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The Real Me


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When Mattie has issues with her weight, she decides to take charge of her life, redo her image, find confidence and maybe even dare to talk to guys. She also discovers that boys can be insecure and have self-doubts too. Will a change in lifestyle, a friend, a tormentor, and a dream guy help Mattie discover her real self and find romance along the way?



Publié par
Date de parution 18 mars 2012
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781773625140
Langue English

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The Real Me by Ann Herrick
Digital ISBNs EPUB 978-1-77362-514-0 Kindle 978-1-927111-93-2 WEB 978-1-77362-515-7 Amazon Print 978-1-77362-516-4
Copyright 2012 by Ann Herrick Cover Art by Michelle Lee All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights un der copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or in troduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electron ic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Chapter One I curled my toes as I stepped barefoot onto the col d metal scale in Dr. Adam’s office. I exhaled, then held my breath. Maybe I’d w eigh a few ounces less if I didn’t have so much air in my lungs. I watched carefully as the numbers blinked higher a nd higher. Finally, Dr. Adam marked the weight on my chart. Sh e looked up at me and smiled. “You need to lose twenty pounds. Twenty pounds! Ack! I wanted to scream. “But, Dr. A dam, I think I, um, carry my weight well. “‘Carry’ is a good word, Mattie, Dr. Adam said. “I t’s not good for you to lug that extra weight around. She glanced at the computer s creen. “I see by your records that you’ve always had a tendency to be plump. She prin ted out something. “Here’s a sample of a good diet. You should be able to lose a pound or two a week, especially if you exercise more. She printed out another piece o f paper. “Here are some exercises you might want to try. Move around. Walk more. Your muscles are too soft for a girl of sixteen. “I’ll try, I mumbled, as I looked over the diet. T here was totally no point in arguing with Dr. Adam. She was all business. Why did Dr. Mu rdock have to retire? He never said anything about my weight. After Dr. Adam left the examination room I stepped into my jeans, sucking in my stomach as I tugged on the zipper. I pulled on my b aggy brown sweater and stuffed the diet and exercise sheets into my book bag. As I ste pped into the hall, Dr. Adam called out. “Make an appointment for an official weigh-in two m onths from now, Mattie. I tried to look invisible, but it didn’t work. As I made another appointment, I thought I felt the eyes of everyone in the waiting room stari ng at me. I hurried out of the office hugging my books to my chest and fighting back angry tears. Ugh. Dr. Adam didn’t have to be so … so bossy. At least my parents would sympathize. They knew it wasn’t my fault I was a throwback to my great Aunt Matilda, for whom I was named. The resemblance wasn’t limited to wide-set green eyes and frizzy brown hai r. We had the same fleshy build. I moaned to myself at the thought of exercising. No t that I minded exercise so much. It was the side effects. Like, you know, heav y breathing. Sweating. My idea of strenuous labor was picking cat hairs off the sofa cushions. And, I suddenly realized, this afternoon I had just allowed myself to be talked into heading the refreshment committee for my Junior Pro m. A couple years ago the principal decided that all school dances, including proms, had to be at the school. He said they were getting too expensive and parents co mplained. He insisted on student-made refreshments and decorations to keep costs dow n, too. So that meant, while watching my weight, I had to dig through recipe boo ks for rich, yummy, calorie-laden cookies. I pondered the complete injustice of it al l.
“Watch where you’re going, Chunk! ordered the tall , bony, red-haired guy I had just slammed into and almost knocked over, since I hadn’ t, in fact, been watching where I was going. Startled by the impact, I dropped my book bag. Ever ything in it went all over the sidewalk. I frantically gathered my papers, shoved them into the nearest book and dumped the books back into the bag. I’d sort it all out later. If there was anyone I didn’t want to know about my enforced dieting, it was Geor ge Turner. He bugged me enough as it was. Well, I would show George. I would lose twenty poun ds. That wasn’t so much, really. I probably carried home twenty pounds of bo oks from school every day. And when I was thin, if George ever dared to call me Ch unk, I could just totally smile and tell him not refer to me by such an inappropriate nickna me. Yeah, I would show George. But now I had to figure out how I was going to find a guy for the prom. As head of the refreshment committee, I would have to be there . However, I didn’t want to go alone and wind up with the eighth graders, passing out co okies and punch all night. Just how was I going to snag a guy? Sometimes it se emed as if I was the only sixteen-year-old girl in Waterside, Connecticut who ’d never managed to do that. Okay, the population of Waterside was small enough that I was one out of only a couple hundred students instead of thousands, but still. M aybe losing weight was a good idea. Maybe when I was thinner getting a guy wouldn’t be such a problem. Maybe I could even find someone special. Someone like … Kevin Lac onia. Kevin had moved to Waterside a year ago, and I, alo ng with the entire female population, had noticed him right away. And not jus t because Waterside was such a small school that all newcomers were seriously scru tinized. I mean, what girl could resist one of the few guys at Waterside High who was not only tall and broad-shouldered, but totally great l ooking, with his wavy black hair and thick-lashed gray eyes? The corners of his mouth tu rned up so that even when he was serious he had a good to see you smile that lead ev en the shyest girls to think that entering his world was possible. Unfortunately, blonde, beautiful, etc., Nicole Sand hurst got her perfectly manicured claws into him first. Nicole upheld the family trad ition, established by her mother, of going with only the best looking, most popular guys . Nicole’s mother had not only been Junior Prom Queen and Senior Cotillion Queen, but a t nineteen had reigned as Miss Connecticut in the Miss America Pageant. Nicole had a lot to live up to. “Hi, Mattie. I almost dropped my books all over the sidewalk aga in. I recognized the voice of the person behind me who had said Hi. Though my heart p ounded, I tried to sound composed. I turned around, but avoided looking into his eyes. “Hi, Kevin. It was then that I also noticed Walter Mattesky. “Oh. Hi, Walt. “Hello, Mattie! Walt tipped an imaginary hat. I knew Walt since forever. He was a good guy, but h e often behaved and talked in a sort of formal way, probably because his dad wrote an etiquette column for a magazine.
