment my fist connected with Mike's face. I couldn't find it in me to feel badly about the suspension when I remembered how Mike and Jess looked when I was finished with them. Dad didn't feel the same way. So when I got home and Sue (that'd be my step mom) called dad to discuss the issue with him, he was less than displeased.
I was given two days to pick a course of "treatment" for my specific brand of crazy. I looked long and hard (almost an entire hour, anyway) at my options online. Which, let's be honest, really consisted of me brooding on my bed while listening to inappropriate music loudly (nothing freaks out Sue more than The Kinks), and surfing the web on my laptop. Potato, po-tah-to. Sue knocked on my door twice to tell me to call my mother, which was pointless, because she would probably have taken my side anyway. Renee was more of a free spirited, "live and learn" type of parent. Which is why she wasn't raising me.
So after looking at my options, I decided most of them absolutely sucked. Therapy? Hell no. I am not sitting on any couches and talking about my "feelings." I have my own methods for dealing with those, and just because no one else likes them, doesn't make them any less valid. Group therapy? Ugh. Even worse. Clinic? Live-in therapy. Medication? Yeah, no. And then, I found it. Sap. A camp of sorts for "youths with emotional or mental instabilities." You can choose to stay there for a few months, or all year, or whatever. This, I could do. Summer camp for the fucked up. That actually sounds pretty badass. Sitting on my bed, Mountain Goats blasting through my speakers, I closed my eyes and imagined a summer at Sap. I'd hang out with some crazies, maybe sneak into the woods that are always near those stupid camps and get high and drunk after the counselors went to bed, become friends with people who were more fucked up than me, get the hell away from Ozzy and Harriet. Perfect.
My dad (Charlie) decided that this was acceptable, and he and Sue signed me up for a "summer program" that ran from literally the first day of summer to the last day of summer. School ended June 8th, Sap started June 9th; Senior year started September 4th, Sap ended September 3rd. I should have been pissed about missing my whole summer... but then I realized, this would be the best summer ever. One without my parents. People don't even understand the restraint it has taken to not kill either of them, or my horrible siblings. I was actually excited.
Well, I was excited until June 9th, when I showed up to Sap and the first thing the "mentor" told me was, "go to building M3, change into a gown, and have a seat. I'll be with you in a few minutes."
"Oh, don't worry," I took a peek at her name tag, "Rosalie, my flight was fantastic. Actually, to be honest, I had a blast letting my ass go numb for six fucking hours so I could show up to a compound that smells like cow shit and be told to get naked and wait for Angelina Fucking Jolie to give me a check up and the once-over. While I'm at it, would you like me to find a way to physically remove what's left of the self esteem from my body so you could put it on a cutting board and chop it into little pieces while I watch?"
Rosalie waved to two other people who looked like they were also "mentors," threw her long blonde hair over her shoulder, and ushered me to the side so she could tower over me in private.
"Okay, you little shit," she said through her teeth, one hand gripping my shoulder tightly while she pointed vigorously with the other. "I've been awake for almost forty hours because I was stuck in the cabin with all of the freaks who are afraid of the dark, I have cramps so bad that I feel them in my teeth, and I'm to the point where I'd push a nun out of the way for a goddamn beer. On any other day, I'd pat you on the back and congratulate you for being hilarious. But right now... right now? I just need you to get your fucking ass to M3, quietly, and wait there for me so I can make sure you aren't bringing a gun or some shit in. Okay? Is that too much to ask? I promise that tomorrow, I'll be an entirely different person. But right now, if you don't move, I'm going to literally drag you there by your hair. Capice?"
How could I not smile in response to that? I nodded, and walked in the direction that all of the signs told me was the area with all of the M buildings.
I changed into the thin gown, placed my clothes on top of my two duffel bags, grabbed my cell phone out of my purse, and lounged in the room the woman outside told me was where Rosalie would meet me. After a surprisingly short amount of time I heard the door open, but ignored it and kept playing Angry Birds. (That shit is addictive. Do not judge me.) I probably should have been paying more attention to what was going in in the building around me, because one second I was alone in the room, and the next second I was staring at a guy in his underwear. No joke.
