Chapter Twenty-Seven: Insecurities

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I'm packing up my backpack with new clothes, books, and electronics while Callie, Mom, and Dad pack Raquel into the trailer. I also grab some of the things I got as gifts from my family - a two new phone cases, some earbuds, a mint green laptop cover, and a cute pair of gloves and a hat.

I'm wearing a new outfit that Callie bought me, skinny jeans, black combat boots,a white tank top, and a button down black and red flannel. My hair is up in a messy bun. It's a pretty cute outfit. I grab my overstuffed backpack and sling it over my shoulder, hustling down to the truck. I get in the truck next to Callie and gradually fall asleep.

I wake up at ten am, another hour before we arrive at Maple Stream. I text Mason.

C~ An hour away. What about you?

M~ Same lol

C~ Yey, I can't wait to see you

M~ Same, I miss you so much

We talk for a while, and I get really excited when we're fifteen minutes away. Callie notices it.

"Cami, why are you shaking?" she asks. I smile back at her.

"Because I'm excited," I reply, checking my phone for any texts.

"For what?" she asks. "School?"

"No, silly," I say laughing. 'I'm excited to see Mason."

"Cami's in love!" Callie teases, and I playfully shove her. We sit in silence for another ten minutes before we pull up next to the barn. I don't see Mason's car yet, so I start by taking Raquel out of the trailer. When I see the black SUV pull up next to the truck, I get excited and drop Raquel's lead. Mason hops out of the car, runs over to me, and hugs me. A second later, I hear Raquel trot up behind me and shove her nose to my ear, tickling me.

"Someone's jealous," Mason's mom says, laughing at Raquel. I break away from Mason to grab her lead and I hold her close. Callie hands me my backpack and our families lead us to the barn, talking to each other and introducing themselves. I take off Raquel's trailer boots and bring her into her stall, glad that I'm back in a comfortable environment. I lean against Raquel's stall door, her nose tickling my ear. Mason comes in front of me and kisses me softly. Oh, how I miss days like today. I kiss him back and we stand there for a few seconds before breaking apart and hugging. I lean into his chest and he protectively rests his chin on my head. I close my eyes and take in his scent, the faded scent of Axe.

"Cami! We're leaving," Mom calls. I sigh and break away from Mason to say bye to my parents.

"I'll be right back," I tell him, heading to my family.

"Bye, honey," Dad says, hugging me and kissing my head. I hug Mom and Callie, and she adds an interesting remark.

"You smell like Mason," she says, hugging me tightly. I laugh softly.

"How do you know what Mason smells like?" I ask.

"Because you were just hugging him and now you smell like him," she explains. "Okay, well, we're leaving. Bye!"

Masons parents are leaving as well, leaving us alone at the barn. I hug Mason again, scared we'll be separated again. We walk back to the dorm, hand in hand. Most of the kids came back from break today, but Reagan, Sam, Michael, Alex, Abby, El, and Dani are gone. The first thing I do when I get to the dorm is see Maggie, whose up in our room. I walk into the room and she looks up from her iPad and does a double take.

"What?" I ask.

"You look really thin," she says carefully. I open my closet door and look at the mirror. She's right, my hip bones jut out more than usual and my collarbones are more prominent. "Have you been eating?" I think for a moment.

"Not really," I confess. "I mean, I kind of just lost any sense to eat." And it's completely true. "When I went home, I got distressed and stopped eating. All I did was work all day, every day."

"Come one," Maggie says, getting up, grabbing my wrist, and pulling me out the door. "You're coming with me."

"Where are we going?" I ask.

"I'm bringing you to the doctor," she says as we enter the kitchen.

"Woa, what's going on?" Mason asks, stopping us from leaving.

"I'll tell you after she gets checked out," Maggie says, glaring at me. I shrug.

~

"How long have you been barely eating?" the doctor, Ms. Burton, asks, her kind eyes looking at mine. Maggie's waiting out in the waiting room.

"Um, about two weeks," I say.

"Do you do it purposely?"

"I mean, yeah, I wanted to slow down eating because I eat like a pig," I say. "I guess I just stopped all together."

"Cami, dear, you have a very serious condition," Ms. Burton says. "Anorexia is nothing to mess around with."

The name hits me like a brick. I sigh deeply.

"I suggest you start by eating small portions and slowly building up to normal sized portions," she says, handing me a sheet of paper that says 'Dealing With Anorexia'. The paper has a list of foods that will help me healthily gain weight. "You're free to go."

I stand up from my seat and open the door. Maggie jumps up and takes my hand.

"So..." she says awkwardly. At that moment, I start crying. I know I wanted to loose weight, but it's nearly impossible to recover from anorexia. I hand her the paper and she gasps. I fold the paper and put it in my pocket with my phone. By the time we enter the dorm, I'm still crying. Mason jumps up and cautiously approaches me.

"Cami, what's wrong?" he asks, enveloping me into his arms. I hug him back but stay silent. We stand there for minutes, tears falling down my cheeks.
Mason picks me up bridal style and carries me to the couch, carefully setting me down. Everyone except for Maggie leaves.

"Cam, what's wrong?" Mason asks again. I sigh deeply and take the paper out of my pocket. I hang onto it for a moment, and hesitant giving it to him. But I hold my hand out to him . He takes the paper and leans forward, unfolding the paper carefully. He reads the title and sighs, then reads the short paragraph that follows:

Anorexia is a dangerous eating disorder where the victim either A) eats very little or B) eats less than usual and excersizes. Many people who suffer from this find it difficult to begin eating again, and it can cause many problems.

Mason sighs and looks at me.

"When did it start?" he asks.

"About a week ago," I reply, feeling awful about myself. "I'm going to be back soon." I make my way upstairs and into the dorm, making sure to lock the door. I go into my closet and look in the mirror. I lift up my shirt and examine my stomach. My ribs are showing more than usual and my hip bones stick out further than they normally do. I spend a few more minutes examining the damage the condition caused before heading back downstairs. I'm feeling more insecure than ever as I walk into the living room. Mason stands up and crashes his lips into mine. He breaks apart for a moment, enough time to whisper something in my ear. "I'll always be here for you, through everything this new journey has to offer." I stand there shocked for a moment before kissing him again.

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