Too bad I wouldn’t be walking alone with Kevin. But maybe it was just as well. I wasn’t sure I had the nerve to talk to Kevin by mys elf, anyway. I did want to say something, however, to break the silence that seeme d to hang in the air like a limp balloon. For once a topic of conversation occurred to me. Timidly I asked, “Are you set for the game tonight? Okay, it wasn’t the most original question in the w orld, but if Waterside won, we’d go to the state basketball tournament for the first ti me in five years. Kevin was a starting player. Walt, who came up to my lower lip, was the team manager. He kept track of the basketballs and team jackets, and handed out towels . “We’re ready! Walt exclaimed, pointing his index finger to the sky. “Ready as I’ll ever be. Kevin smiled and raised on e eyebrow. “Are you going, Mattie? “Yes, I said, trying to sound matter of fact about it. I wouldn’t miss it for anything since Kevin would be there, but, of course, I could n’t let him know that. “Great. Kevin squeezed my shoulder and turned to c ross the street. “See you there. “So long, said Walt. “B-bye, I stammered. Kevin actually touched my sho ulder! I could still feel the warmth of his hand. I strayed off the sidewalk righ t into the gutter. “Mattie, this is the way home. Walt cupped his han d under my elbow and guided me back up the curb and around the corner. “What? I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to hide the fact that I was blushing. “I mean, uh, I was thinking about the, uh, refreshm ents for the prom and I guess I forgot to watch where I was going. “I wanted to talk to you about the prom, said Walt. “Oh? I looked down into Walt’s golden brown, owl like eyes. “What about it? “As you know, I’m in charge of decorations. “Yes …. “Our theme this year is ‘Underwater Fantasy. “I know. “Well, he said eagerly, “how ‘bout if we form a jo int committee to coordinate the decorations and refreshments? “That might work, I said. I had to admit that for as long as I’d known him Walt always came up with good ideas. “What have you thou ght of so far? “We could have cookies shaped like shells, starfish , even doubloons—underwater treasure aspect, you see—and make the punch green. Like seawater. What do you think? “The cookie idea sounds good. Let me think about th e punch tonight and we can talk about it some more tomorrow. “Fine, Walt said. “I’ll stop by your house on the way to school and we can talk about it then. “Sure. Wait! No. I had an idea on how to get some exercise. “I’ll stop by your house on the way to school.
“But I live a half mile farther from school than yo u do. “That’s just it. Uh, I mean, we’ll have more time t o talk. And besides, I could always use a bit more exercise. I forced a small laugh, trying to sound nonchalant. Walt didn’t question my motives. “Fine. 7:30? “Great. See you then. I smiled to myself. I had fo und an inconspicuous way to get some exercise. I wouldn’t have to be tempted by coo kies and punch—I could think of them as shells and seawater. Also, I had more reaso n than ever to stick with my new weight loss plan. Kevin. Kevin had put his hand on my shoulder. Kevin had as ked if I was going to the game. Kevin had said he would see me there. I couldn’t wait to tell Erwina!
