Ever Cross moves to a new town, ready for a new start. To make new friends, maybe go to a few parties.
What she didn't expect was to be bullied because she was skinny.
Everyone at her new school was obsese. The teachers, the students, the cafeteria workes. Ev-er-y-one. And when Ever, barely over one-hundred pounds, moves in, they terrorize her for being different.
Despite the hard time everyone is giving her, Ever refuses to give in. She's strong, and she's proud to be s k i n n y .
Chapter 1 - Part 1
Everybody outside was fat.
I didn’t mean it to be insulting; it was simply what I thought. In fact, it was all I could think about as the family Honda crept down the packed street of Trinoline, a small town in New Hampshire that hadn’t made the maps in years. Everyone was hefty, their arms jiggling as they walked down the street. There wasn’t a single skinny—hell, semi-skinny—person there. I’d never seen anything like it before. There were overweight people in California, sure, but there had been healthy-looking people there, too.
I edged away from the car window, suddenly wanting to hide myself. All of their beady eyes shot to the car as we passed by, staring us down like we were new meat that they could shove their faces into. I felt a raw ache in my stomach, and I suddenly wanted to vomit. I’d never been stared at that way before, not even by the clique girls back in Cali. Not with this much judgment and hate.
“Isn’t this place nice?”
I cringed as these words toppled out of my mom’s mouth. They were words of optimism that was true. You would think that it would lighten my spirits, but it didn’t. If anything, it plummeted any hope that this place was going to be okay. Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple: My mom only used that sorry old line when she was trying to find something at least a tiny bit optimistic about a terrible situation. Still confused? Exhibit A: Last summer on a road trip, we got stuck at a farm miles away from any civilization what-so-ever except for the crazy farmer who owned the property. Throughout the entire time my mom kept saying things like, “Isn’t the picnic table nice?” “Oh, look at the horses! Aren’t they nice?” or “Well, the farmer seems nice. . . .”
I closed my eyes and let out a long stretch of air as my dad gripped the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles turned white. Even with my eyes closed I knew that his jaw was working, a sheer sign that he thought the exact opposite of what his wife had said. “Yes, honey,” he agreed despite his true feelings. “Very nice.”
I sat up in my seat again, opening my eyes. My small hope that everyone had averted their gazes to something else, something more interesting, had disappeared. All eyes were locked on us—and us only. “Mom,” I said softly, the raw ache in my stomach beginning to grow again, “everybody is staring at us.”
As my mom directed her gaze out the window, I curled back in my seat again, away from my window. Their judgmental stares were becoming too much to bear. “Well, we are new here,” my mom said lightly, twisting around to face me with a hope-filled smile on her face. “This is a small town, remember honey? Wouldn’t you stare if you lived in a small town and someone new came along—someone that you didn’t know?”
“No.” The words slipped off my tongue before I could stop them, could think them through. In all honesty? I had no idea if I would stare or not. But that’s not what these people were doing. They were turning . . . whispering . . . and then they were glaring. I tried to convince myself that they weren’t really glaring. Maybe they were just staring. Maybe my mind was converting things to be different than they really were—you know, jitters because of the move. But one glance out the window proved otherwise. I so wasn’t imaging things.
My mom laughed, the sound so unfitting to the feelings inside me. “Sure you wouldn’t, honey.”
I let out another deep breath. “Who suggested this place again?” I blurted, a little bitterer than I may have intended.
I almost jumped when my mom let out a gasp. “Ever!” she exclaimed, twisting around in her seat again and casting me an appalled expression. “Are you judging people? Because, let me tell you—”
“No, Mom,” I said quickly with a sigh. I shouldn’t have opened my mouth. A member of the Cross family being cynical? It couldn’t even be thought of. No, no. The Cross family was open-minded. Always. “I’m not judging, it’s just that—everyone’s throwing us dirty looks and—”
“Just give the place a chance, hon. You’re going to love it here.”
Yeah, Ever, my mind whispered. Just give this place a chance. Everything is going to be fine.
I pushed back in my seat, stretching out my legs. My anklet-clad toes curled into themselves, almost whacking my Converse that I’d thrown off hours ago. I liked to get comfortable on long car rides, and this has been the longest car ride yet. We’d had to stop at various hotels on the way here to sleep. Talk about crazy.
My bangs fell in front of my face, obscuring my view from outside. Not that I cared. The move that I’d been so pumped for thirty minutes ago was turning into a nightmare. Right now I would give anything to be back in California sitting in my ugly, pink room that was overpowered by the scent of vanilla air freshener. I’d always hated our house. It was, like, right next to a power plant, so it always smelled bad and I could never get to sleep at night. But now? I think I would be happier there.
“Yeah, okay,” I muttered, not only to my mother but to myself. I was so not going to be happy here. I could already tell.
“What was that?”
“Nothing,” I said quickly, not wanting to get in a debate with my mom about cynicism. Not when it would just get me irritated, and I’d probably say something that I’d regret. And then I would end up grounded. Being grounded in a new town was not something I really felt like being.
I pushed my bangs out of my face and sighed. My mom, taking this as an attitude toward the town, twisted around in her seat yet again and tossed me a pointed look. “Honey, aren’t you the one who encouraged the move?” she asked.
It was true. I had been. I’d wanted to move for years. Of course, I hadn’t meant out of state, away from my best friend and everyone else I knew. My idea of moving was somewhere closer to home. Like, a lot closer. But after a talk with my parents about it, I agreed to move here. I just hadn’t expected this. “Well, yeah,” I mumbled. “I was just thinking of somewhere . . . nicer.”
“I think this place is nice!”
My mom was defending a town that was giving her the death glare. Well, I had to hand it to her: she had a good heart.
I opened my mouth to reply, but suddenly the car lurched and came to a screeching halt. I flew forward, letting out a small cry. “What the—”
My eyes shot to the front of the car, letting out a small gasp when I saw a man there. He was a terrifying man with hostility dripping down his face. He was bald, and he had thick, threatening eyebrows that were drawn together with contempt. “Do you not see the crosswalk?” he shouted angrily, his arms flying over his head. I cringed. How loud was he if we could hear him through the windows? “You’re skinny enough to see your toes, so why can’t you see something as large as a sidewalk? Honestly.”
My dad, making no move to roll down the window so the man could hear him better, called, “I’m sorry, sir.”
The man sneered. “’Sorry’ don’t cut it around these parts. I don’t know where you came from, but why don’t you just venture back there? I bet you’re more welcome there.”
With that, he stomped off, flipping us off over his head as he went.
It was quiet for a moment as we watched the man go. My stomach felt as though it was going to burst, and suddenly I wanted to cry. I missed Cali so much. And we hadn’t even officially moved here yet.
“I bet not everyone is like that,” my mom murmured, her eyes just as glued as ours on the man as he spoke to a woman who kept throwing dirty looks over her shoulder.
“Yeah, right,” I muttered, slumping in defeat.