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I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Chipotle with Cory, Lilly—the most popular girl in our school—and the other kids from the “in” crowd. It felt strange being able to make jokes and actually have people laugh at them. It felt empowering for that one single moment. And then the constant compliments. It was completely bizarre to imagine that just four months ago, I was the ugly, geeky girl with no friends and no life. Now that I’d finally lost weight, I was getting the attention I always dreamed of. For the first time in years, I felt happy.
“What do you guys want?” Cory asked. He seemed to be in charge of the group most of the time.
Then I realized that this was a restaurant. With food. I couldn’t take any chances after getting my perfect body. During the summer, I started by cutting out dinner. Then slowly my afternoon snack. Then lunch. And soon, the only thing I would eat was an apple or a small salad. I didn’t want to call it an eating disorder. It was a diet. And besides, I just needed to lose the weight and keep it off.
“Uh, Cory, I’ll just get a water. I’ll pay separately,” I said.
“No, no, Faith, I’ll buy you a water. It’s no problem,” he answered.
Well that sure made me feel special. Even though I wasn’t eating anything, I was still having someone else pay for it. I wondered if all the popular kids were used to this kind of stuff.
“I won’t eat anything either,” I heard someone behind me say.
When I turned around, I saw Luke. He looked more attractive this year than any other year I remembered. He was taller and more muscular with a deep tan. I always sort of liked him and in eighth grade, I had the biggest crush on him ever. But then I gave up when I realized he would never like a girl like me. Plus Lilly was his girlfriend last year, and I had no doubts that they were still together.
“Suit yourself, man,” Cory answered. “Why don’t you and Faith find a table for us?”
I instantly felt nervous. Because that meant I would have to talk to Luke. And we never really talked before and besides, I used to like him. How awkward. Thanks Cory.
“Uh, how about here?” Luke asked, pointing to a long table by the window.
“Sure,” I said, looking at the floor. I didn’t really care where we sat, just as long as we weren’t alone for too long. Gosh, how much food was Cory ordering?
Me and Luke just sat across from each other. I was pretending to look busy answering a text—really I was typing gibberish into Search bars—as Luke waited for me to say something. The funny thing about sitting with him was that he didn’t compliment me on my clothes, my hair, my body, or how cool I was. He just sat there and glanced at me everyone other second with those beautiful brown eyes of his.
Finally, Cory came over with Lilly, Aiden, Bella, Tanner, Anthony, and Leila to eat. The whole time everyone was talking and eating, and I was just sitting there with my water bottle, wishing Luke would just say something to me. He was killing me.
“So, what did you do this summer?” I asked him.
I thought we both froze because we realized we were talking now. Where did that confidence come from?
“I went to Detroit to visit some family and then I went to the pool to hang with some friends. It was pretty mellow actually,” he said before adding: “And, uh, you?”
I told him how I spent the summer with family and friends, even though I really didn’t. I just slept and didn’t eat. But I couldn’t tell him that. It wasn’t his business anyway.
“Cool,” he said before giving me a smile.
And when he smiled at me, I swore that time stopped for a moment. Well at least until Lilly offered me some of her salad. I rejected of course and didn’t talk with Luke for the entire rest of the time we were at Chipotle.

When I got home, I went straight to my room to begin my homework. Yep. They gave us homework on the first day of school. It sucked big time.
“Faith, did you need me to sign any forms?” my mother asked when she came up the stairs.
I handed her a packet that she needed to read over and sign. Even adults get homework from our schools nowadays. How stupid.
“By the way, how was your first day?” she said, sitting down on my bed.
“Pretty good,” I said. I told her everything leaving out the fact that I was now part of the popular group.
“I’ll be back in a little bit,” she said, scanning the papers. “I’m glad you had a good first day, honey.”
Well sort of.
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