ChapterTwo Suddenly I realized that I was at my front door and it was locked and my phone was ringing. I fumbled with my twenty pounds of books, dug out my phone, and just barely avoided tripping over the cat. “Move, Parmesan,” I commanded, as I juggled my phon e and keys and struggled with the lock. After dropping my book bag on my toe s and once again spilling my books, I swallowed a scream. I managed a civilized Hello b y the fourth ring. I opened the door, gathered up my books and let myself and Parmesan in . “Hi.” It was Erwina. “Need a ride to the game tonig ht?” “Yes.” I stuck my books on the hall table. “Mom has to work this evening, so she’ll have the car.” Mom worked part time as a nurse at the local health clinic. Even though no one was home to hear, I spoke in a l ow voice. “Guess what happened this afternoon.” “Dr. Adam discovered you have a social disease?” “Erwina!” “Sorry. You sounded so mysterious. What happened?” “After I left Dr. Adam’s office, Kevin Laconia walk ed me part way home!” “You and Kevin alone together? Good thing Nicole di dn’t see you. You look better with your scalp attached.” “With my frizzy hair? Are you kidding?” I said. “An d besides, I didn’t have to worry about a confrontation with Nicole. Walt Mattesky wa s there. I’m sure Nicole would have assumed I was with him. But wait until I tell you what Kevin said to me.” Erwina sighed. “I’m waiting. What did Kevin say to you?” “He asked me if I was going to the game!” “And?” “And he said he’d see me there.” “That’s it?” Only Erwina’s lighthearted voice took some of the sting out of her words. Erwina was a true and loyal friend, but sometimes s he had a way of being blunt that could burst my fantasies easier than a pin could po p a bubble. “He’s interested,” I said uncertainly. Couldn’t Erwina understand that? Had she been with George for so many months that she forgot what it was like at the beginning of a relationship? “Who knows? Maybe he is,” Erwina said. “What’s Walt up to?” “We’re going to get together for the prom,” I said. I didn’t want to discuss Walt. I wanted to talk about Kevin. “The prom! You and Walt!” Erwina laughed. “So all t hat stuff about Kevin was totally a decoy.” “No. No!” I realized what Erwina must be thinking. “We’re going to work together on the prom. We’ve decided to form a joint refreshment decoration committee.” Why would Erwina get so excited about me going to the prom wi th Walt, anyway? In heels I would
absolutely tower over him. Wanting to get off the s ubject of Walt, I said, “Hey, want to be on the committee with us?” “Sure. Look, I’ve got a ton of homework waiting. Pick you up after dinner, okay?” “Okay. Bye.” I closed my eyes. I pictured Kevin smi ling at me, his hand on my shoulder. Kevin and Nicole weren’t inseparable. In fact, Nico le had broken up with Kevin last summer when he went on vacation with his family for several weeks. She latched onto Craig, a summer guy who was now a freshman at Dartm outh. They had spent the summer cruising the streets of Waterside in his yel low Corvette and sailing Long Island Sound in his shiny blue Sunfish. However, Nicole ev idently realized that Dartmouth was pretty far away and she couldn’t date a text messag e. So she batted her eyes at Kevin the second he returned from vacation and they were together again. Summer was only a few months away. Nicole still mad e a big deal about Craig whenever Kevin wasn’t around. Maybe Kevin would see through Nicole. Maybe he would prefer a girl who wouldn’t use him. Maybe— “I’m home!” I whirled around. “Hi, Dad.” I hadn’t heard him com e in. If he had noticed that I had been standing there with my eyes closed, he didn’t mention it. “How was your checkup with Dr. Adam?” My checkup. I’d almost forgotten. I pulled the diet sheet from my notebook and handed it to Dad. “I’m fine. But I’m supposed to go on a diet.” Dad read the diet sheet and announced enthusiastica lly, “This diet of yours will be great for all of us.” He patted his stomach as if it were a potbelly. As editor of the Waterside Weekly Reporter he didn’t get much on the job exercise. Bu t he always walked to work, no matter what the weather. And he and Mom kept in goo d shape by jogging and playing tennis. I always felt big and clumsy whenever I tried anyth ing athletic. Knitting and crocheting were more my style. “Dad, you like cotta ge cheese,” I said. “I’m not sure if I’m ready to eliminate pasta and ice cream from my life.” “You really don’t eat that much,” Dad said. “You ju st have a slow metabolism like your Aunt Matilda. You’re so attractive that only a doctor’s sensitive scale could detect any excess weight you might be concealing!” Dad loved to exaggerate. I gave him a hug. “Only a parent could ignore twenty pounds of fat, not to mention frizzy hair that has to be clamped down with at least four barrettes.” Erwina had made me try her flat iron on ce, but it made my hair flat and straight, while still frizzy at the roots. Besides, I didn’t really want it straight, just not frizzy. So I didn’t even try a straightener. When i t came to my hair, I was a total klutz, anyway. It was safer just to tame it with barrettes . “Don’t put yourself down, Mattie,” Dad said. “You h ave beautiful eyes and your mother’s good cheekbones.” “Who can see my cheekbones under this padding?” I c lapped my hands to my cheeks and tried to make a joke of it. I couldn’t a ccept a compliment about my looks,