Starving for love and craving affection
Continuing the ride with the Beast“Don't," Chelsea said before Brian could manage say to anything, "I know this is dangerous. I know I'm a hypocrite and I know I should get help. I know it all, so don't say it."
"Chelsea, I don't need an explanation," and honestly he didn’t. He knew exactly what she would say and he also knew it would all be bullshit.
"Wait, what?" Chelsea was expecting Brian to blow-up at her. He should have been angry because after all she was slowly killing herself and well aware of it. She was doing exactly what he had spent the last 3 years of his life struggling to stop doing. He didn't seem angry though. Yeah, his face read slightly of anger and disappointment but he seemed calm, if anything. He was calm.
"I've been watching you get worse and worse for the last couple of months. It's seriously scaring me, not to mention pissing me off. What is wrong with you?" Brian's tone was harsh because it bothered him that Chelsea would do this to herself after watching him struggle with an eating disorder for 3 years. He thought she was smarter than that. He knew she was smarter than that. So how could she make such a dumb decision?
"I'm sorry." Chelsea sounded innocent. Her guard was let down and her tough exterior was broken. She felt so horrible. She didn’t want to scare Brian so bad but she had no other choice. It was either that or continue being the disappointment she was now and that wasn’t an option. Even so, it sucked that Brian was a casualty.
"Chelsea, you know what you're doing. You've seen first hand how much having an eating disorder has destroyed my life. Why would you make the same mistake?" He was serious at a loss. He just didn’t understand.
"Because this is all I know." The statement was vague and ambiguous. Chelsea didn't want to say anymore. She couldn't stand Brian being anymore disappointed in her than he already was.
"What?” he asked confused and worried, more so confused though.
"This has been going on for a lot longer than you think." That was just about the last thing Brian needed to hear.
"How long?" Brian was almost scared to find out the answer.
"A really long time." She gave another ambiguous answer, hoping that Brian would give up but knowing he wouldn’t.
"How long?" Brian demanded again.
"Close to 6 years," the number shocked the gorgeous boy but he couldn’t claim that he didn’t expect it.
"How did I not notice?" He asked, feeling even more incompetent.
"It's been on and off for the last few years. This time around it just got a little out of my control." Chelsea felt vulnerable. She wasn't used to feeling vulnerable but here she revealing her biggest secret and to top it all off she was telling all of this to guy she had been in love with for longer than she could remember.
"Really? You have to be kidding me,” he said agitated, “What the hell? Chelsea you seriously need to get help." She knew that all too well but she wasn’t about to admit it. She needed a little longer to ride with the beast she called her eating disorder before she was ready to give it up yet.
"No I don't. I know what I'm doing,” Chelsea said insistently, trying to convince herself that it was true.
"No, you don't,” he retorted, “I thought I knew what I was doing too but obviously I didn't. If I did I wouldn't still be dealing with an eating disorder 4 years later."
"I've dealt with this before. I'm not going to become anorexic, I know when to stop." She was lying and they both knew it.
"This time I don't think you do." Brian was on the bridge of tears but he wouldn't cry. He knew crying would just make things worse. He had been taught never to cry and for once he would abide by that. For once he’d be a man.
"Trust me, I can handle it."
"But you can't. You are starving yourself basically to death and for absolutely no reason. You're forcing yourself to throw and you don't need to,"Brian ran his fingers through his thick, curly black hair, exhaling loudly in a vain attempt to calm himself down, yet somehow he still remained agitated, “I don’t understand how you don’t see how ridiculous this all is.”
"I do need though. I’m a failure, I’m a screw up and this is my only chance to be something other than that. If I can fix the fact that I am ugly and I’m fat then maybe I’ll be worthy."
"But you’re not ugly or fat,' Brian responded failing to fully comprehend the rest of what she said but eventually it did dawn on him what she meant, “Wait, worthy of what?”
“Worthy of you guys. I want to be worthy of having friends as awesome and caring as you guys,” and when Chelsea said that Brian heard part of himself in it. He remembered saying something eerily similar to that 4 years ago. He remembered using that as validation for his eating disorder and he couldn’t help feeling like Chelsea was doing the same.
“Wow, you want to be worthy of being my friend. That’s funny because often times I think I’m not worthy of having you as a friend. But with that being said honestly I think that you’re completely wrong. You are more than worthy of having us as friends. Anyone would love to have a friend like you. You are amazing and smart and funny and absolutely gorgeous,” he said honestly.
"No, I'm not,” she said ardent, ”Stop lying to me,” she sounded angry.