Not just "a guy," though. A super hot guy, with awesome messy bronze hair and intense green eyes and a six pack. It's so rare to see a set of those in person when they are accompanied by pecks and those awesome hip muscle things and rib muscle things. All dusted with blonde hair. When the guy doesn't look like a gross body builder. He was just lean and cut and awesome. So I did the first thing that came to mind when I realized I was basically wearing a giant piece of paper with arm holes. I screamed my head off.
Bronze boy's head snapped up so fast I thought his neck would break, and then he screamed just as loudly as me. (And, if I'm being honest, in almost as high of a pitch as me.) He threw his hands in front of his boxer-clad crotch and looked at me like I was a ghost, while he continued to scream his face off like a twelve year old girl. I couldn't help it; I laughed so hard that I was doubled over, clutching my side and fighting for air.
"Why are you laughing at me?" Bronze boy was now looking horrified, and grabbing his clothes off of the floor. He continued to yell as he tried to put on his jeans, "Who are you, and why are you in here? I was supposed to be getting a check up! Fuck!" He yelled the last word as he tried to get his leg into his pants, and instead kicked the crotch of his jeans, resulting in him falling flat on his ass, both legs up in the air. I couldn't help but laugh more when his balls clearly made an appearance through the leg hole of his boxers. I was too nice to point that out, though.
I stood up and walked over to him, until I was standing next to his chest and extended a hand above him.
"Hi. Name's Bella. Rosalie sent me here. Good ol' M3. I'm assuming that means Medical Building three? Anyway. Who the hell are you?"
He made a horrified face, and finished putting on his jeans while he was still on the floor, and then shot up into a standing position.
"I'm, ah, Edward?" He looked around frantically, as if searching for an escape route.
"Was that a question? Seriously, what is your deal?" His complexion kept getting more and more pale, and I was starting to think he was a "guest" here too. Until Rosalie walked in.
"Oh, come on, Edward! We had one deal, no sleeping with guests. What do you do the first day? Show the only one I like your pecks. I'm not above punching you in the balls, you know," Rosalie said, throwing his shirt at him, and pointing at the door aggressively. I liked her more every time she spoke.
After Bronze Boy / Edward ran out of the door with his tail between his legs while Rosalie rolled her eyes and the door shut behind him, we heard him speak from the other side.
"Sorry about that. I wasn't trying to... I meant to go to M4, and I ended up... well. I'm very sorry. I'm going to go drown in shame. It was nice to meet you, Bella."
I looked to Rosalie, who mouthed "don't respond," so I shrugged and sat back down on the awkward table thing they always have in rooms like this one, ignoring the crinkly sound of the paper under me. Once we heard the front door open and shut, Rosalie spoke up.
"Ignore Edward. He's an idiot. A loveable idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. We mostly keep him around because he's helpful, and we enjoy looking at him while he broods. He used to be a guest, too. Anyway," she waved her hand through the air as if clearing it of a fog, then pointed to her name tag. "As you discovered earlier, I'm Rosalie. I'm a mentor here, and this isn't an actual check up or anything, since I'm not a doctor. I mostly just need to see you out of the gown, to make sure there aren't any weapons taped to your body, weigh you, take your height, all of that stuff. Did you want another person present? That's an option."
I stared at her for a second, trying to comprehend everything she unloaded so quickly. After I recovered from the information overload, I was ready to form sentences like a normal person.
"Yeah, I don't need anyone else in here. Thanks, though. Before I forget, I was supposed to ask you if you got my information mailed from my school psychologist? Something about preliminary analysis or something. I have no idea." Sue gave me exactly two instructions before I got on the plane: don't get in trouble, and make sure they have your preliminary analysis from the school psychologist. We clearly have a strong relationship.
"Yep, I've got it in your file here, and we'll get to that in a minute. For now, though, I've just got to get your physical info, get a quick look at you. So, hop up on the scale over here for me," she said, and I realized how tired she looked. Her job had to suck. Living with crazy people all the time. I wondered if she ever got days off? Probably not often. Then I wondered – does this poor woman ever get laid? The chances of that, here, seemed even less likely.
