The following is the second chapter of a novel I wrote titled “Web Of Lies”, a teen tale set in the late 90s/early 2000s that focused on the excitement and fun as well as the drama and dangers that came along with the BOOM of the internet when it truly exploded (as well as other themes). That novel also included the first chapter that I shared on MyPenWritesNice when I first began the site, Dallas Down. So, be sure to check that out if you’d like to meet the first of my three main characters. I may also share the third main character and her introduction chapter soon too.
Idk, I say I may bring a lot of my stories back and don’t, but I just might bring Web Of Lies back because it’s REALLY good. And considering I was about 9/10-ish when the story is set, ya girl and her memories and research is on point.
Staring at herself in the full length mirror that had been put in her room while she was away over the summer, Addison sighed. She wondered to herself how she’d manage to make it out of her bedroom without having to see her reflection. Heck, how would she even be able to sit on her own bed without having to see her reflection.
It was like some cruel joke, another one of her parents tactics at getting her to see everything they did not approve of when it came to her appearance.
She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing a bit of it behind her ears a second later as she looked herself over.
Addison noticed the change, it was a constant one, one that had been happening since she was about twelve years old. She just couldn’t understand why others made such a big deal out of it, why it was such a problem.
“Well, look who’s back home.” She turned to see her older sister, Peyton, standing in her doorway. She watched as Peyton ran her hand down her flat stomach, no doubt showing off that she could get away with wearing a shirt that stopped right where the band of her bra stopped. “You must have gotten in real late last night, not that I would have cared to see you. How was Fat Camp?”
Addison rolled her eyes. “Hell, as always.”
Peyton snickered, smirking as she ran her fingers through her hair. “It’s gonna be more hell when Mom and Dad see you. Send you off to Fat Camp, and once again you waste all of their money by returning looking like … ha, looking like a broken can of biscuit dough.”
“I’m not that big, Peyton.”
“Yeah, tell yourself that while you’re snacking on the zebra cakes and twinkies I’m sure you have hidden in your dressers.” Peyton walked away, laughing to herself.
It was true; Addison had a real bad sweet tooth, and at one point she did hide different types of candies and snacks around her room. Comfort snacks that often aided in bringing relief from the constant bullying she faced.
She looked at herself again, running her hands down her stomach. She poked, gripped and pulled at the rolls she saw. Letting out a deep sigh, she shook her head. “There’s nothing different about you Addison, you’re just as good as Peyton.” Both girls were short, under 5’3. They both had long blonde hair, they were always complimented on their beautiful eyes. Both former child beauty pageant participants. Both highly intelligent, respectful towards adults, hardworking, and ambitious. At least, Addison used to be ambitious. “Oh, who am I kidding. Peyton’s skinny, like I used to be. No matter what she does, she’ll always be looked at and noticed for her beauty and talent. Me, the fat one.”
All summer long she’d been told that she was fat, ‘A Tubby Bunny’ as one of the male counselors often taunted and called her. Her parents sent her to that same camp, year after year, and every year she came back a little bigger than when she left. “And who wants to be stick thin anyway.” She sighed again, answering her own question. “I do.”
There was a short knock and when Addison turned around, she looked into the disapproving eyes of her mother. A former beauty queen and pageant host. She had such ridiculous standards for both of her daughters, and in her eyes… Addison could never live up to any of them. Didn’t matter that she was usually a straight-A student. Didn’t matter that she’d won numerous Young Authors contests. Didn’t matter that she’d met a president, gotten numerous academic awards. Didn’t matter how much Addison tried and wanted to prove that she was worthy of the same love and affection Peyton got. They were pitted against one another, in everything, simply because Peyton was the skinny one.
“Well, at least you won’t be wobbling or struggling to fit through doors this time. They made some progress with you. Still not enough though. What are you now, a sixteen… eighteen? On your frame, that is too big, unacceptable. What the hell were you doing up there, Addison? Working out, doing enough to get a head nod and sneaking back to the secret stash beneath your bunk?”
“No, Mom. I was doing what was required.”
“I can’t tell.” Marilyn, her mother, shook her head as she scoffed. “Oh well, you’re going to get right now that you’re home. I was trying to hold off on handling you myself, but you’ve left me no choice. Beginning today, you’re going on a strict diet. You will be a size four or smaller when I am through with you. No way am I allowing you on the pageant circuit looking like a cow.”
“Maybe it’s just not meant for me to be that small anymore, Mom. That’s not even healthy for someone my size. Last weigh-in, they said that I am the ideal size for a sixteen year old that is five 5’1. Why is this not okay?”
“Are you kidding me, Addison? We have standards to live up to in this family, and if you can’t meet them on your own, I’m going to force you to meet them. Be home as soon as you get out of school; I will have your diet planned out, you’ll be put on a strict workout plan as well. Gonna get you a pager today, help keep tabs and make sure you’re on top of things.”
Before Addison could say anything else, her mother had stormed away, ranting on and on about the standards the women in their family had to live up to.
Heading straight for her closet, Addison said a silent prayer that her mother hadn’t already tossed out her old clothing. Marilyn had a bad habit of assuming she’d come back the perfect size. She’d throw things out and replace them with what she deemed acceptable, the types of things Peyton wore. Mini-skirts, midriffs, tube tops, and tanks. High-waisted shorts, cut off shorts, and tight jeans. Wedges and platforms, sandals, heels, and anything else hot girls wore.
That prayer was a waste; sure enough, all of her comfortable clothing was gone. She searched frantically threw the new items, trying to find something that wasn’t revealing. “Just great.” She stepped out of the closet, falling back on her bed a few seconds later. “Why can’t I be good enough the way I am?”
After managing to find a few things she’d thought to stash away, Addison showered and got herself ready for school. Walking into her family’s living room, the first one to look up was her father.
“Baggy clothes, again. Why do we even send you to that place?”
Addison tried her best to whisper, but they’d heard her. “You’ll do well to speak to me with respect, or hold your tongue. If you’d do what’s expected of you, look the way you’re expected to look, there would be no need for these discussions.”
“When will you understand that I am not perfect! I can’t be perfect!”
“Ha, we know that much.”
Before Addison could utter another word, Peyton came strolling downstairs, all smiles as the heels of her boots clicked against the floor. “Morning Dad.”
“Hi Princess. Ready for your senior year?”
“Yes! It’s going to be great. I’m captain of the cheer squad this year, I was voted most popular, and I finally got Brad to ask me out, so I’m dating the star of the football team.” She sighed dreamily. “Life’s just perfect for me.” She smiled in her sister’s direction, laughing at what Addison wore. “Oh my God, you’re just a walking fashion DON’T. Off-brand sneakers, black baggy pants, oversized t-shirt. And your hair, so dull and… God, I hate that I will be seen with you, once again. Ugh.”
“I’ll make sure to remind everyone we’re siblings as soon as I walk through the doors.”
Peyton rolled her eyes, knowing that her baby sister really would do no such thing. No one would listen to her anyway, she was barely noticeable until someone teased her. Their father spoke up, preventing an argument they had every year on the first day of school. “Addison, as much as you complain, you would want to look up to your sister. She’s the perfect example of doing right. She’ll get everything she wants in life, and you-you’ll just be the same old, grungy Addison.”
“Fat Addison. Daddy, can I have a little money? I don’t get my check from work until tomorrow.”
Addison groaned to herself, quickly grabbing her backpack and heading out. Usually she’d wait to catch a ride, but she didn’t even want to ride with her father and sister. They would only talk down to her, reiterate the foolish standards her mother had set. As far as she knew, riding the bus with the kids who tormented her at school was more of a relief than actually being around her own family.