"I can't deal with this. I'm going outside," and with that he stomped out, making sure to make a scene even if Chelsea was the only one around to witness it. Chelsea waited a couple minutes before following after Brian. He needed time to cool down and she needed to get the smell of vomit off her breath.
"Maya, where'd Brian go?"
"He went outside. Did something happen? He looked kind of pissed." Chelsea neither had time to explain the situation nor did she want to.
"Long story. I'll tell you later,” They both knew she wouldn’t.
"Alright," Maya was suspicious but she didn't want to get into it. Chelsea could handle herself and she could certainly handle Brian, so whatever it was she was sure that Chelsea could handle it without her intervention. Chelsea walked over to the porch and spotted Brian smoking. Honestly, she hated when he smoked more than anything. It smelled disgusting and made her cough like crazy. But he smoked anyway. He wasn’t by any means a heavy smoker. Brian really only smoked when he was stressed or upset. Chelsea wondered which one it was today and if she was the cause.
"I hate it when you smoke. I thought you stopped." Brian looked up at her. How could he stay mad at her? She just puked out her guts and somehow she still remained absolutely gorgeous. She was beautiful no matter what.
"You've told me that so many times," Chelsea saw the slight smile he was trying to suppress. It made her just the least bit happier to see that smile.
"And you never listen." They both stop talking for a few moments unsure of what to say from there. Both of the awkward teens were unsure of what to do next. Then Brian broke the silence.
"Did you come outside to watch me smoke?"
"No," she answered simply.
"Then do you want to talk about it?" He looked her straight in her deep brown eyes hoping for the answer he wanted but wishing that wasn’t the answer she’d give.
"About your smoking or my problem?"
"What do you think?" She shook her head yes. She really didn't want to talk about it but she didn't find Brian smoking all that interesting.
"I really don't have anything to say. I have no idea what to say. There isn't really anything I can say without feeling like a complete hypocrite,” Brian said truthfully. Chelsea just starred at him, understanding completely what he had to say.
"Are you still mad at me?" The brunette’s voice was low. She sounded vulnerable and unsure of herself.
"I'm not mad. Well, that’s not true. I am mad but not at you. I am mad at myself for not noticing. I'm the resident anorexic and it took me so long to notice and even when I did notice I didn't do anything to stop it,” he looked down at the ground solemnly for about a minute before he continued talking, “I'm so pathetic. You must hate me. I literally endangered your life." He was being way to hard on himself.
"You are not pathetic. You couldn't have done anything. I'm stubborn. This isn't your fault." She was trying to reassure him.
"But it feels like it is. I let you down." That was far from the truth. Brian had never let her down in the 13 years they had been friends and she was sure that he would never let her down.
"You didn't let me down. It's kinda hard to let me down when I didn't ask you for help."
“But I still should have known you needed help.”
“and if you offered it I wouldn’t have taken it.” she said honestly.
After a few seconds of silence too many, Brian said something, "So what do we do from here?" Neither of them had a clue. Maya always had the answers and they just went along with them. That was the routine.
“I don't know."
"We could talk to Maya." That's the last thing Chelsea wanted to do. It was bad enough that Brian knew but Maya couldn't be brought into this also. She couldn’t screw with Maya’s life anymore than she was already. It would just end badly for everyone and she couldn’t have that.
"No. We are not telling Maya,” she said forcefully. She looked at Brian and an idea popped into her head, “How about we make a deal?"
"What kind of deal?”
“The kind of deal where you help me and I help you,” she responded assuming that Brian knew what she was talking about.
"What do you mean?"
"I thought it was simple. We help each other get better and keep Maya out of it. That way no one gets hurt,” except nothing ever worked that way.
"And what if that doesn't work?" Brian was skeptical.
"Then I'll lie for you and you’d lie for me." Now, Brian wasn't just skeptical.
"We can't do that." It was more like they shouldn’t do it. The plan was dangerous and detrimental to both Chelsea and Brian.
"Because that will just make everything worse." Chelsea had already thought about how bad things could get especially for Brian considering he was very close to being dead but she was willing to take the risk.
"Brian, I know what I'm doing." She had said that so many times and every time it proved to be untrue. What was so different about this time?
"Eventually Maya will notice," neither of them had any doubt about that. Chelsea just hoped it wasn’t soon.
"No, not if we keep the secret well enough." But that was virtually impossible? Keeping secret never ended well for either party and this was no exception.