After getting the stink eye for my weight, and a confirmation that I am indeed 5'3", I was told to take off my gown. Not awkward or anything, you know, when you're standing next to someone who should be a freaking model. I sucked it up and took off the gown, tossing it on the table like it was nothing. You know, like I take off my clothes in front of people that much more attractive than me all the time. Or in front of anyone other than a boyfriend, for that matter. If she saw through the act, she didn't say anything. She simply asked me to raise my hands above my head and spin in a circle slowly. She didn't even verbally judge my mismatched underwear.
"All right, your actual doctor will go over your file with you, probably today after dinner. I just need an explanation for the wounds on the ribs and the insides of your upper arms, and we'll be all done," Rosalie said, taking notes in the file that I assumed was mine.
"What do you think the explanation is for those? I got tickled by kittens," I said, quickly putting on my skirt and shirt. "Where do I go now?" I asked, ignoring the pointed look Rosalie was giving me. If I didn't like her, I'd have wanted to punch her.
"You'll be in cabin W5, it's on the west side of the campus. Just follow the signs, it'll be easy enough. If you need anything, come find me. We switch the cabins we watch, right now I'm in E7, but I think that the head mentor is getting sick of switching cabins, so we'll probably get assigned a permanent one... you don't care about any of this. Okay, yeah, so just go to W5 and someone there will tell you what to do. I'll be seeing you around, Bella."
After only getting lost twice, I found cabin W5. Walking in, I could not have been more underwhelmed. There were five or six beds on each side with drawers underneath, and what appeared to be a bathroom area in the back. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at how cliche the whole thing seemed – I could have sworn that one season of Bug Juice was filmed here.
I was the only one in the room, so I went to the closest empty bed, surprised by how many there were, and started putting my clothes away into the drawers underneath. Just as a pulled out a giant box of tampons, because Sue apparently thinks that when I get my period I lose 2 liters of blood, I heard footsteps on the porch. I turned to ask our mother hen or whatever the fuck they call them here where I should put them, when I saw Bronze Boy Edward talking to the largest man I had ever seen. I'm talking huge. He had to have been 6'6", built like an ox, with bright eyes and dark curly hair. And dimples. Why would a man that size need dimples? To swoon his prey before he eats it? For some reason I instantly disliked him. Ignoring him, though, I listened to BBE.
"I'm telling you, Em. She was beautiful. She was all surly, and long legs and brown hair. And when I ignored the lasers she was shooting out of them, her eyes were unbelievable. Although, I'm pretty sure she saw my balls, which isn't the best first impression," he said to Dimples, leaning against the door frame with his back to me. Dimples slyly looked at me, my horrified expression, and then looked back to BBE.
"Well, what're you gonna do when you see her again? I mean, you've gotta come up with a plan. You can't exactly show her your balls again, or be caught being your spaz-ass self." Dimples was beginning to look very pleased with himself. I didn't like where this was going.
"I don't know, man. This is your department. That's why I asked you." I ignored the fact that he sounded cute when frustrated. That wouldn't get me anywhere. Just when I was about to point out my presence, Dimples roughly pushed BBE into the cabin, pulled the door shut, and locked it. BBE still hadn't turned around yet, and started pounding on the door.
"This is the worst advice ever, dickwad!" He shouted while body checking the door.
"Look behind you, dildo," Dimples shouted from outside. "I'll give you an hour. Have fun."
Finally, BBE turned around, and instantly froze.
"How much of that did you hear?" He asked, going pale in the face and becoming terribly interested in the hem of his t-shirt.
"Enough," I said, not wanting to discuss what he said, but wanting him to know I heard it. (My head is a messy place, be happy you don't live there.)
"Spectacular," he mumbled to himself before sighing loudly. When he looked up, his mouth was open as if he was going to say something, but he snapped it shut and started at me in confusion for a moment.
"What's with all the tampons?"
Welcome to my life.