"This is a bad idea but I'll go along with it,” Brian gave Chelsea a look of dispproval.
A week had gone by since they had made the deal and it wasn't working out the way Chelsea had expected. Brian had taken the deal as an excuse to stop eating all together. And Brian was getting even angrier with her because she was acting even worse than him. Chelsea was starting to see how bad of an idea the deal was but she couldn’t end it now.
"Brian, we have band practice tonight," said Nalin in passing. Nalin was the bassist in Brian's band as well as his male best friend. They had known each other for longer than Brian had known either Maya or Chelsea.
"Okay," Brian said lethargically. It was more than obvious that he hadn't been eating or even sleeping. He made no attempt to hide it.
"Are you okay?" Nalin could see something was going on and it kind of worried him. Nalin was among the few people who actually knew about Brian's eating disorder and therefore was in a constant state of worry over Brian’s health.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I’m just tired." Nalin obviously didn't believe Brian but he was going to give Brian the benefit of the doubt. Maybe for once it had nothing to do with Brian’s anorexia. Maybe Brain was just tired. Once Brian had walked far enough away and Nalin thought it was fine to ask Chelsea what he wanted to ask her, he opened his mouth and began to speak.
"Is he eating?" Chelsea wanted to tell the truth and say no but she couldn't. She made a deal with Brian and she was going to honor it.
"As far as I know."
"He looks really thin. I don’t know, I might just be worrying too much." Oh, no, he was worrying just the right amount.
"Yeah, that's probably it."
"Are you alright?" No, she was far from alright. She had many problems and very few of them had to do with the fact that she wasn’t eating.
"Huh?” she responded absentmindedly, “Yeah I'm fine." She was never very good at lying.
"Something's wrong. Chelsea, I know you and I can’t tell something is definitely wrong."
"Nothing is wrong. I’m honestly fine."
"We went out for 2 years and in that time I might have been completely oblivious to most things but I can tell when something's up with you."
"I just have a lot on my mind."
"It's more than that and it probably has something to do with Brian." She hated how right he was.
"I might not be your boyfriend anymore but I still care about you. You can tell what’s going on."
"Not this, not now," she sounded afraid.
"You're really scaring me," He laughed but he was honestly very worried.
"Trust me, Nalin you wouldn't understand."
"What's going on? Are you eating? " Nalin was very aware that when Chelsea was stressed she tended to lose her appetite. She didn't respond. She couldn't respond. She really wanted to tell him but she couldn't. She wasn’t ready to.
"Is that it? Are you stressed or is it something more?" He was catching on.
"I kinda made a deal with Brian."
"Okay, what kind of deal?"
"I'd lie for him if he lied for me."
"What do you think?"
"So you lie about him whether he's eating or not but what does he lie about for you?" Chelsea again didn't respond fearing he already knew the answer.
"Chelsea, you- " She cut him off before he could say another word.
"I'm starving myself, okay. Are you happy now?"
"Why would that make me happy? One of my best my best friends is on the brink of death and now you're working on getting there too. I'm really not in the mood to lose two of my closest friends. Not right now."
"It's not that bad"
"That's what Brian said."
"I have it all under control."
"He said that too. Chelsea maybe you should talk to someone."
"Brian told me the same thing."
"He's right." Chelsea knew that but she couldn't give up so easily.
"I don't need help. For once I have everything under control."
"Are you sure? Chelsea, you are making Brian cover for you, how could you be alright? I don't think you have anything under control."
"Nalin, just worry about Brian and leave me alone."
"I can't. I care about you too much." That's what Chelsea was afraid of. She hated to let people get too close but there were people like Maya and Brian who just happened to slip through. It sucked that Nalin had slipped through also.
"At this moment I think Brian is a little more important than me." Nalin decided to just let it go. Chelsea was too stubborn and wouldn't accept help unless she thought she needed it.
"You're the one who made the deal with him."
"Yeah, but I didn't know he would take it this far."
"Really? You've known him almost as long as I have. You did know, you were just looking out for yourself," Nalin sounded cold-hearted and judgmental.
"That's not true."
"You know you were only looking out for yourself. You didn't think about how much it would hurt Brian."
"That's not what happened." She started to cry. It was then that he realized that he was being way too harsh on her. Yeah, she was selfish but he couldn't blame her. She had a lot going on. He wrapped his arms around her and let her cry on his shoulder.
"You're pretty when you cry." It was a weird statement but he meant it. She was always pretty especially when she wasn't being tough and defensive. She was the most beautiful when she was her most vulnerable.